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August Fruehauf established himself as a adept blacksmith and carriage builder at a young age. It was 1914 Detroit and Fruehauf, the son of German immigrants, along with his business partner Otto Neumann was enjoying a good reputation and a robust business. It was only when he was approached by a prominent lumber manufacturer with a problem that he decided to expand in the industry. August Fruehauf was, after all, a practical man.
It seems the lumberman, Frederic M. Sibley, had a fancy boat he wanted to get to his summer home in Upper Michigan. He felt the usual horse and wagon transport would be too slow and was looking for an alternative. Fruehauf and Neumann got right to work. They pounded, bolted, welded and created a sturdy two-wheel trailer that they could attach to Sibley's Model T Ford. The removed the back seat of the Model T and hooked the trailer to the frame with a long pole that served as both brake and tongue. Fruehauf decided to call his invention a "semi-trailer". The Model T and the boat made it to their destination successfully. Sibley was impressed.
It worked so well that Sibley decided it was just what he needed for his lumber yards. Fruehauf rose to the occasion and before long orders were being received from other lumber companies. This led to the launching of Fruehauf Trailer Company 1918 (singing wheels). Introducing new and innovative technology, the company became the largest of its kind in the world. They went on to introduce new designs like the automatic 5th wheel hitch and eventually the first refrigerated semi-truck.
August Fruehauf believed in the practical advantages of his inventions. He was known for the saying, "A horse can pull more than it can carry...so can a truck". For more information about our inventory and services, contact us anytime.PHOTO BY FRUEHAUF HISTORICAL SOCIETY
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