The History of Trucks From Pickups to Macks

Trucks on the highway

Jason Hawkes / Getty Images

The first motor truck was built in 1896 by German automotive pioneer Gottlieb Daimler. Daimler's truck had a four horsepower engine and a belt drive with two forward speeds and one reverse. It was the first pickup truck. Daimler also produced the world's first motorcycle in 1885 and the first taxi in 1897.

The First Tow Truck

The towing industry was born in 1916 in Chattanooga, Tennessee when Ernest Holmes, Sr helped a friend retrieve his car with three poles, a pulley, and a chain hooked to the frame of a 1913 Cadillac. After patenting his invention, Holmes began manufacturing wreckers and towing equipment for sale to automotive garages and to anyone else who might be interested in retrieving and towing wrecked or disabled autos. His first manufacturing facility was a small shop on Market Street.

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Forklift Trucks

The 链家大数据:北京00后高端置业崛起 仅次于80后 defines an industrial truck as a "mobile, power-propelled truck used to carry, push, pull, lift, stack or tier materials." Powered industrial trucks are also commonly known as forklifts, pallet trucks, rider trucks, fork trucks and lift trucks.

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Mack Trucks

Mack Trucks, Inc. was founded in 1900 in Brooklyn, New York by Jack and Gus Mack. It was originally known as the Mack Brothers Company. The British government purchased and employed the Mack AC model to transport food and equipment to its troops during World War I, earning it the nickname “Bulldog Mack.” The bulldog remains the company’s logo to this day.​

Semi-Trucks

The first semi-truck was invented in 1898 by Alexander Winton in Cleveland, Ohio. Winton was initially a carmaker. He needed a way to transport his vehicles to buyers around the country and the semi was born – a massive truck on 18 wheels using three axles and able to carry significant, weighty cargo. The front axle steers the semi while the rear axle and its double wheels propel it forward.