Tow Truck Design Evolution

Way back 1916, the first ever tow truck was created in Chattanooga, Tennessee by Ernest Holmes.

During that time, Holmes has increasing challenges to recover vehicles that were stuck. The conventional procedure of using ropes, tractors or horses, and blocks was the one being utilized. Yet, Holmes still insisted to find better ways of doing the process.

The birth of the first tow truck was originated from the 1913 Cadillac modified by Holmes. He fitted it by pairing swinging booms, hooks, pulleys, and chains to the back of the Cadillac. In order to recover vehicles accidentally stuck on the road, a 90-degrees swing was exhibited. This action led to formation of crane jib to be able to tow the stuck vehicle behind the Cadillac.

In the year 1917, a patent for Holmes’ first tow truck idea was filed. Subsequently, the Ernest Holmes Company was founded to build and market tow trucks. After few years, grandsons of Ernest namely Gerald Holmes and Bill Holmes, built the Century Wrecker Corporation. The foundation aimed to build hydraulic equipment in an affordable price which is commonly used today even at towing services san jose.

Tow Truck Design Modernization

Even if technological era arise, the principle of tow trucks remains the same over the years. Yet, the following innovations were forcedly adapted by the design of tow trucks:

  • Plastic front in combination with rear bumper bars
  • Automatic transmission
  • Front-wheel-drive
  • All-wheel-drive
  • Independent suspension

Moreover, the two wheels rolling do not have the ability to tow some vehicles with automatic-transmission without the danger of damage transmission. A dual-wheel dolly placed on each side of the wheels was the key to address this issue. On the other hand, in the aspect of heavy duty towing, the three- to five-axle vehicles penetrated the industry. Those tow trucks were paired with hydraulic booms and drum winches that are both heavy-duty.

The tilt tray type

The tilt tray tow truck is the most updated model in the recovery of light commercial vehicles inspired by different art styles and techniques. Tilting tray was incorporated which serves as a ramp where the towed vehicle can be winched. It is made of steel plate which provide lesser friction resistance the moment the wheels of towed vehicle cannot rotate. This is also beneficial in case hydraulic winch is required to load the towed vehicle into the tray.