More than Meets the Eye: Invention Transforms Pickup into Forklift

The Bristow Bed (Photo via Bristow Beds)

The Bristow Bed (Photo via Bristow Beds)

In the “Transformers” movies, toys, and ’90s cartoon, cars and trucks can automatically convert themselves into superheroes and super villains.

Now a Missouri inventor has developed a new device that can automatically transform practically any pickup truck or flatbed into a forklift with the flip of a switch.

Optimus Prime Would Be Proud

The Bristow Bed, created by HVAC contractor Michael Bristow, attaches to the back of a pickup truck and can be used as a forklift, lift-gate, or flatbed.

While Bristow has applied for a patent, he currently is seeking manufacturers with whom he can put his invention into production. Once it’s available, it is expected to sell for about $14,000 to $20,000, in addition to the cost of the pickup, as well as the required hydraulic pump option and installation.

Developed Out of Necessity

On his website, Bristow said he started tinkering with the original prototype of the Bristow Bed because he wasn’t satisfied with the existing lift tools on the market.

“I looked around for a way to effectively and efficiently move material from the shop or supply house to the job site,” Bristow said. “I didn’t find anything. I had a skid loader and tractor with a front end loader. That worked okay, but they were never in the right location, so we ended picking up things we shouldn’t, just to get the job done.”

That’s when he came up with the idea of using his existing pickup truck as a forklift.

“Friends would come by and say, ‘What are you building?’ and I would tell them,” Bristow said. “They would say, ‘Aww, that’s just a Bale bed”, but that was not what I was building. A Bale bed design just wouldn’t work at all. It could not have the lift capacity that I needed because the pivot point is on the back of the truck bed, so I had to figure out how to move that forward.”

Design Features

The Bristol Bed can be attached to both 3/4 ton and 1-ton pickups and has construction-grade equipment that has been field tested to provide years of trouble-free use, according to Bristol.

It has a lifting capacity of 3,500 pounds when attached to a single rear wheel truck and 4,500 pounds when fitted onto a dual rear wheel truck.

Future Applications

Once the Bristow Bed goes into full production, it will be useful for a variety of industries, according to Bristow.

“Any trade or industry that moves bulk material and uses pickup trucks on a daily basis would benefit from using the Bristow Bed,” he said. “The truck bed will be more cost effective for certain core industries such as landscaping, delivery services lumberyards, mechanical contractors, and general contractors.”





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