The history of semi-trucks goes back almost to the dawn of the automobile. The moment someone had a working internal combustion engine, someone else was thinking about how to harness it to ship goods around. In that time, there’s been plenty of change and innovation in trucking – something we’re proud to have been a part of, offering semi-trucks for sale here at Coopersburg & Liberty Kenworth.
So today, just for fun, let’s just have a quick list of factoids about trucks and the history of trucking.
1 – The first “semi-truck” was invented in 1898.
In 1897, Alexander Winton founded the Winton Motor Carriage Company, one of the first dedicated automotive manufacturers in America. Just a year later, he rolled out what’s commonly considered the first heavy-duty truck specifically for the shipment of goods. In fact, it was a car-hauler, so that his customers could receive their cars in mint condition!
Winton was a pioneer in early American automotive who is rarely discussed. He was also an avid race-car builder, and even raced Henry Ford in 1901. But Ford won.
2 – The “semi” in semi-truck refers to the trailer.
A lot of people don’t actually know where the “semi” comes from. That’s actually the trailer, and it’s called a “semi” because it lacks front wheels and is therefore totally dependent on the truck hauling it.
3 – Grinding lots of gears.
The maximum number of gears that a truck transmission can have is actually eighteen! However, the most common setup is twelve – ten forward gears, and two for reversing.
4 – The “fifth wheel” isn’t unnecessary at all!
In common usage, calling someone a “fifth wheel” suggests that they’re useless or extraneous in a gathering. However, fifth wheel is actually a trucking term – it’s part of the coupling which holds the trailer in place. So, a fifth wheel is a highly vital component!
And speaking of trucking terms that became slang…
5 – All hail the kingpin.
A “kingpin” isn’t just a mob boss – it’s actually large pin that goes through the fifth wheel and anchors the coupling in place. (Someone should tell that to Daredevil.)
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