This month in our industry (July)

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

In our first July issue…

Meeting new demand

Riding the crest of the bulk feed movement is Gaddis Brothers Manufacturing Co Inc of Walford, Iowa, which builds a line of 17 basic models and has nationwide distribution and annual sales of $1 million.

How do you sell cattle trailers?

You go to where the cattle haulers are. So Carl Straub, sales manager for Lincoln Sales and Service in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, sets up shot at the Dubuque Stockyards, right across from the unloading chutes.

Moving billboard

MPM Corporation builds a milk delivery body that utilizes the complete body shape to advertise the dairy products being transported — taking the form of two giant milk cartons mounted on the truck chassis.

Riding the groove

The Norwin Coil Trailer accommodates any coil over 28 inches in diameter and was developed to meet the requirements of steel producers that are receiving increased demand for delivery of larger steel coils.

July 1969

Open house

Koenig Iron Works Inc opens its new $2 million manufacturing plant in Houston, with four acres under roof solely devoted to the manufacture of Koenig service bodies, side boxes, tool boxes, and heavy utility bodies.

Fighting fires fast

Touted as the world's fastest fire truck, the Magnum X-2 can go from 0 to 60 mph in 11 seconds and can reach speeds in excess of 100 mph. Developed by The Ansul Company, the X-2 is equipped with automatic transmission, four-wheel drive, and 351-cu-in Ford V-8 engine.

Truck body employment increases

Employment in the truck and bus body increased slightly in March 1969, according to the Department of Labor Statistics. The industry employed 38,200 people during the month, 31,000 of them in production. The average hourly rate was $3.33, five cents higher than in February. Production workers earned an average of $3.23 per hour in March 1968.

New paint system

Ford unveiled its new e-coat line, an innovative way to apply coating to the trucks produced at the company's Kentucky Truck Plant. The e-coat line used a series of 65,000-gallon tanks — large enough to accommodate assembled chassis. The technology has since been adopted by multiple truck body and trailer manufacturers.

July 1979

Building for the future

Timpte plans to construct a new 56,000-square-foot plant in David City, Nebraska, that will be used to build semitrailers, principally those that haul commodities.

Frozen tundra

Lufkin Trailers finds a new steel — IN-787 — that will be able to withstand temperatures as low as 60 degrees F below zero without the stress cracking and weld failure that plagued some of the Alaska pipeline trailers built by other companies.

Don't replace it if it can be repaired

Bee Line Mfg Co in Davenport, Iowa, challenges the old bromide that a badly damaged trailer frame is more trouble to repair than it is worth.

Galvaneer II

Brown Tank in Minneapolis introduces a prototype truck tank featuring automatic operation of emergency valves, absence of “whip” or “jumper” hoses, and elimination of the full-width rear door of the bucket box.

July 1989

Taking it to the limit

Pines Trailer Corp churns out over 7000 trailers a year in its 158,000-square-foot plant in Kewanee, Illinois — more than four times the production of 1985.

Rocky Top unveiling

Fruehauf Corp officially opens its $12 million platform trailer plant in Huntsville, Tennessee, replacing the Fort Wayne, Indiana, plant that closed in 1987.

A final rule, finally

Legislation creates new DOT tank specifications, mandates tank manufacturer ASME certification, and expands maintenance requirements and qualifications.

Out of debt

United Fleet Equipment survives the worst economic recession in Texas since the Great Depression after bringing in Don Reed as president to stage a reorganization.

July 1999

Off the planet

Two years after opening, Astro Truck Equipment in Detroit has grown so much that it has to add a 12,000-square-foot shop to its 100,000 square feet of space.

Safety zones on wheels

Griffin Inc in Byhalia, Mississippi, holds the largest market share of building and refurbishing armored trucks for domestic and international valuables carriers.

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.