It is very likely that you have seen a flatbed truck because they have been around for a long time. The fact is, flatbed trucking is the best option to move large and heavy equipment and materials. The design of flatbed trailers that you see on the highways is based on the principles of Winton Motor Company that put it work 120 years ago.
The Winton Motor Carriage Company of Cleveland, Ohio was a pioneer in the trucking industry. The company built its first truck in 1898 which was capable of carrying cargo through an attached trailer. It was a semi-trailer, not an 18-wheeler but it was able to perform its job. Soon after, companies offered to buy Winton’s truck-trailer combination.
The flatbed trailer or removable goosenecks (RGN) is based on the original design of Winton Motor Company. The principle was adapted by the travel industry in their haul camping trailers. While Winton is credited for the semi-truck design, August Charles Fruehauf, a blacksmith from Detroit took the design to a new level in 1914.
Fruehauf designed a new model that can be used to haul lumber. In 1918, the Fruehauf trailer company was born and remained to be a leading trailer company for more than a century. When the United States sent 2 million troops overseas to fight in World War I, they travelled with the Winton and Fruehauf-designed semi-trucks. The performance of the semi-trucks on the battlefield resulted to widespread adoption after the war.
During the Second World War, Mack became the workhorse vehicle of the US troops. More than 35,000 Mack trucks were deployed to assist in the war efforts. On the home front, the semi-trucks were used for freight hauling. Eventually, the semi-trucks took over 70% of freight delivery in the United States. The trucks that were used during the First and Second World Wars still exist as subsidiaries of parent companies.
Today, flatbed trucking plays a vital role in delivering the needs of the US economy. Flatbeds are the best option in moving building materials, oil containers and drums, construction equipment and manufacturing components. Loading and unloading is easy because there is no roof or sides.