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The Interesting History of Towing

early 1900's tow truck lifting a vehicle | History of Towing |


Towing has become an essential need in the lives of motorists. Statistics from the AAA show that a car breakdown is experienced in one of every five drivers every day. Many people have used the towing services although most may not know the interesting history of towing. Here is a look at that inspiring history. Towing has existed with the existence of vehicles. However, questions always arise as to how vehicles were towed before the tow truck.

Ernest Holmes Experience

Back in 1916, a driver of one of the best car models at that time, a Ford T, swerved off the road and crashed in a creek in Tennessee. One mechanic, Ernest Holmes happened to be in the neighborhood as this was his home area. He mobilized other men to give a helping hand in getting the car out of the creek which proved to be a very difficult task for the team of men. The only available tools they could use were wood, rope, and bricks. It took eight men several hours to accomplish the task.

First Tow Truck in the History of Towing

Following the incident, he thought of developing a wrecker which would make such rescues easier in future. Holmes developed the first wrecker prototype but when he put it to test, it failed to get the job done. In 1919 he developed an improved model after realizing that the wrecker needed to be supported y outriggers for stability. When put to test, it took ten men about eight hours to remove a car from a water trap.

Later in the year, a success story was written when a 485 outrigger was designed which could be attached to any vehicle. It was succeeded by the 685 whose cost ($685) made it fail. Another Locomobile coupled with the 485 Holmes’ design was developed in 1913. It was the most expensive tow truck at that time costing $6000. These early towing trucks utilized pulleys and hooks which aimed at reducing the effort used in towing. With the inventions in effect, it could take one man to accomplish what eight men struggled for hours to accomplish. After every few years, newer models of tow trucks could be developed with better equipment allowing the truck driver to have a better experience during towing.

Currently, towing is a high-tech industry experiencing the development of sophisticated and more efficient tow trucks such as the flatbed which is operated solely by electrical switches and hydraulic systems. Modern towing equipment combines better design, safety, and power with better towing techniques. These include wheel lifts, flatbeds, and integrated tow trucks.

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