Later machines were supplied with caterpillar tracks, obviating the need for rails.
The full-swing, 360° revolving shovel was developed in England in 1884, and became the preferred format for these machines.
During the 1930s steam shovels lost out to the simpler, cheaper diesel-powered excavating shovels that were the forerunners of those still in use today.
Bucyrus-Erie was an American surface and underground mining equipment company. In 1927, Bucyrus merged with the Erie Steam Shovel Company to form Bucyrus-Erie. Renamed Bucyrus International, Inc. in 1997, it was purchased by Caterpillar.
Steam shovels played a major role in public works in the 19th and early 20th century, being key to the construction of railroads and the Panama Canal. The development of simpler, cheaper diesel-powered shovels caused steam shovels to fall out of favor in the 1930s.
The world’s largest steam shovel surviving intact is a Marion machine, dating from either 1906 or 1911, located in the small American town of Le Roy, New York. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.