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History is experience and an opportunity to move on

We have long been accustomed to the fact that millions of heavy trucks are moving along the roads of the world, carrying a wide variety of goods. One of the most common modifications of medium and heavy trucks today is the coupling of a truck tractor and a semi-trailer. It is almost impossible to imagine a highway without these giants.

But it was not always so. Meeting such cars on the roads, driving them, hitching a semi-trailer with a tractor, have you ever thought about the fact that this is a truly unique design, the invention of which gave a great impetus to the development of road freight transport, the automotive industry and the economy in general?

So how did the first road train come about? Perhaps many of you have heard of the Fruehauf corporation or even used the products of this company. So, the creation of the semitrailer is credited to the founder of this corporation, August Charles Fryuhauf. He was an American who went to Detroit at the age of 14 and took a job as an apprentice to a blacksmith. Working in a forge, he mastered the delicate craft of making and repairing carriages and a few years later he founded his own forge.

In 1914, a regular customer, a local entrepreneur, lumber manufacturer Frédéric Sibley, turned to Fryhauf’s workshop. He had a boat that he wanted to move to his summer home in northern Michigan. Of course, he could have used a horse-drawn carriage for this purpose, but such a move would have taken several days. And since the merchant owned a Ford Model T, he asked Fruhauf if he could invent an ingenious device to tow the boat behind his car. August Fruhauf and his friend and companion Otto Neumann decided they could help and asked Sibley to give them a few days to work. Sibley was a large client and they were very interested in solving his problem.

The result of the brainstorming of the partners was an original solution that made a real revolution in the transportation of goods of the twentieth century.

Fryuhauf removed the rear seat from the Ford car and the front axle from the van and attached the trailer to the top of the car’s chassis. He called his invention a semi-trailer.