Commercial Truck History:

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The first commercial vehicle was made
in 1899.
It was powered by a steam engine.

The first truck to travel from coast
to coast was a Sauger,
a Swiss built truck which traveled from
Los Angeles to New York in 1911.

In 1903 the Automobile Club of
America staged the first U.S.
commercial vehicle contest to test
the economy, reliability, durability,
speed, and carrying capacity
of the truck, the newest mode
of freight transportation.

Stimulated by the results of that contest,
the manufacture and use of motor
trucks flourished.

By 1908, 4,000 trucks were in use
in the United States, transporting
goods of every type wherever
streets and roads were passable.
By the start 1914 of World War 1,
300,000 trucks were in use, and by
the war's end 1918 there were more
than a million.

n 1916 the Seattle chamber of
commerce paid the expense
 for a truck to drive from Seattle to NYC.
 It took 31 days of driving time.

In the 1920's the fifth wheel came along.
In 1920 the semitrailer, whose front
end rests on the rear portion of the

hauling truck tractor, was gaining in
In a semitrailer the truck tractor usually

 has a disk, known as the fifth wheel,
located on a horizontal platform
over its rear wheels; a pin located under the
front of the trailer locks into this disk, thus
attaching the trailer to the tractor
and furnishing support for the front
end of the trailer.

1935 Motor Carrier Act brought
trucking under federal regulations.

The Federal Government spent $75 million
on construction & improvement of roads.

Logbook rules, the same ones in force
today, were developed in the late 1930's.

There was less than 15,000 miles of
paved highways in the U.S. in 1914.

In the 1930's, the number of new trucks
registered in the U.S. totaled some

In 1966, the DOT was created by an
act of Congress.
The DOT became responsible for
safety issues.

In the early 1800's the gasoline engine
was invented,
it was followed by the
first gasoline powered trucks.
These trucks did not have any
doors, or roofs, and the
drivers had no protection from the
The top speed
on these trucks were a
whopping 20 mph.

These early trucks had a tiller bar instead
of a steering wheel.

 Also, oil lamps were used for night
driving instead of headlights.

In the 1950s, diesel fuel cost 14.9
cents per gallon.
Conventional trucks in the 1950's
a hole in the wall to climb in to
the unheated bunk, which was nothing

more than a shelf on the wall.

In the 1950's, refrigerated trailers ran
on propane.
Trailer lengths started out at 33 feet,
gradually increasing through the

In the early 1900s, trucks were limited
for two reasons, first there weren't very

many paved roads, and second,
the trucks used solid rubber tires.

This type of tire could be used only at
low speeds.

A feature developed around the time of WW1
that helped the trucking industry.

This was the invention of the pneumatic
(air inflated) tire.
By 1920 this new tire became

 more and more popular.
With the air inflated tire there was much
 less wear and tear on vehicles, so
higher speeds were
The driver had a more comfortable ride.

During WWI trucks became more
widespread, when manufactures produced

227,250 trucks to help transport
goods for the war effort.
Trucking companies such as

Michigan Motor Freight, Yellow Freight,
and Interstate Motor
Freight got their start during this time.

In 1939 Al Gross, founder of the CB,
invents the first walkie talky.

In 1943 he made the first CB radio.
Also in 1943 he began
founding the Citizens Band Corporation.
 In 1958 the FCC introduced the first 23
channels of the Citizen Band.

In 1962 Midland CB Radios introduced
into the public market the
first CB radio.

By 1966 Midland had introduced
21 different mobile CB transceivers.
During the early 1970’s the oil embargo

 and the truck strikes pressed the need for the
drivers to communicate to the home base
 and the company that he/she was
working for.

In 1977 the FCC introduced an
addition 17 channels to make
the current 40 channels that are
Also, in 1977 the FCC
discontinued the license that was
needed to operate a CB station.
A license is not needed as long as
you operate and follow the rules and
regulations of the FCC.

The first tilt-cab, or cab-over, truck
was built in 1935.

During 1910, production of trucks in the
U.S. amounted to about 10,000.

In 1916 the Seattle chamber of commerce
paid the expense for a truck to drive from

Seattle, Washington, to New York City.
It took 31 days of actual driving.

This trip across country showed people that
highways and trucks were going to

become an important part of our lives.

Rudolf Diesel had patented the
diesel engine in 1892.

The first tractors powered by diesel
engines were built in the early 1930s.

In 1912, a Packard truck went from
New York to San Francisco in 46 days.

This was the year that trucks were
first equipped with electric lights.