How Has Semi Truck Manufacturing Changed Over the Years?

semi truck parts

Since the semi truck was first invented by Alexander Winton in 1898, semi trucks have adapted and changed to fit the needs of the trucking industry. Over the decades, the need for semi trucks has only increased.

The original concept of the two-wheel semi-trailer has since expanded to the 18-wheeler semi trucks we have today. But how did we get from the first manufactured semi truck to these massive vehicles that transport goods across the country?

The first semi truck

Winton created the first semi truck in Cleveland, Ohio is 1898 to deliver his manufactured vehicles to customers. When a car was delivered on its own, there was a fair share of wear and tear.

The semi truck was invented to address this issue and the first hauler was on the road by 1899. The design housed the engine in the back of the truck and resembled more of a large trailer than today's semi trucks. The vehicle was able to transport only one car at a time.

Early semi trucks

A different model from Winton's first design was created in 1914 by August Charles Fruehauf. The truck was dubbed the semi-trailer and was capable of transporting a boat.

In 1916, the truck was adapted again to have a closed cab, which allowed for a variety of goods to be transported. In 1918, the truck gained an iron chassis thanks to John C. Endebrock. By the 1930s, the semi-trailer model was capable of transporting four vehicles.

The semi-trailer evolution

The trucking industry began to revolutionize in the 1950s after the Interstate Highway System was built in 1956. New engine designs that used direct-injection turbocharged diesel boosted the trucks' performance after World War II.

The Powerline model was present by the early 1970s and the cab-over style briefly came back into fashion during the 1990s. Once the Peterbilt Model was introduced in 2005, the EPA SmartWay program developed and a new focus on semi trucks' fuel efficiency began.

Today's semi trucks are built to improve fuel efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. And what was once a two-wheel trailer is now an 18-wheeler capable of transporting heavy loads.

Looking for replacement semi truck parts?

It's no secret that the trucking industry is one of the most important industries in the United States. In fact, there are approximately 2 million semi trucks currently operating across the country.

But it's important to maintain your semi trucks to keep them running right. That's where BIG Machine Parts comes in.

Whether you're looking for replacement truck headlights, semi steering wheels, semi truck accessories, or other replacement semi truck parts, BIG Machine Parts has what you need to keep your fleet on the road. For more information about our semi truck parts, contact BIG Machine Parts today.

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