Many people believe Henry Ford invented the first automobile. However, Karl Benz invented the first vehicle about 20 years before Ford automated car manufacturing with the assembly line. The first driver’s licences did not come out until 1916. A model T Ford was pushed into a creek in Tennessee a few years later, and the seeds of the tow truck evolution were planted. Lotzi Tractari Auto Timisoara-Tractari is one of the authority sites on this topic.
When a local businessman learned of the accident, he enlisted the assistance of his partner, the owner of a nearby service station, to get the car out of the ditch. The men eventually got the car out of the Tennesse creek with the aid of a few more volunteers, a block and tackle, and a little sweat. And it only took me 8 hours to complete. There has to be a better way, the businessman reasoned.
Ernest Holmes returned home and began tinkering in his garage, setting up a winch of some kind for the back of his 1913 Cadillac. When he first attempted to use it, his car began to tip over. He realised he needed some lateral protection and devised a rudimentary set of outriggers to tie to the Caddy’s side to prevent it from tipping over. Over the next three years, he checked and updated his Caddy with the winch and outriggers until he had a product that worked consistently and without incident.
In 1919, he applied for a patent. In the early twentieth century, the Holmes 485 was the first vehicle designed specifically for towing broken down automobiles. He manufactured his “wrecker,” as they were known back then, and sold them to service stations. Until the 1970s, he continued to manufacture tow trucks. His 1919 Holmes 485 is now on display in a Tennessee museum.
Tow trucks have come a long way in recent years. For a simple car tow, there are trucks that place the car’s drive train on a fork-shaped lift. When the car is being towed to the body shop, this prevents any harm to the drive train. At the other end of the continuum, there are very large semi trailer-sized trucks with large cranes on the back decks capable of setting an overturned 18-wheeler on its wheels.
Most tow trucks now come equipped with GPS navigation and tracking devices, as well as onboard HD cameras and other advanced equipment, making the job of safely transporting damaged vehicles of any size much easier.
Most tow truck companies provide a full range of automotive services, including flat tyre repair, car lockout rescues, out-of-gas breakdowns, jump starts for dead batteries, and other services needed to keep your car on the road and you moving.