The History Behind Trucking

Trucks have been an integral part of modern society for decades. From semis carrying huge payloads across highways, to personal trucks for the average person, they’re everywhere. Truth be told, people have been using truck-like vehicles to transport goods for centuries, albeit before mechanical engines, the goods were often drawn by humans and pack animals. As civilizations progressed, the need more efficient and powerful methods of transportation became more apparent. This lead to the birth of the truck. The trucks of today can fulfill many different roles, and that’s what makes them so versatile in today’s fleet industry. Let’s take a look back and see where trucks really took off.

The birth of trucking

Before motor trucks, railroads monopolized the inland transport of goods and services in the 19th century. The railroad industry was at the forefront of technological innovation where most immediate transportation systems comprised of a wagon drawn by pack-animals. Despite the usefulness and convenience of train transport, the flexibility of horse transport was unrivaled until self-propelled, steam-powered vehicles begin to gain traction.

The pioneers in self-propelled vehicles eventually ended up developing technologies such as suspension, steering, and braking. In addition to these technological advances, breakthroughs in metallurgy and a better understanding of a vehicle’s weight and mass design, particularly with with passengers and payload, further contributed to the emergence of the self-propelled truck. With the invention of the internal combustion engine in the nineteenth century, the self propelled vehicle was able to truly step out and become commonplace.

The rise and fall

Before advanced transmissions and gear drives for internal combustion engines became standard, the trucking industry was slow to establish it’s footing, even with railroads being limited to interaction among city hubs. Oftentimes, drivers started their own trucking companies and made a living with a single truck with an open cab and solid rubber tires over dirt roads. As time passed, trucking companies emerged with increased demand, as more cities and towns were established. Companies began cropping up, with multiple drivers or company-specific fleets handling transportation of commodities in cities, with an increasing range as technology progressed. The first major trucking boom occurred in the postwar 1920s. Roads were constantly improving and allowing access to more places. Balloon tires eventually replaced solid rubber tires and trucks grew in size, with closed cabs that helped companies travel farther, carry more payload.

This prosperity wouldn’t last for long though, as a number of trucking companies were forced to close during the Depression, but those still open received a boost from the repeal of Prohibition and the slowly reviving economy. In 1935, Congress passed the Motor Carrier Act, which authorized the Interstate Commerce Commission to regulate the trucking industry. The bill finally ended the contest between rail and automotive interests which had been a battle long fought in Congress. With this passing, the railroad industry had to heel to the burgeoning trucking industry.

Where we are today

Fast forward to now, the fleet trucking industry is stronger than ever, as the global and national economy has grown exponentially. With so many fleet companies, it’s hard to find which is right for you. You can start by checking us out! We provide amazing service at great prices. You can give us a call at 210–468–0290 for a free quote today!

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