It might still be about a week away, but we bet you’re already gearing up for Independence Day! For our American Western Star drivers, there’s nothing quite as relaxing as this summer holiday, complete with fireworks, barbecue, and family fun.
If you happen to be one of our readers living on another corner of the planet, why not kick back and celebrate with us anyway? Any excuse for lounging by the pool with a cold one and a plate of ribs is well worth observing. And hell, we’re pretty sure being a trucker is one of the most freedom-loving jobs out there – it has to be to recruit drivers with passion enough to set their own schedules, find their own hauls, and trail blaze around the country.
So that’s why, in honor of the 4th, we’ve put together a quick look back on the history of the trucking industry, so we can reflect and appreciate the freedom of our chosen profession while the rest of the USA celebrates freedom in general!
Long haul trucking came into being before the era of the automobile ever set into place. Stealing most of the thunder from freight train transport, heavy trucks had the distinct advantage of being able to go to locations without train stations. Of course, most of these trucks were horse-drawn, but there were a few early-model semi-trucks on the road in the 19th century.
Like today, they featured trailers used for valuable advertising space, often painted with logos and promotions – a trend that is still going strong.
The Interstate and the War
With the growth of the road system in the western world came the groundbreaking concept of interstate highways. Franklin Roosevelt had a vision for a “national inter-regional highway” system and he got the wheels turning, so to speak, on what would define US geography.
This was held up by a little matter known as World War II. Ironically, much like the first world war, the demand for medium and heavy duty vehicles gave a big boost to the industry of trucking, including making major brands known. In fact, we wouldn’t have some of our competitors, like Mack, at all without those wars. Even Henry Ford threw his hat in the ring.
In any sense, by the 50’s, the highway project was back on track, and the groundwork for building our impressive industry of long and short haul trucking had the foundation it needed to take off.
Now, of course the big moment for the industry was that fateful day in 1967 when some brilliant board member over at White Trucks created the Western Star division. White Western Stars hit the roads in style, overtaking competitors in municipal and heavy truck categories. The world of trucking quickly took notice.
Of course, it’s been a good while since we’ve dropped the “white” and became the Western Star brand we are today. But it’s important to remember when celebrating the great things you have now just where it all came from. And that’s how we look at the 4th.
Have a great holiday weekend and enjoy the freedom of hitting the road once more when Monday rolls back around!