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Trucks & Trailers


This is the history of truck and trailer production

New lorries are now a long way from their predecessors. Since Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built a steam driven fardier in 1769, we should think about the first vehicles which could be referred to as trucks. Damp wagons were relatively popular in the mid-19th century and were used only very few due to lack of a suitable road network. The roads between different works and railway stations were usually short at that time. In 1881 an innovation was introduced–a first type of semi-trailer was invented, towed by a steam powered tractor, but in 1914 August Fruehauf was developing the genuine semi-trailer design, which we know today. His first trailer was connected to a Ford truck and his idea became extremely popular due to its efficiency in the transport of freight in the United States. Founded in 1918, the Fruehauf company still produces trailers and semi-trailers. Fruehauf is one of the company's top labels.

The Father of the Modern Day Truck

Back to the root: Gottlieb Daimler, the founder of the contemporary vehicle, had its first one in 1896 and improved a year earlier with the Karl Benz internal combustion engine. Benz also designed his version of a lorry before the Daimler truck and Netphener built the first bus on the chassis of the same vehicle that year. Bussing, Renault and Peugeot designed their own versions one year after Daimler had launched the vehicle. In the meantime, a few U.S. companies also began to work on their truck designs, and in 1899 Autocar revealed its first, an8-hour engine.

The first 18-wheeler was again designed in 1899 by Alexander Winton. It took him to drive road cars across the country by his own Winton Motor Car company. A year later, the first truck manufacturer to use the starter motor was founded in Brooklyn. In just two decades, Mack trucks proved to be among the toughest on the track.

The Market Growth

In the US more than 700 units were completed in 1904 and the number of trucks manufactured began to increase. By 1910, the number rose to 6,000 and only four years later to a whopping 25,000. In 1918 Chevrolet was one of the first trucks to produce in the USA–it produced its first pick-up truck and sold it only as a cab and chassis until 1931. Buyers had to choose what rear end the pickups would carry.

With the end of the WWI, technical advances are significant, such as electric starter motors, pneumatic pneumatics,8-cylinder engines, comfortable cabs and electric headlight. Damp-powered machines became out of date around the WWI in most of Europe and the US, yet in the UK, until they were replaced by diesel engines in the mid 1930s.

In the mid-1920s, Renault and Ford entered the camion market. For the Model T and later for the 1928 model A version, which had rolling windows and a protected steel cab, Ford offered a flatbed option. A few years later, the first refrigerated trailer was invented by Fred Jones, since ice and salt were impractical for transportation of meat and other goods which were kept cool. Its first design was made with a four-cylinder motor, compressor and thermostat and it was further developed by placing the motor in the front of the trailer. The United States Thermo-Control Company was soon established by his boss Joe Numero and Thermo-King was formed.

Peterbilt was established in 1939 and produced the first heavy duty logging trucks with a design that is still in use today. This is when semi-trailers became more popular because of their effectiveness in hauling logs.

The Mid-20th Century

In the meantime, many European truck makers who continue to be strong today have made their advances in the industry. DAF, MAN, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, mainly due to the use of diesel engines, thrived in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

The diesel engine was invented in 1887, but after Benz demonstrated a diesel truck in 1923 it was a popular solution to trucks. In the 1930s, of course, it was common. As for the U.S. market, it took more time to move on to diesel and petrol engines until the 1970s became popular. Multiple axles and overhead cabinets were popular solutions. After the 1980s, there were new safety devices and environmental regulations.

Today’s Reality

Clean diesel and electric trucks are already one thing today. vehicles that power themselves. For truck manufacturing, aerodynamic design and technology of space performance find their place. All styles and sizes of trucks are available. Everywhere, mini, medium and heavy vehicles and carriers range from small Japanese kei trucks to 18-wheel drivers in the United States. There are distribution, storage and long-haul trucks with different capability and axle configuration. Trailers and semi-trailers also come in different lengths and types, such as flatbeds, extendable models, stepdeck and specialty versions.

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