It happened this month (November)

Nov. 1, 2009
Looking back at industry milestones of the past five decades

November 1959

Money-saver. Goodling Equipment Company in Meridian, Mississippi, births the idea of the Swap Body — pickup and delivery bodies that are detachable from the chassis and may be switched in four or fewer minutes.

Cut tare, add strength. After a year of engineering, Arrow Equipment Company in Memphis, Tennessee, unveils a new platform trailer based on fabricated hi-tensile steel I-beam center frame members, 20 inches in depth.

The Truck Body and Equipment Association experiences a 30% increase in exhibitors and has a total registration of 2,087 at its convention at the Sherman Hotel in Chicago.

Really rolling. Hutchens & Son Metal Products introduces the Hutch-Carr multiple disc demountable rim wheel of pressed steel design, made entirely from rolled plate steel.

November 1969

Rolling on the river. Trailco-Greenville opens a 125,000-square-foot plant on the Mississippi River levee, giving it the capability for water delivery of incoming materials and outgoing trailers and containers.

New chief. Heil Truck Equipment president James F Maddrix is elected the 23rd president of the Truck Body & Equipment Association (TBEA) at the convention held in Detroit.

Trucks to take off. Ford's Lewis I Seaver predicts that by the end of the 1970s, total truck registrations will reach 25 million and annual truck sales could be three million units.

Better days. The Utility Equipment Dealers' Association, recognizing the growing complexity of the industry and the need for representation in Washington, DC, becomes an industry division of TBEA.

November 1979

Re-engineered from the ground up. The Trailer Division of The Budd Company introduces a new line of van trailers designed to conserve fuel and/or carry more payload than existing trailers because they are 758 pounds lighter than comparable vans.

Bigger than ever. The Truck Body & Equipment Association Convention and Exposition sets an attendance record for the fourth year in a row, with the number of exhibitors increasing 15%.

Diversity is the key. Richard Grabbe began as a farmer and oilfield welder before starting Grabbe Welding & Truck Equipment Inc near Hayes, Kansas, where 35% of his gross comes from selling and serving bulk feed bodies.

Boomer Sooner. Phillips Trailers in Chickasha, Oklahoma, doubles production of gooseneck trailers by adding 50% more stalls, 50% more builders, and initiating a flat-rate system of pay.

November 1989

Consortium concept. Five major companies are cooperating in the development of an innovative truck- and tank-trailer combination — the Freightliner/Heil Advanced Concept Truck (FACT) — to demonstrate new ideas of enhanced truck safety and productivity.

The lowdown on rollovers. More than 80% of major leaks in bulk tank accidents are caused by rollover, according to a study released at the SAE's Truck and Bus Meeting. Increasing wheel track alone might result in a 7% improvement in the rollover threshold of Class A trucks.

Debut appearance. Navistar conducted its first truck product conference for NTEA members, bringing along a series of new medium-duty trucks and some technical presentations on how to mount bodies and equipment on International chassis.

Joining forces. Demountable Concepts Inc and Ray Smith Demountables announce a joint venture to manufacture a broad selection of demountable truck bodies in the United States.

November 1999

Going low. Traditionally a builder of truck tanks and trailers for hauling liquid asphalt, ED Etnyre & Company is building lowbed trailers at its plant in Oregon, Illinois.

Seeking to standardize. In response to its own study of quality issues, Ford is considering the development of a standard wiring interface designed to simplify installation of truck bodies and equipment.

Biggest and best. More than 15,000 attendees visited 770 exhibitors as the ICUEE, the most successful and largest ever, occupying 1,115,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor exhibit space.

As part of our 50th anniversary coverage, each month Trailer/Body Builders will present items of interest from archived issues.

About the Author

Rick Weber | Associate Editor

Rick Weber has been an associate editor for Trailer/Body Builders since February 2000. A national award-winning sportswriter, he covered the Miami Dolphins for the Fort Myers News-Press following service with publications in California and Australia. He is a graduate of Penn State University.