Our History

Snorkel, the machine that revolutionized fire-fighting
A Snorkel fire truck advert from 1958
The first Snorkel EWP – TB42 boom lift
The first Snorkel EWP – TB42 boom lift
Snorkel work platforms to fit every need
An advertisement showing the first full-line Snorkel product range following the acquisition of Economy Engineering
Don Ahern (centre) – the current owner of Snorkel, with Art Moore (right) – the original founder of Snorkel, and Al Havlin (left) a previous owner of Snorkel
Don Ahern (centre) – the current owner of Snorkel, with Art Moore (right) – the original founder of Snorkel, and Al Havlin (left) a previous owner of Snorkel
Snorkel Celebrates 60 Innovative Years

Founded in 2021, Ahern Denmark draws upon both the strong heritage of the brands it represents – SnorkelTM, as well as its longevity in the Danish market, under the previous owner, Karsten Haahr of KH Lift ApS.

Snorkel was founded in 1959 in the United States of America, as a fire equipment company which developed an aerial work platform (AWP) specifically designed for firefighting and rescue work.

These products set the standard for aerial firefighting equipment, which were proven for reliability and versatility, and created the foundations for the aerial work platform market as we know it today. Snorkel was one of the founding members of the global AWP industry.

A brief history of Snorkel & Ahern Denmark:


Snorkel was founded by Art Moore in the USA, and remained a privately-owned business until 1971.


Snorkel was sold to ATO Inc., which later became Figgie International, a Fortune 500 Company.


Snorkel entered the construction/industrial market with the first Telescopic boom type machine used to lift persons to height. These machines were engineered from the technology used in the firefighting product range using state of the art hydraulic and electrical systems and an aluminum telescoping boom.


The company capitalized on an opportunity to complement its already successful boom range with the acquisition of Economy Engineering – a leading manufacturer of self-propelled scissor lifts and ground entry vertical lift work platforms.


The company then expanded Snorkel to include manufacturing facilities in Levin, New Zealand and sales and service offices in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia. The company was beginning to develop a more “global” manufacturing footprint. The acquisition provided a broader range including the trailer mounted machines and offered a quality distribution of the complete product line in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.


Snorkel became part of OmniQuip International Inc., who decided to sell the fire and rescue apparatus product lines and focus on the AWP division. The fire and rescue product line was sold in 1998 to American LaFrance, a subsidiary of Freightliner.


Snorkel was purchased from OmniQuip by a group of investors known as the Elwood Holdings LLC headed by Al Havlin. They re-opened their plant in Elwood, Kansas after it had been shut down previously that year.


UK-based The Tanfield Group Plc purchased Snorkel in 2007 from Elwood Holdings LLC, and created a global distribution network for the AWPs.


The Tanfield Group introduces new branding for Snorkel, creating a consistent global brand and product line.


Xtreme Manufacturing LLC acquired the Snorkel business in 2013, purchasing 51% of the company from Tanfield Group Plc. The investment from the acquisition was used to boost the manufacturing process and spare parts inventory, providing the business with improved new equipment availability and aftermarket service capability.


Ahern International, owned by Don Ahern, rebrands the Snorkel Australia and Snorkel Japan operations as Ahern Australia and Ahern Japan respectively, offering both sales and service of Snorkel and Xtreme equipment.


Ahern International purchased a facility in Weyerbusch, Germany and opened Ahern Deutschland – providing sales, service and parts for Snorkel and Xtreme Manufacturing equipment in Germany and Austria.

Ahern International expanded to Latin America, opening Ahern Chile in Santiago in December 2016.


Ahern Canada was opened in Edmonton, Alberta providing sales, service and parts for Snorkel and Xtreme Manufacturing equipment in Canada.


Ahern Ireland is formed, as part of the Ahern International division, providing Ireland based sales, parts and service for Snorkel lifts and RUTHMANN BLUELIFT tracked spider lifts.  This was followed by Ahern Argentina in June 2019, and Ahern Iberica, covering Spain and Portugal, in September 2019.


Don Ahern acquires KH Lift ApS, the official distributor for Snorkel in Denmark, and rebrands the company as Ahern Denmark.