This month in our industry (May)

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

In our first May issue …

New design concepts The development of special handling equipment leads to a major breakthrough in the technique of combining epoxies with glass fiber as a structural material.

Variations on a theme Crown Coach Corporation in Los Angeles unveils a bus chassis that is adaptable to five vehicles.

Dairyman had a hand Big Chief Truck-Trailer Company in Houston, Texas, designs a milk delivery body for home service, rather than store delivery.

Big capacity Clark Equipment Company's Brown Trailer Division introduces a new exterior-post aluminum trailer to give operators more room for cargo per pound of trailer weight than any trailer on the road.

Transicold Corporation invests more than $1 million in construction and land for a new plant in Montebello, California.

May 1969

Up to speed

Parkhurst Manufacturing Co in Sedalia, Missouri, is now assembling the first 2000 van bodies and tailgate lifts that will launch National Car Rental System in the one-way truck rental business.

Making the transition

Retiring TTMA president Jack Miller of Miller Trailers receives a plaque in appreciation of his services to the association, from new TTMA president Nate Carter.

A new $5 million corporation

Trans-Delta Corp forms through the consolidation of Young Fire Equipment Corp, Maday Body & Equipment, and Hawke Transport Products Corp.

May 1979

Taking the fat out

Autocraft Inc of Plymouth, Minnesota, reacts to the advent of FMVSS 301 by designing fiberglass service bodies with lighter weights, while not sacrificing strength and durability.

Escape artist

Air leakage in refrigerated trailers and van bodies is costing the industry more than $42 million a year in excess fuel use — the equivalent of 70 million gallons of diesel fuel — according to a Department of Energy study.

Time and labor savings

Fruehauf develops a new support leg system for van trailers that automatically retracts for towing and extends when uncoupled from the highway tractor.

Taking another step

CWC Feather Lite Mfg of El Reno, Oklahoma, guarantees its aluminum gooseneck trailers to be 30% lighter than steel.

Naming rights

McCahan Body Company in Jessup, Maryland, has done such a good job of repairing damaged trailers that one of its largest customers names the aluminum rail repair “The McCahan Splice.”

May 1989

Striving for a better way

Monroe Truck Equipment in Monroe, Wisconsin, doubles sales in a three-year span, going from $17 million to $35 million, and moves into a new 92,000-sq-ft shop.

Passing the test

Frontline Corp in Pinellas Park, Florida, made it through a rigorous inspection program and became one of 12 truck body manufacturers in Ford's new Qualified Vehicle Modifiers (QVM) program.

Bathtub dump

Fruehauf adds a new semi-frameless steel end dump to its line of dump trailers. Like the high-spill dump of years ago, floor height at the rear remains constant during dumping.

Wind-tunnel wonder

Engineers at NASA's Ames Research Center test an aerodynamic device for tractor-trailers that could save nearly one billion gallons of fuel annually. In tests, it reduced air drag by 10% on an International model 9700 cabover tractor and Fruehauf van.

May 1999

On the right track

Systems & Electronics Inc in St Louis, Missouri, finds its niche by producing M1000 trailers that transport M-1 Abrams tanks that serve American ground troops overseas.

Changing of the guard

GM's reorganization combines all of GM's fleet, commercial, and daily rental activities into one new Fleet and Commercial Operations Group that will be responsible for selling and servicing 1.2 million vehicles a year.

People aren't perfect

Lawyer/engineer Alvin Weinstein cautions attendees at the NATM Convention that in order to avoid product liability lawsuits, manufacturers must consider more than function, cost, maintainability, and repairability when they design products.

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.