In 1951, Louis Aldrovandi came to Canada with $200 in his pocket. He was educated as a mechanic in the best technical schools of northern Italy. He worked on a farm, as many immigrants did, then for a trucking company working on the construction of the Toronto subway. He knew to make money he would have to do something different, so he worked on a number of remote construction projects in northern Quebec. (Lanagan, Fred. “A Lift to Life”. http://fredlangan.com/lift-to-life-anecdote.)
This experience combined with his strong work ethic afforded him the opportunity to run construction projects in Colombia and western Canada. In 1969, Louis founded Liftking as a repair shop located in Agincourt, a suburb of Toronto Canada. Shortly thereafter he became a dealer for Case Corp., a manufacturer of Steam Engines and Tractors, traction engines and harvesting equipment.
In 1972 Liftking began manufacturing their flagship M-series forklifts. Initially these machines were farm tractors that were converted to forklifts. Eventually Louis became an OEM, building forklifts from the ground up, designing the frames and installing the powertrain. In 1980, Liftking began manufacturing its second line of forklifts, the P Series, to address harsh job site conditions where four-wheel drive and high ground clearance forklifts were required.
The original repair shop in Agincort did not have the capacity to handle the OEM production. So, Louis moved his operation to Woodbridge and hired 20 more employees. This location was ideal for many reasons. It offered larger capacity overhead cranes, more storage, office space for the engineering group, paint facilities and more production capacity.
With the new location fully equipped and staffed, Liftking designed and manufactured a complete line of 6,000 – 10,000 lb. capacity telescopic boom forklifts (1981). Five years later they began production of steel mill and shipyard transporters and received their first US Military order. This first order would be one of many and would eventually become a large part of the industry mix served by the company.
Liftking was acquired by Manitex in 2006. Under Manitex Management, the company moved toward a Lean Manufacturing model to increase profitability. At this time Liftking began to build its strategic management team to become a premier off highway material handling manufacturer. By the end of 2015, the company had been awarded a multi-million-dollar contract with the US navy (2014) and had its eyes set on research and development of electric forklifts and North American expansion.
Liftking has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a small repair shop. The company was acquired in 2016 by Lanco – a multinational corporation of material handling solutions. Liftking now offers a complete range of equipment from compact agricultural forklifts to the world’s largest rough terrain articulating container handler. Indoor units with capacities of up to 45,000 lbs. can tackle any lift, while the 3-wheel multi loader is maneuverable in the tightest of areas.
Military models are engineered for effective troop support in the harshest conditions, whether that be in a far-off desert, on the open seas, or overhead in an aircraft. With an extensive offering of custom solutions to fill any gaps, one cannot forget the model that started it all – the M Series. Hard at work in thousands of construction sites around the world; wherever there is demand for quality and performance – you will find a Liftking.