It happened this month

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

December 1959 The Association of Food and Drug Officials of the United States develops a new code that specificies that zero degrees F is the maximum temperature to which frozen foods should be subjected during transportation, storage, and retailing.

What is the future of route truck bodies? Bakers say that the trucks most likely will be constructed of aluminum, plastic, or other lightweight material and will be of the forward control, parcel delivery, type, although certain parts of the country will stick to the box type body.

What Brown can do for you. An extra-capacity aluminum trailer with a 94“ load width, exterior posts, and several other features is introduced by Clark Equipment Company's Brown Trailer Division.

Modern and massive. Fruehauf's new $2 million Vina Vista plant officially opens, making it the largest truck-trailer manufacturing plant in the West, covering 150,000 square feet.

December 1969 Done deal. Trailmobile announces it has signed an option with the Charleston, Illinois, Chamber of Commerce for purchase of 130 acres for construction of a trailer manufacturing plant that ultimately will build 8000 trailers a year and hire over 350 employees.

Simplified van loading. UPS is testing a general-purpose trailer with slidable load carriers, utilizing mechanical-power transmission and clutch designs on which UPS has applied for patients.

Ouch. TTMA estimates that it will cost truck trailer manufacturers over $5 million to equip the trailers produced in one year with the rear underride guard that the National Safety Bureau wants. That figure is based on a bumper weight of 260 lbs required to meet the strength requirements of the safety proposal — $39 per trailer multiplied by the 134,782 trailers produced from October 1968 to September 1969.

December 1979 Regulatory update. The new Model Uniform Product Liability Law developed by the US Department of Commerce imposes strict liability on manufacturers when their products are defective in construction or fail to conform to an express warranty.

Making his case. NTEA president Carl Ayoub testifies before the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, calling for the “prompt enactment” of the Product Liability Risk Retention Act.

A whopper. Fruehauf completes an order for 950 van bodies mounted on Ford and Magirus chassis, with the total price in excess of $20 million — the company's largest single truck equipment sale.

Change of direction. Heil unveils a new line of refuse bodies and a new mascot, the Heil Cat, to symbolize them. The bodies are lighter than Heil's Colectomatic bodies without sacrificing performance.

December 1989 Light prototype. Ultra Lite Manufacturing Inc enters the dump trailer market with an aluminum half-round design that was chosen because of its superior load handling characteristics, extra-light weight, and ease of manufacturing with mechanized equipment.

Border crossing. Vulcan Equipment, the Toronto-based manufacturer of towing equipment, opens a 122,000-sq-ft plant in Olive Branch, Mississippi and introduces the company's MLS (Material Loading System) — a multiple-use, detachable body system that has applications outside the towing and retrieving industry.

Major increase in capacity. Waltco Truck Equipment begins operating what it says is the first manufacturing facility designed exclusively for liftgate production. The plant in Tallmadge, Ohio, features 80,000 square feet — more than twice the space of the previous facility.

Axle Capital of the World. Rockwell International produces more trailer axles in its Kenton, Ohio, plant than all other trailer axle manufacturers combined — over 200,000 axles a year in the 530,000-sq-ft facility.

December 1999 Flex Fuel Vehicle. Utilimaster Corp begins production on 10,000 newly designed postal delivery bodies mounted on right-hand-drive chassis that normally are used to produce the Australian version of the Ford Explorer.

Mind games. Trailer dealers can apply self-hypnotism techniques to help improve their performance in sales, says hypnotist/lawyer Tony Galie at the NTDA Convention.

Cleaning up at Clement. Clement Industries in Minden, Louisiana, announces another record year for sales and plans for the further integration of technology into its manufacturing and marketing efforts.

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.