Semi-trucks keep America strong by providing a reliable means of transporting goods. Semis travel more than 146 billion miles in the U.S. each year, and transport 70 percent of goods and commodities. The semi-truck and the market for truck seats and accessories have come a long way in the century they’ve been in use.
Century? That’s right. Semis were first invented in the late 1800s, making them more than 100 years old. Here are a few other little-known facts about the history of semi-trucks and their future:
- The first semi-truck was invented in Cleveland, Ohio in 1898 by Alexander Winton.
- Winton owned one of the early automobile companies and needed a vehicle to transport his automobiles to customers. Winton didn’t want the vehicles driven to his customers, who were located all over the country, because it would put wear and tear on the product. This need led to the development of the first tractor trailer.
- Winton didn’t do much beyond this initial invention, so the further development of the semi-truck was left to other inventors. August Charles Fruehauf developed a semi in 1914, and it caught on as a means of transporting lumber. Fruehauf’s company, Fruehauf Trailer Company, is still in business.
- Mack Trucks was an early innovator in the tractor trailer field. Between 1929 and 1944, the company produced more than 2,600 big trucks – a significant number during those years.
- Semi-trucks resembling today’s modern 18-wheel trucks had their debut in the 1950s when Navistar and Freightliner began producing trucks with six wheels or more and overhead sleepers. The evolution of the Interstate Highway System beginning in the 50s also helped fuel the trucking revolution, as convenient and safe highways made trucking more efficient than rail transport. The market for truck accessories began growing at this time, as drivers demanded greater comfort and safety on the road.
- Today, efforts to innovate in the trucking industry are resulting in more fuel efficient vehicles that emit fewer pollutants. Nearly a third of all big rigs on the road today are near-zero emission vehicles, and the industry is working to increase that number.
Suburban Seating & Safety is a family-owned aftermarket auto seats and truck accessory company. In business since 1947, Suburban Seating & Safety has built a reputation for offering a wide selection of accessories from top manufacturers and ensuring clients’ specific needs are met. To learn more, call 1-844-SAS-SEAT.