Semi-Truck Trailers: The Complete History

The Definition of Semi-Truck Trailer

Semi-Truck Trailer: A freight trailer that when connected is supported at its forward end by the 5th wheel of the truck tractor.

Semi trucks, likewise known as semi-trailer trucks, tractor-trailer rigs or 18 wheelers, transport over 70 percent of its items and commodities in the United States. Using a semi truck only became possible with the development of paved highways in the latter years of the 20th century and later on massively expanding the interstate highway system that we have today.

Semi-Truck Trailer Flatbed

About The Semi-Truck Trailer

Today’s semi truck is typically an 18-wheeled articulated truck that consists of the truck, typically referred to as the tractor, and the trailer. These tractors include 3 axles with the front axles being utilized to steer the tractor and the rear axle and the double wheels (or dualies) propel or move power for the tractor. This is the drive axle.

What Was The Semi-Truck Trailer First Created For?

Alexander Winton, in Cleveland, Ohio created the semi-truck in 1898 and offered his very first produced semi-truck in 1899.

Winton entered into the business of “horseless carriages” in 1896, so today he would be called a Carmaker. The Winton Motor Carriage Business of Cleveland sold their very first twenty-two produced automobiles in 1898, and this created the need for the cars to be provided to their buyers. As the buyers lived all over the country the automobiles had to be provided to places hundreds of miles far from Cleveland.

This provided a major issue. If the automobiles were driven to their clients, all the miles and wear would be placed solely on the vehicle not to mention the actual delivery would be costly.

This led him to develop the idea of the semi-truck to deal with the delivery of his manufactured vehicles.

He resolved this concern with a new idea that he called an automobile hauler that might bring the brand-new lorry on a trailer. In 1899, Winton Motor Carriage began producing the hauler for its own usage in addition to other automobile makers.

Semi-Truck Trailer In Creation

The first semi-trailer used a modified short-wheeled touring car (the tractor) with a cart (the trailer) connected to the rear of it. The platform sat on the top of the engine part and rested on a pair of wheels on the other end. This may be a bit complicated as the majority of vehicles and trucks had engines in the front. This truck had an engine that was located in the rear.

Semi-Truck Trailer Dry VanThe platform could only hold one automobile. Previously the cart was installed onto the pulling cars and truck. Then the car to be delivered was wheeled onto the ramp of the cart and secured to the platform. The edge of the platform resting on the ground was then raised and connected to the top of the trunk of the pulling car. Today a flatbed trailer known as an RGN, detachable gooseneck, uses the very same concept of being connected then hitched to the tractor.

Semi-Truck Trailer Step DeckOther Semi-Truck Trailer Styles

Some credit for pursuing the same style concept has to be provided to August Charles Fruehauf, a Detroit blacksmith, who built a carriage for an individual who wanted to transport his boat in 1914 and he officially called the carriage a “semi-trailer”. The carriage semi-trailer was connected to a Ford. The semi-trailer was a hit, and he went on to develop the carriage semi-trailer for extra uses such as carrying lumber. In 1918, he integrated the Fruehauf Trailer Business, which is still a leading maker of semi trailers today.

Semi-Truck Trailer Concept Expansion

Winton kept his concentration on improving engine styles, therefore he did not pursue the style of his first semi-truck. However, other industries developed a need for semi-trailers and numerous others continued to broaden the semi-trailer concept.

John C. Endebrock had a strong background in structure horse carriages and utilized his knowledge to establish what he called the “trail mobile”. The trail mobile was an iron chassis mounted on wheels and springs that could be routed behind a Ford Model T. This 1918 style was designed so that it would be easy for a single operator to hook the trailer to the cars and truck. Earlier trailers needed 3 guys to hook up the chassis to the vehicle. Trail mobile is still a trademark name today.

George Cassens took the lorry carrying service to the next level in the 1920’s. As a car salesperson needed to provide the cars and trucks that he offered, he was dependent on car haulers.

When in the early 1930’s, he tried to deliver the new cars and trucks directly to the purchasers. He realized that the shipping costs were too high for the vehicle makers. So he stepped in and offered to transport the cars and trucks from the making website to the car owners. He designed a $1,850 four-car vehicle trailer that was pulled with a two-ton Dodge truck.

The Mack Truck

Mack Trucks were an early innovator of heavy-duty industrial lorries. Established in 1900 in Brooklyn, N.Y., the company assembled and made its own engines that were equipped with an automatic starter, making the hand-crank outdated.

Throughout the years from 1929 until 1944, Mack produced 2,601 semi-trailers.

Mack quickly developed a reputation for building hard trucks and the brand name ended up being known for its durability.

The Impact of Semi-Trucks On The Logging Industry

The logging market had a large effect on the progress and overall appeal of the semi-truck. The semi-truck business Peterbilt, based in Tacoma, Washington, started selling its semi trucks in 1939. Peterbilt trucks were utilized extensively to haul logs from the forests to the lumber mills. T.A. Peterman found the required approach to carrying logs by river or horse teams frustrating and decided to recondition surplus Army trucks geared up with trailers made specifically to transport logs.

So the numerous kinds of semi trailers we see taking a trip down the highways today are all the development of a semi-trailer designed to transport a single automobile.

Over the course of a hundred years, the 2 wheel semi trailer from Winton has actually progressed into an eighteen wheeler semi-truck with three axles. Today, semi trucks transport more than 700,000 loads of product each year in the United States that are taken to locations by 3.7 million truck motorists. This represents more than 70 percent of all U.S. freight delivery.

Flatbed Trucking Services by FTS

Unlike some other flatbed trucking businesses, we can handle all types of truckloads. You will never ever have to look for another logistics company to move your load. We are a fully equipped flatbed trucking company that can deal with all your trucking needs and requirements.

We never deny a customer based on the kind of load they wish to ship, and we will always have an option in place to meet your transportation needs in the best method possible. Our flatbed trucking services are highly flexible.

Always remember to consult us before choosing your flatbed logistics company. With our years of experience, there is nothing we cannot deal with. Moreover, our flatbed trucking services are very affordable. We encourage you to take advantage of our competitive rates and trusted services.

Flatbed Truck Services continues on in the semi-trailer trucking tradition by offering a variety of flatbed trucking services.

Some of the many types of flatbeds we provide consist of the standard flatbed, drop deck, double drop deck, RGN (removable gooseneck), multi-axle specialized trailers and curtain van/curtain-side trailers.

We can help you in all your heavy haul trucking and flatbed trucking requirements.

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