Ward School Bus Manufacturing
Trailer/Body Builders January 1969 cover
Sketched torque arm
Hutchens & Son Metal Products ad
In order to cut its assembly line in half, to only 750 feet, and greatly improve the efficiency of assembly operations in the specialized sector of school bus manufacturing, Ward School Bus Mfg designed and built most of the machinery on its continuously moving assembly-line chain. Here, at the beginning of the production line, 27-inch sections of the bus floor with crossmembers welded in place are riveted together.
Skirting the floor
While the floor sections still are upside down, side skirt panels are welded in place. However, Ward reported that it planned on installing a new machine soon after Trailer/Body Builders’ visit that would eliminate the need for turning the floor over.
After the side skirting is welded in place, the entire floor assembly is turned over on the moving chain, where it proceeds down the line, rear-end first.
After several more steps, including welding the pre-assembled rear frame to the floor, attaching body bows, and sliding roof sheets into place, the freshly painted bus body is turned for chassis mounting. Here, a hydraulic cylinder and turntable rise from between the two chains to lift the bus at the end of the 750-foot line. The mounting bay was perpendicular to the line, so the bus body had to be rotated 90 degrees.
Men with machine
This machine, under construction at the time, was expected to be placed at the head of the Ward production line. It was designed to automatically make 28 spot (projection) welds simultaneously to weld crossmembers to the floor, and lap floor sections together. From left to right, JC Jones, maintenance superintendent, EO Ryan, chief engineer, and JL Lane, tool and die supervisor, inspect the equipment they designed.
Jim Pelly, then-data processing manager at Ward Industries, and Gary Langley, then-computer operator, examine a status report that was printed out each day showing the production status of all buses on order. Data processing equipment pictured includes (clockwise from upper left) disc storage, an IBM Model 20 central processing unit, multiple function card machine (punch and read), 2501 card reader and the 1401 printer that printed at 1,100 lines per minute.
EM Ryan, then-product design engineer at Ward, shows off the new, stylized interior of the 1969 Ward bus. The front heater housing, control panel and cowl trim all were sculptured of black fiberglass-reinforced plastic. The driver control panel at left had a ‘classic’ design and featured toggle switches with indicator lights. The first aid kit compartment at the lower left was built into the main heater housing.
Twice as nice
Keystone Trailer had recently completed this aluminum hopper train for transporting grain in January 1969. The two trailers were each 25 feet long and sold as a unit. The hopper train was made of stress skin with aluminum posts, aluminum side sheets and slope sheets, and aluminum stiffeners in the slope sheets.
Boone Trailers installed hubodometers on all its trailers 50 years ago. Al Boone, then president of the company, said they helped increase tire mileage and track warranty coverage, thus improving overall quality. Boone used Engler Hubodometers to show when trailers, like this three-axle drop frame machinery trailer, required maintenance.
Proof of life
This tandem axle Air-Ride drop frame operated on a per-mile basis, with the tamper-proof Engler Hubodometers providing accurate proof of mileage.
Oil on air
This oil tanker was converted by Boone from conventional springs to an air suspension, which was growing in popularity at the time due to the many advantages offered, including lighter weight, better cargo protection and longer tire life. Engler Hubodometers were, of course, included.
Chrysler Corporation used this specially built 40-foot Dorsey Electronics Van to lead a cross-country caravan promoting its driver education program ‘Music for Modern Americans.’ The Broadway-geared production, which fused entertainment and safety, was performed by the Spurrlows, a group of 34 young professionals. It was expected to be viewed by approximately 500,000 high school students in 46 states.
These grain hopper trailers by Great Bend Frame & Body in Kansas were made entirely of fiberglass-reinforced plastic, except for the steel kingpin section, rear suspension subframe and tubular steel rubrail. Each trailer was 24½ feet long and weighed 6,500 pounds.
Sectioned for success
The hopper bottoms on the Great Bend grain hopper trailers terminated in six ports, each equipped with a sliding grain trap, which also was molded of fiberglass-reinforced plastic.
Stake and brace
The ‘stake and brace’ design of these sidewalls on the grain hoppers resulted from spraying chopped fiberglass and resin over oak stakes. Ribbed slope sheet flowed over the top of the front bulkhead (at bottom of photo) to eliminate pockets that catch grain or dirt.
Process Engineering in New Hampshire claimed to make the first all-aluminum tanker designed specifically to haul liquefied natural gas (LNG). This trailer was built with plate produced by Aluminum Company of America and was one of three delivered to Gas Incorporated for transporting LNG in peak shaving operations to satellite storage tanks.
Republic Steel used these unusual 40-foot trailers, built by Hobbs Mfg, to transport extremely heavy loads of hot steel coil from its hot mill to its cold mill, which were less than one mile apart.
Standard Forge & Axle Company ad
Hobbs Trailers added this self-tracking tandem-axle trailer to its lineup in 1968. It featured innovations that allowed the trailer to haul all types of self-supporting loads, including concrete beams, giant vessels and pipe, in the exact track of the towing truck, rather than ‘cutting across’ as conventional pole trailers had done up to that point.
Steam to go
This completely self-contained boiler room, which could provide up to 30,000 pounds of steam per hour virtually anywhere in the country, was made by Clayton Mfg in El Monte CA. The boiler room was housed in a 40-foot van type trailer.
Wayne Engineering Corp of Cedar Falls IA created a combination towed or stationary refuse system by mounting a 10-yard packer body on a trailer chassis. The trailerized version of the refuse packer used a standard Mighty/Pack 10-yard body, which was a side-loading body. The body was 11 feet long and typically mounted on a 60-inch CA chassis.
Gar Wood Industries of Wayne MI created this fold-away elevating end-gate, which boasted a maximum lifting capacity of 2,200 pounds. The Model SA-22 Stow-Away Frate-Gate was electric hydraulic powered and self-stored under the truck body when unused.