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What are Dollies and Hand Trucks?

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The dolly is referred to by other names such as push cart, hand card, hand truck, and pully. It comes in all sorts of sizes and for different jobs. It’s a tool so often used when transferring heavy objects or when we need some assistance. However, have you ever wondered where that name “dolly” came from? 

After doing hours of geek-like research online, we have what may be the most definitive answer as to why they call it a “dolly“. 

First of all, the term ‘dol’ or ‘dolly’ was a shortened form of the name Dorothy. Take Hal which is short for Harold. The term ‘dol’ was used to describe various things from children’s toys to the first hand spun washing machines all because they physically resembled the form of a human body.

The term “dol” was also used as a nickname for lowerclass female servants during the 16th century. Although this stereotype is not one to be proud of, the term ‘dol’ was identified in connection with a assistant or servant. It was not until the 1910’s where the term started being applied to push carts as they were a means of getting assistance when moving heavy objects. 

So the term “dolly” is connected to the terms of helper or assistant. Today, it is still referred to as the dolly along with hand truck, push carts, trollies, and hand cart. 

The First Dollies and Hand Trucks

 dollies and hand trucks for movingIt’s fair to say that dollies and hand trucks have come a long way from many centuries of use throughout history. The styles and build materials may be different however the use is still the same. It is a tool that has stood against the test of time because it fulfills a practical need of helping to move heavy objects from one to another. 

Older designs are depicted in this picture. There must have been hundreds of designs over the centuries of use. Overall, it’s fair to say that the basic structure is the same for each one and there has always been some mode of financing for each of them dating back to the original site.


The Dolly Today

 moving dollyAlthough there are many iterations, the dolly is here to stay as one of the top goto tools for any difficult job. There are countless uses for this tool and with the technology available today, the possible iterations of the dolly are endless.

As a practical tool, it saves time and energy. If we can one more important item to this list and that is health. It helps to preserve the safety and health of the user by taking the heavy load for itself.

The dolly would make a great foundational piece for any future robotics design.


Don’t forget to browse our large collection of various dollies and hand trucks!  Click Here 

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