Ever wonder about the evolution of design in tow trucks? The mission of a tow truck is to move a vehicle to another destination without causing damage to the towed vehicle.
Hook & Chain Tow Truck
The oldest design is the Hook and Chain. The hook was placed around an axle or hooked to the chassis in some manner. The towed vehicle was dragged behind the tow truck. The tow driver had little control over the towed vehicle due to the lack of a ridged connecting member, just the flexible chain.
Wheel Lift Tow Truck
Along came the Wheel Lift tow. A metal yoke would then attach to a rigid bar. The yoke would lift a pair of tires off the pavement allowing a much more controlled tow.
Flatbed Tow Truck
Then today the king of towing is the Flatbed. A flat bed truck is equipped with metal bed. The bed tilts and then slides to the ground. A winch pulls the vehicle up and onto the bed, which then tilts to flat position allowing movement.
Holmes Towing Equipment
Ernest Holmes of Chattanooga, Tennessee was the father of the towing industries. He and some other acquaintances assisted in recovery of a car from the Chickamauga Creek in 1916. They worked many hours before being successful. This got Ernest to thinking. He took a 1913 Cadillac sedan and mounted a A-frame and hand cranked winch and came up with a successful tow truck. He built an entire business around building tow vehicles for other mechanics and the towing company was invented and thrived. He sold a Model 480 (cost $480) and thrived throughout the depression. Jerry Holmes joined the company in 1954 and introduced hydraulic systems into the design. The company was sold to the Dover Corporation in 1973 for $16 million. Century was started by Holmes and the hydraulic tow truck design dominated the field.
Types of Roadside Assistance
Most tow services offer other services besides towing. Some of these roadside services are:
• Dead Car Battery – either replacement of a defunct battery or a jumpstart to get you rolling. Dome light left on, seat belt prevent full closer of the door or other situations will call for a jump start. In the heat of summer your battery takes a beating, most only last 3-4 years. So you may have to replace the battery.
• Out of Gas – running out of fuel is somewhat embarrassing, but common. You can call for fuel. They may not fill you up but give you enough to make a station. The next most fluid related problem is a burst radiator hose or cracked and leaking tank on the plastic radiators used in modern cars. They don’t seem to hold up well. But a delivery of water can get you to the repair location of choice. Though not as common consider transmission fluid and brake fluid.
• Flat Tires – a change of tires for those who don’t know how or for the elderly and females, many roadside services include tire change. No spare, no problem. Let the tow company know what your driving and they can provide a mounted tire and rim to get you going.
• Auto Lockouts – everyone seem to lock their keys in a car at one time or another. Many tow drivers have the knowledge and tools to open locked doors and do it safely.
Towing, Emergency Roadside Assistance & More in Irving, Fort Worth, Arlington, Carrollton & Plano Texas
Of course, the design of the trucks had to include tool storage and the ability to car fuel, tires and other roadside items. Racks and boxes were added. Speedway Towing and Roadside Assistance offers expert towing and roadside assistance.