(Photos: DPL Digital collection) – Back when I was a kid, my grandfather gave me an old book called “This Was Trucking” and it was spellbinding. I read it about 300 times over the years and it got me hooked on an obsession for learning about these early working trucks. Yes, you could get a Model T with a bed but when you really needed to get some work done it called for a heavier duty piece of equipment. That’s where all the freaks and weirdos below come in.
Much like the auto industry of the day, there were a TON of companies producing trucks. Many of them regional. Builders in the Northeast may not have actually been competing with the people in the midwest and western USA because driving was a mostly regionalized activity then. We are long before the interstate highway system so when you see some of these photos featuring trucks that “won” city to city races, the guys were likely on them for weeks to do it.
To be a truck driver in this era took massive courage because we’re talking overloaded machines, mechanical brakes, chain drives, and absolutely zero protection from the elements for the most part. Very few of the rigs in this photo collection actually have a windshield! Combine that with the virtually complete lack of suspension, minuscule speeds, and labor required to load and unload them and you have a job description made in hell.
Can you imagine operating one of these suckers every day?!
Let’s take a trip through time! Check out photos and captions –