Mr. Bruce from Campbell Express posts this truck and Fruehauf trailer......
Can any of my readers tell us if Fruehauf manufactured this trailer or was it from a specialty company. Thanks for any info. It's really neat!
From Michael Davis, Brentwood, Tn
Michael Davis & Johnny Cash promote Fruehauf
I started with Fruehauf in 1960 as an Office Mgr. Trainee in Miami, FL, and worked in Parts, Service, Sales, and Office, learning all facets of the business. I was promoted to Office Mgr. at 22 yrs. old and to a Branch Mgr. in Nashville, TN, at 29 (the youngest manager of 84 branches, at the time). After many successful years there, I started to see changes in the corporate structure and policies that reflected mismanagement (in my eyes) and I accepted an offer with a major commercial tire company, as V. Pres. of National Fleet Sales. It was a bitter-sweet move for me after 25 years; and I have always held my earlier years with Fruehauf as dear to my heart.
Thank you so much for your hard work in presenting this website of pictures and information. I will always give Fruehauf credit for my desire to maintain quality standards in whatever I do.
With best regards, Michael Davis Brentwood, TN
P.S. - I still have many Fruehauf advertising pieces, along with pictures of myself and country singer, Johnny Cash with a Fruehauf trailer. I worked with Mr. Cash (with Fruehauf's approval) putting together a Fruehauf promotion for special Fruehauf/Cash trucking songs, which the branches passed out -nationally. The truckers filled out registration slips for a drawing, in which Mr. Cash gave away a new trailer at the St. Louis Fair. More great memories of Fruehauf ..........
Thank you to George McLaine of ATHS in Canada. George sent me this photo and the following story.
Here's how a local rancher solved a problem. He needed a bridge to travel across a creek that was on his property . Rather that spend a lot of money on concrete , excavating and reconstruction he purchased two used Fruehauf 45' high boy's , removed the suspensions and dolly legs, then welded them together side by side and here is his new bridge. The trailers were built in the 1970s at the Fruehauf Branch here in Calgary. Thought you would get a kick out of this. I call it a bit of genius.
George McLaine, American Truck Historical Society, Canada
A Fruehauf Trailer exhibited at a rodeo
From Mike Martinez, Chestertown, MD
I was raised by a man who owned a trucking company. All he had was Fruehauf trailers. Flatbed, tank, refrigerated, van, dump. I helped change tires and springs and wheel seals and the like over the years. Do you remember when the Enduro refrigerated trailers were made? I'd say that was around 1985 or so. The older refrigerated trailers, some of the sides used to bulge and we would cut the fiberglass and then use epoxy to rid the bulge, if that makes sense. We had dump trailers that had Briggs & Stratton motors that would raise the trailer to unload. Only later did we use wet lines.
I may have some pictures I could share of old trailers. I'll look for them. It's kind of funny because the last of the original drivers, who started in 1955 and still drives, said it was International trucks, Fruehauf trailers, Firestone tires & Gulf oil that made up the company. That's all they used. Of course as time passed we acquired Timpte, Great Dane, Utility, Dorsey, Hawkeye-Eagle & East. But it was Fruehauf that we were loyal to. There was a dealer in Baltimore at Bush & Hamburg St.'s, Warner-Fruehauf that we would sometimes get parts from. Eventually there was another location closer in Smyrna, De. I still see one of the old salesmen, Al Mielke, from time to time. Hope all is well.
Mike Martinez Chestertown, MD
A Hobbs, "Fruehauf" Trailer customized for the movie
Smokey and the Bandit with Burt Reynolds
From Scott Schnarr, Lebanon, In
A trailer designed for the lumber industry
Fun trivia….. The trailer that Bandit and Snowman pulled in the Smokey and the Bandit movies was a Hobbs (Fruehauf) trailer…… highly customized, of course, but a Hobbs nonetheless….
One of my customers told me I should check out your website. Love it!
FYI, I have been working in several capacities in the trailer business for over 20 years, first at Wabash national, and now with Aurora Parts. We still look up old Fruehauf serial numbers every day and help customers find the right repair parts for their Fruehauf trailers.
I talk to people every day that are “old” Fruehauf guys from “back in the day”…. One fellow in Tulsa OK, still working in the industry, started with Hobbs Trailer (became Fruehauf) over 50 years ago!
I have always been interested in Fruehauf history. One of our Salesmen here started with Fruehauf back in 1972, and never left , stayed till the end then got picked up by Wabash National, and Aurora, still selling Fruehauf and ProPar (an old Fruehauf brand name). I have learned a lot from him, and even more from your website.
My Father Don Ottney Sr. was employed by Fruehauf Corp. for 45 years from 1944-1989. He started with the company in Toledo, Ohio with a gentleman by the name of Drex Lyons. (see photo below of Mr. Lyon) He held multiple positions with the Company, Service Manager, Salesman, Used Trailer Manager. He worked in Toledo, Rochester, NY and finally Columbus, Ohio.
I started my career with Fruehauf in 1965. First in the shop then on to Syracuse N,Y. until 1980 when I left the company to go to work for Great Dane Trailers. I was a member of the Fruehauf President's Club in 1977. By then all of the Fruehauf's were gone. I still have the cast model trailer sets from the 1950's and bring them out every Christmas. Fruehauf Corp and the Fruehauf family have always been near and dear to my heart. I haven't been entirely through the website yet but I've sincerely enjoyed reading the history. Best of Luck. Sincerely, Don Ottney
Dex Walter, Drex Lyon, and E.W. Robertson, branch managers, respectively at Detroit, Providence and Scranton receive trophies from Roy Fruehauf and W. J. Robinson, for highest standings in the sales in the Fruehauf field. Presentations were made at the sales convention in 1950
From Douglas Gaddis, Dallas, Texas
My name is Douglas C Gaddis. I am a retired long long time Fruehauf employee. I still suffer daily!! from the fall of Fruehauf. As a matter of FACT my heart bleeds to this very day about the fall of the Greatest Trailer Mfg. in the world and the truth is that it should have never never happened !!! Period.
I dropped out of high school at the young age of 15 to help support my parents. My Father had suffered a stroke and could no longer farm. He was a PURE DIRT FARMER and had no other source of help at the time. I had been working some odd jobs and I was told Fruehauf was looking for good workers. At this time I proceeded to apply. I honestly lied about my age for fear of not being hired . This can be verified as I have some records to prove it. I still have my original application somewhere in my possession. So for thirty five cents per hr . $.0.35 is correct for eight or nine hours per day.
Fruehauf Used Trailer Journal
The war was on and Trucking Cos. could not buy trailers they had to keep up what they had. There is not many people alive today that spent more of their lifetime with Fruehauf than me. I started out as a goffer, helper water boy YES water boy and I will explain that one later also. 11 years in the shop, parts,and office. asst. service mgr. parts mgr you name it I did it. Then things began to change for me and my career with Fruehauf. Freight Lines could buy new trailers and of course wanted to trade in the too short ,too old and badly obsolete trailers.
Then we had the beginning of the Used Trailer Capital of the world. It was FRUEHAUF and we made our presence known in this field. Who then at Dallas Fruehauf was qualified to head up this program. You guessed it none other than Doug Gaddis. With 11 yrs. under my belt and could build you a trailer from the ground up with a pencil. Yes pencil I knew the part numbers by heart. I could look at any trailer and give you the cost of repair to make it sellable and at a profit. Hence I could set a fair trade in allowance and back it up with the FACTS. No Branch Manager at Dallas would argue because our record was there in black and white .. For thirty nine yes 39 years I served proudly in this capacity. Very poor judgement by a few people let Fruehauf fall and those of us who helped make Fruehauf Great and without question the all time leader in the trailer industry suffer for it.
Doug Gaddis Dallas, Texas
The Fruehauf "Sport Cruiser"
Trailers built for earth moving and industry
From Bill Veit
I was with Fruehauf 28 years starting in May 1965 at the Home Office. At the time Fruehauf was well known in the Detroit area as a good company that if you worked hard you could be promoted from within. My first position was managing the executive garage wherein the top execs would arrive in the am. There were about 25 cars inside the parking area and I met them all and parked their cars. Also spent time getting the cars serviced at dealerships and driving execs to the airport/golf/lunch. Bill Grace was CEO then I often I worked weekends with the company limo driving Mr Grace and wife Sassy to events, dinner, golf, etc. Also was assigned to drive Jonny Grace to and from the country club now and then. He was about 12 and acted like he was a royal prince sitting in the rear of the limo never speaking. Mr. Grace always sat in the front with me.
After 6 months in the garage I was promoted to the sales dept as a sales order clerk. (think Mr Grace arranged this) Two years later promoted to a sales position in the Pro-Par parts division. Great training!. Then to Product Manager for flatbeds, tanks, dump trailers and worked closely with engineering/branches. Then Director of Truck Equipment Sales. In 1985 I was promoted to Phoenix Branch Manager. Great experience. After three years was promoted to the Fruehauf flag ship branch in Pittsburgh. 50-60 employees was a bit scary for me. But we did well and became Region Vice President in 1990 for the Southeast Region with 10 factory branches. Again, the Fruehauf story of promoting from within was not a fable. True, I promise that the Fruehauf years and life experiences were the best years of my life. But the sky was clouded with a failed leverage buyout of the company by the top 10 or so executives and debt was not manageable.
Left in 1994 for Polar Tank Trailer as V.P. Sales for six years then with Trailmobile as Region V.P. for ten years. Still in the trailer business after retiring with my company WRV Trailer Sales as a dealer in Michigan for Polar Tank. Trailers are still in my blood line after 48 years. Ruth, you have done a great job with this website and I have informed many good Fruehauf friends about it. I am quite proud to be an old Fruehauf'er!! Bill Veit
a Fruehauf Livestock Trailer
From Mac Ritchie - Freightliner SelecTrucks, Tampa Florida
I think that what you are doing here is a great service for the memory of not only your family's name, but also the remembrance of what was arguably the greatest name in American truck-trailer manufacturing, and now from your post I have learned "worldwide". Fruehauf in America was the maker of the widest and most diverse trailer product line ever assembled, a feat which still has not been equaled since Fruehauf left the US market.
Good luck with your project. I look forward to following it.
Mac Ritchie Freightliner SelecTrucks of Tampa
Fruehauf Trailers had one of the earliest uses of hydraulic lift-gates improving loading and unloading for their customers
In the 1930's Fruehauf created the first hydraulic lift gate which can be seen in action in these 2 photos
The bale of cotton is lowered automatically for the gathered audience
From Richard "Rick" Lathrop who is looking for info on Cadillac Gage Co.
Here is a query from one of our viewers who we probably can't help, but maybe some of you can?
Would your Fruehauf archives cover business dealings with the Cadillac Gage corporation? I am a researcher on the Cadillac Gage Corporation and in the mid-1960's the Fruehauf Corporation welded armored car bodies for them.
In fact the 1968 strike of workers delayed the delivery of armored cars to troops in Vietnam.