Bulldozers have been further modified over time to evolve into new machines which are capable of working in ways that the original bulldozer can not. One example is that loader tractors were created by removing the blade and substituting a large volume bucket and hydraulic arms which can raise and lower the bucket, thus making it useful for scooping up earth, rock and similar loose material to load it into trucks.
Until the beginning of the 1960s, tractors had a single register of gears, hence one gear stick, often with three to five forward gears and 1 reverse. Then, group gears were introduced, and another gear stick was added. Later, control of the forward-reverse direction was moved to a special stick attached at the side of the steering wheel, which allowed forward or reverse travel in any gear. Nowadays, with CVTs or other clutch-free gear types, fewer sticks control the transmission, and some are replaced with electrical switches or are totally computer-controlled.
Other modifications to the original bulldozer include making the machine smaller to let it operate in small work areas where movement is limited. Also, tiny wheeled loaders, officially called skid-steer loaders, but nicknamed "Bobcat" after the original manufacturer, are particularly suited for small excavation projects in confined areas.
In parallel with the early portable engine development, many engineers attempted to make them self-propelled – the fore-runners of the traction engine. In most cases this was achieved by fitting a sprocket on the end of the crankshaft, and running a chain from this to a larger sprocket on the rear axle. These experiments met with mixed success. The first proper traction engine, in the form recognisable today, was developed in 1859 when British engineer Thomas Aveling modified a Clayton & Shuttleworth portable engine, which had to be hauled from job to job by horses, into a self-propelled one. The alteration was made by fitting a long driving chain between the crankshaft and the rear axle.