In 1920, more than 365 million square yards of asphalt was in place in American cities, but the nation's nine million automobiles and trucks were destroying them faster than they could be renewed or upgraded.
Harry Barber's labor and cost-saving inventions during the '20s and '30s made possible the low-cost paving of secondary roads with hot-mix asphalt. During the '20s, Barber invented a line of standardized material-handling machines, including a portable belt conveyor, a self-feeding bucket loader, a vertical boom ditcher, and a snow loader. His most notable invention, however, is undoubtedly the first practical asphalt paver, or the "traveling plant," introduced in 1931.
After co-founding the Barber-Greene Company in 1916, Barber served as president until 1945. During his distinguished career he was awarded a total of 70 patents, including 29 foreign patents for construction and material handling equipment, and in 1940 Barber was presented the Pioneer Award by the National Association of Manufacturers.