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Hi-Lift Jack Company can trace its history back to the formation of The Bloomfield Manufacturing Company, which was established in 1895 by Philip John Harrah. Based in the US state of Indiana, it is one of the oldest and longest-standing companies in the state and is still owned and run by the Harrah family – having now passed on to the fifth generation of Harrahs.

The Hi-Lift Jack company and their sister business the Kant-Slam Company are universally connected to the ubiquitous Hi-Lift jack in the 4×4 and agricultural markets, but the company has actually developed and marketed various other products over the past hundred years or so.

One of the company’s first products was the Anvil-Vise-Drill tool, a multi purpose combination tool for workshops and foundries. The first Bloomfield Manufacturing product to be aimed at car drivers was the Kalamity Kar Kit: an early emergency tool kit which contained a bucket (to hold fuel), a siphon, a tow strap and a waterproof sheet for the driver to lie on if they needed to carry out emergency repairs in dirty or wet conditions. Other products included a coffin display cart, a folding trailer for transporting tea, and a 7-in-1 tool which included a hammer, hatchet, wire cutters and pliers.

Harrah became aware that there was a market for a safe and reliable vehicle lifting device, so in 1905 he invented and marketed the Automatic Combination Tool. This early jack was colloquially known as the Handyman or Sheeperder’s Jack until it was eventually renamed as the Hi-Lift Jack.

In line with Harrah’s penchant for developing multi-purpose products, the Hi-Lift jack was more than a simple vehicle lifting device. Its clever climbing mechanism allowed it to be used for lifting but also for clamping and winching. This feature combination made it a useful and versatile product for automotive, farm, railway, workshop and other environments.

No one knows if Harrah saw his Hi-Lift jack as something which had the potential to become recognised around the world for decades to come, but with its simple design and relatively low cost it has become one of the most recognised 4WD accessories on the market and can be found in every corner of the world – whether bolted to Front Runner rack on top of a Hilux or Land Cruiser, in the back of a Jeep Wrangler, Land Rover Defender or Shogun, or in the load area of a Ranger or D-Max. The only caveat is that the vehicle generally needs to have steel bumpers or side protection for the product to be used for lifting purposes such as tyre changing or getting out of trouble when off-road.

One self-recovery technique you may not be aware of is the ability to jack up a stranded vehicle, get into the cab and drive away with the jack still in place, therefore pushing the vehicle out of trouble and going back to recover the jack afterwards. This is an age-old expedition technique and of course care should be taken not to cause vehicle damage in the process.

4×4 Works are proud to be the UK’s largest Hi-Lift 4×4 specialist, with a significant product range available from stock including multiple jack sizes and types and over 100 different add-ons and accessories.

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