A LITTLE TOW TRUCK HISTORY
THE FIRST TOW TRUCK:
Imagine the year 1915. The Model T Ford is a wonderful new invention. There aren't very many of them around yet, the roads are still rough and bumpy and drivers aren't very experienced. You are standing at the edge of Old Byrd's Mill Road just outside Chattanooga, Tennesse, when you see a Tin Lizzie (nickname for the Model T ) headed your way.
The driver, John Wiley jerks the wheel to avoid a bump, but he miscalculates and the car's new trajectory sends it careening down the opposite bank and into the Chickamauga Creek. Stunned, but safe, Mr. Wiley asks you to get help. You know that there is only one auto repair shop in Chattanooga and the owner, Mr.Holmes, is the only mechanic. Fast like the wind, you run to town and back to the river with help in no time. Attaching a rope to one end of the car, it takes Holmes and 6 other men, 8 hours to pull the car out of the river!
Worn out by the day's hard work, Holmes started thinking. He knew that the horseless carriage was becoming more popular. In fact, that's why he had opened his repair shop. Holmes needed a way to get the disabled cars to his shop so he wouldn't have to work on the side of the road in bad weather or in the dark.
Three months later Holmes had created the first tow truck, or should we say tow Cadillac? He bolted a tripod of poles onto the frame of a 1913 Cadillac, attached a pulley and ran a chain from the back. He patented his invention and started the first tow truck factory!
The factory was a success for decades and earned a worldwide reputation for quality. The factory supplied 7,238 tow trucks during World War II to all of the Allies around the world. Some of those trucks are still in use!
Today, you can find the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum in Chattanooga, just a few blocks from Holmes first repair shop. One of the most famous tow trucks on display is the Holmes W-45 with the Diamond T Chassis. This tow truck was used during World War II in the famous "Red Ball Express", a supply route from Normandy to Belgium that delivered provisions to General Patton's army. The holmes W-45 pulled out stuck vehicles and towed trucks out of the way. And even though it was built to pull 15 TONS , it would pull until something gave or broke off. The truck on display in the museum was actually used by the French army until 1973!
NOW THAT'S BUILT TO LAST!