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‘Singing Wheels: August Fruehauf & The History of the Fruehauf Trailer Company’


“Singing Wheels: August Fruehauf & The History of the Fruehauf Trailer Company”
A book by Ruth Freuhauf and Darlene Norman

By Heidi O.

In 1914,  lumber dealer Frédéric M. Sibley, Sr. expressed his need for more horsepower to August Fruehauf, a Detroit blacksmith and carriage builder, and Freuhauf fulfilled that need by hitching a trailer to a sawed off Ford Model T. He named it a “semi-trailer.” Fruehauf coined the company motto, “You can pull more than you can carry.”

Henry Ford gave Sibley permission to alter the Model T. Ford, however; Ford was skeptical, questioning the mechanics of it and canceled the warranty on the vehicle.

An autobigoraphy on the Fruehauf Trailer Company entitled “Singing Wheels: August Freuhauf & The History of the Fruehauf Trailer Company,” by Ruth Freuhaufl, states that Fruehauf was a pioneer of the trailer.

“August Fruehauf was the first to introduce refrigeration into truck-trailer transportation. Refrigerated rail cars were manufactured in Detroit in the late 1800’s, and it would have been easy for my granddad to have access to the technology, even though the railroads held on tight to their monopoly. Later they were number one in refrigerated transport for many, many years.”

One hundred years later, Fruehauf trailers are still manufactured around the world as the international divisions were given the opportunities of buying themselves out and being independent.

In 1997, Wabash National purchased the technology  part of the company.

Author Ruth Fruehauf, granddaughter to August, and the book’s co-author, Darlene Norman, penned the book in honor of the centennial of August’s invention.

The book contains a biographical essay encompassing 90 pages of original photographs from the Fruehauf Trailer Historical Society, along with 39 pages of text.

The Detroit Historical Society is offering Ruth a display exhibition in 2015, and she is workign with 2 other museum for exhibits in 2016.

“Launching the book in Detroit was a natural since it’s where I grew up and also where the home office was based,” says Ruth. There are also some book signings coming up.

To obtain a copy for the trailer enthusiast in your family this Christmas, visit the book’s website at www.singingwheels.com, or find the book on Amazon.com. The book is available in softcover for $29.95 and in hardcover for $39.95; shipping to US included.

Go on over and check the book out, and get your copy today!

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Information obtained from Ruth Fruehauf and the Fruehauf Trailer Historical Society.


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