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Fruehauf & Welke, Aug. Fruehauf; Fruehauf Trailer Co.
Pfent & Sons, 1886-1895, Roseville, Michigan; Fruehauf & Welke, 1895-1898; Detroit, Michigan; Aug. Fruehauf Blacksmithing, 1898-1899; Mt. Clemens, Michigan; Aug. Fruehauf Blacksmithing, 1899-1916; Detroit, Michigan; Fruehauf Trailer Co., 1916-1963; Detroit, Michigan; Fruehauf Trailer Corp., 1963-1996; Detroit, Michigan; Indianapolis, Indiana; Fruehauf Trailer of Canada Ltd., Weston, Ontario, Canada
Associated Firms
Fruehauf Trailer of Canada Ltd., Weston, Ontario, Canada; Fruehauf International Ltd.; FIL Partners; Fruehauf de Mexico, S.A. de C.V.; Fruehauf France S.A.; Fruehauf Trailer S.A., Industria e Comercio, Sao Paolo, Brazil; Fruehauf New Zealand; Ackermann-Fruehauf AG (Germany)

August C. Fruehauf (b. December 15, 1868 - d. May 16, 1930) founded the world’s best-known manufacturer of tractor-trailers. August and his 4 sons; Harvey C., Harry R., Roy A. and Andrew F. Fruehauf, pioneered such products such as refrigerated trailers, platform trailers, aluminum trailers, stainless-steel trailers, drop- frame semi-trailers and heavy-duty carryalls for tanks and heavy machinery. In 1950, Tide Magazine made reference to the trailer giant stating:

“To say it is the General Motors of the business understates the case.  Not only is Fruehauf the biggest firm in the field, it sells more than all the others put together.”

August Charles Fruehauf was born on December 15, 1868, in Fraser (aka Frazer), Erin Township, Macomb County, Michigan, one of eight sons and two daughters of Charles (b. Dec. 5, 1824 - d. Aug. 24, 1894) and Christine Susanna (Hoffmeyer – aka Christina Sophia; b. Mar. 21, 1835-d.Nov. 5, 1919) Fruehauf, both natives of Saxony. Charles Fruehauf came to America as an experienced blacksmith and machinist.

Fraser was a small farming village near Utica in Erin Township, Macomb County, Michigan and was located six miles southwest of Mt. Clemens and nineteen miles northwest of downtown Detroit.

A map of Fraser, dated 1897 shows that Charles had sold half of his farmland to his eldest son, Fred (aka Freiderich). The properties were located on Church Street (now Fruehauf Ave.) south of Main St. (now Fourteen Mile Rd.), Fraser.

The 1870 US Census lists the Fruehauf’s in Erin Township, Macomb County, Michigan, with Charles Sr.’s occupation being listed as ‘Engineer.’ The 1880 US Census lists Charles Sr.’s occupation as ‘Farmer & Engineer.’ At the time the household included: Fred (aka Frederich b.1856-d.1928); Charles (b. Sep. 1858); Edward (b.Feb. 1861); Henrietta M. (m. August Spader - b. April 22, 1863-d. June 5, 1925); William (b. 1865); August (b.1868); Whilhelmina (aka Emilie - b.1870); Louis (b.1872); Carl Heinrich George (b.Apr. 24, 1874); and Paul (b.1878) Fruehauf. Charles Fruehauf Jr. (b.1858) had moved to downtown Detroit where he worked as a blacksmith.

Young August attended Fraser’s St. John's school and in addition to working on the family’s small farm he earned extra money during the holidays by dipping just-harvested Christmas trees in barrels of different colored paint, a practice common with the German immigrants of his community. When he completed his secondary education in 1884 August took an entry-level position at the industrial sawmill of Moffat & Eatherly, where his father worked as the mill’s engineer.

Moffat & Eatherly ’s sawmill was not your typical small-town mill, being a large industrial enterprise located on the banks of the Detroit River between Dubois & Chene streets, on the same site where the Chene Park Amphitheater stands today. The sawmill was established in 1850 by Hugh Moffat, who was better known as ‘Honest Hugh Moffat,’ two-term (1872-1875) Mayor of the City of Detroit. A native of Scotland where he was born in 1810, Moffat came to America in 1834, and after a short period of residence in Albany, N.Y. and Toronto, Ontario, Canada he relocated to Detroit. From 1837 onwards he followed his trade of carpenter and builder, eventually becoming the leading contractor in the building industry of the City. In 1850 he was joined by another native of Scotland named Florence D. Eatherly (aka Etherly) who after serving as an apprentice assisted him in the erection of the Biddle House, St. Paul’s church and other prominent buildings which included the self-named Moffat Block.

In 1852 Moffat built a large saw mill on the river front of the James Compo farm between Dubois & Chene streets after which Eatherly became more closely associated with Moffat as his clerk, bookkeeper and general manager. In 1870 the firm commenced construction on the Moffat Block, a four-story brick office building located on the SW corner of Fort and Griswold Sts., and soon after Eatherly became Moffat’s junior partner in the style of Moffat & Eatherly, taking care of the firm’s affairs while the senior partner served as Mayor of Detroit. In 1878, Moffat’s son Addison joined the firm and the firm was renamed Moffat, Eatherly & Co. After Moffat’s 1884 passing Eatherly assumed control of the firm, which retained the former firm name until the business was sold to the Delta Lumber Company in 1895.

While working at the sawmill he developed an interest in working with metal and upon reaching his majority began a blacksmith's apprenticeship with the firm of Pfent & Sons of Roseville, Michigan, a northern suburb of Detroit. Pfent’s factory was located at the northeast corner of Gratiot Ave. and Girard Rd. (now the intersection of Gratiot Ave. and Nine Mile Rd.)

Anthony Pfent (b. Sept. 1838 in Germany) was a well-known Roseville wagon maker who had emigrated from Germany/France in 1851. His wife was named Margaret and their children included Margaret P.(b. Oct 28, 1868); Anthony Jr. (b. Nov. 1869); Emma (b. May 1876); George (b.Aug. 1878); Edward (b. Apr. 1882); and Joseph (b. Jul. 1884) Pfent. The 1870 US Census lists the family as residents of Grosse Point (later the home of Henry Ford) under the surname of Fent. The 1900 US Census lists them as residents of Gratiot township, Wayne County, Michigan.

While running errands for Pfent, Fruehauf met Louise H. Schuchard, who like her sweetheart was born (on Jul. 1, 1870) in Erin Township, Macomb County, Michigan to German immigrants. Her parents were both from the Landgrafschaft Hessen-Darmstadt (landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt), Germany; Gustavus Phillip Frederick Schuchard was born in Ulrichstein and Magdalena (Spengler) Schuchard in Worms.

August and Louise were married on October 19, 1890, at St. Peter's Lutheran Church which was situated at the northwest corner of Gratiot and 9-Mile Rd (current address is 23000 Gratiot Ave., Eastpointe, Mich.) and to the blessed union was born five children — four sons and a daughter: Andrew Ferdinand (b. April 1892-d.Dec. 4, 1965), Harvey Charles (b. Dec. 15 1893-d. Oct. 14, 1968), Harry Richard (b. June 8, 1896-d. Apr. 29,1962); Roy August (b. Oct. 1, 1909-d. Oct. 1965); and Myrtle (m. Gerald W. Chamberlin - b. Oct 1899-d. Feb.21, 1976) Fruehauf.

In 1895 Fruehauf, who was now a journeyman blacksmith, opened a small blacksmith and wagon works in the heart of downtown Detroit at 425 Grand River Ave., in partnership with William L. Welke. Born in Germany in Sept. 1870, Welke was a trained carpenter who emigrated with his young wife Henriette in 1892. The partner’s listing in the 1896-1897 Detroit Directory being:

“Fruehauf & Welke (August Fruehauf, Wm. L. Welke), carriagemakers, 425 Grand River Ave.”

“August C. Fruehauf (Fruehauf & Welke), h. 427 Grand River Ave.”

The partnership was dissolved in 1897 when Welke took a more lucrative job in the carpentry department of a Detroit brewery. Fruehauf relocated to Mt. Clemens, Michigan, 25 miles north of Detroit, establishing his own smithworks and wagon repair shop; the move confirmed by his listing in the 1898 Detroit Directory:

“August C. Fruehauf – removed to Mt. Clemens, Mich.”

A tragic fire destroyed his Mt. Clemens blacksmith's shop during 1898, in which his wife suffered serious injuries, and once she recovered the Fruehaufs moved back to Detroit, establishing a new shop at 1404 Gratiot Ave, near the corner of Concord Ave., his listing in the 1899 Detroit Directory being:

“August C. Fruehauf, blksmith, 1404 Gratiot Av, h.1067 Concord Av.”

The 1900 US Census lists the Fruehauf family at 1067 Concord Ave. (corner of Gratiot), Detroit, with August’s occupation being listed as ‘blacksmith’. Fruehauf’s early businesses (1375-1377 Gratiot, 1384 Gratiot, and 1404 Gratiot) were all located 3 to 4 blocks south of Gratiot Ave.’s intersection with E. Grand Blvd. which was approximately 2 miles northeast of the city center.

His listing in the 1900-1902 Detroit Directories follow:

“August C. Fruehauf, blksmith, 1404 Gratiot Av, h.1067 Concord Av.”

Another fire destroyed the 1404 Gratiot Ave. shop and he relocated across the street to a converted feed store, the 1903-1904 Detroit Directories listing him (and his older brother Charles) as follows:

“August C. Fruehauf, horseshoer, 1384 Gratiot Av, h.1037 Canton Av.”

“Charles F. Fruehauf, blksmith, bds.1037 Canton Av.”

Charles had also become a blacksmith and for a number of years he worked alongside his younger brother in the Gratiot Ave shop, leaving in 1905 to take a position with a firm located in downtown Detroit near his new home at 515 Junction Av. (now Junction St.). Pictures of the two-story wooden structure at 1384 Gratiot show various signage, the first being ‘AUG. FRUEHAUF – GENERAL BLACKSMITHING’ – a later iteration being ‘AUG. FRUEHAUF – MANFR – TRUCKS – WAGONS’, his listing in the 1905-1906 Detroit Directory being:

“August C. Fruehauf, horseshoer, 1384 Gratiot Av, h.1037 Canton Av.”

From 1905-1912 Fruehauf was listed in the Detroit Directories under ‘wagon maker’, ‘horseshoer’ and ‘blacksmith’. A Detroit neighbor recalled that Louise Fruehauf found time to help her husband despite their growing family. One of her shop chores was painting Fruehauf wagons. “One might say,” the neighbor continued, “she was also Fruehauf's first purchasing agent. His long hours didn't allow Fruehauf time, so she did the shopping.”

The 1912 Detroit Directory reveals that Andrew, his eldest son, was now working for the Ford Motor Co:

“Andrew F. Fruehauf, clk Ford Motor Co., bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

“August C. Fruehauf, blksmith, 1384 Gratiot Av, h.1037 Canton Av.”

In 1912 Fruehauf moved across the street to 1375-1377 Gratiot, a much larger building that had enough space to house 60 horses. His other two eldest sons, Harry and Harvey, were also included, and Andrew’s occupation was now ‘chemist’ (employer unknown) - their listings in the 1913 Detroit Directory being:

“Andrew F. Fruehauf, chemist, bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

“August C. Fruehauf, blksmith, 1375-1377 Gratiot Av, h.1037 Canton Av.”

“Harry R. Fruehauf, hlpr, bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

“Harvey C. Fruehauf, clk. Allyne Brass Fdry Co., bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

The year 1914 was the turning point in Fruehauf's career. In the middle of that year Frederick M. Sibley Jr., a Detroit lumberman, asked Fruehauf to “rig up a contraption to hook onto a Model T roadster to haul a boat for a 600-mile trip to a lake in Upper Michigan.” The result was Fruehauf's first semitrailer, a sturdy 2-wheeler with a pole that acted as both a tongue and a brake. The trailer worked so well that Sibley ordered other trailers for heavier loads. Within nine months Fruehauf's business tripled.

According to Harvey Fruehauf Jr., grandson of August, the Sibley Paint people of Detroit asked August if he could build a trailer to haul Mr. Sibley's boat to the Flats near Harsens Island. Mr. Sibley wanted to hitch his trailer to his Ford automobile. When Henry Ford learned of this, he announced that the guarantee on the car was not valid if the car was used to pull a trailer. This was the first trailer made by August Fruehauf.

Fruehauf’s listings in the 1914 Detroit Directory follow:

“Andrew F. Fruehauf, chemist, bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

“August C. Fruehauf, blksmith, 1375-1377 Gratiot Av, h.1037 Canton Av.”

“Harry R. Fruehauf, blksmith, bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

“Harvey C. Fruehauf, chf. clk. Aluminum Casting Co., bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

“Sophia Fruehauf (wid Carl), bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

1915 Detroit Directory:

“Andrew F. Fruehauf, chemist, bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

“August C. Fruehauf, blksmith, 1375-1377 Gratiot Av, h.1037 Canton Av.”

“Harry R. Fruehauf, painter, bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

“Harvey C. Fruehauf, cashr, bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

“Sophia Fruehauf (wid Carl), bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

Although two of August’s four sons, Andrew and Harvey, elected to pursue their own careers outside of the family business, both were eventually drawn back to the fold. Harvey completed his secondary education at the age of 13, taking a position with the Allyne Brass Foundry Co. in the firm’s shipping department. He took night courses in accounting and business law at the Detroit Technical School and after several promotions, became Allyne’s time clerk, with the additional duty of assembling figures and data that would determine costs on jobs. By the time Allyne was reorganized as the Aluminum Casting Co., he was making a $25 per week, a significant amount in those days.

In his leisure time, Harvey had been assisting his father by taking care of Fruehauf’s bookkeeping and accounts receivable, which ultimately became a full-time job in 1915. Almost immediately he began placing an established price on the jobs that came into the shop, basing the price on actual cost of materials and labor plus a reasonable profit, and within nine months the net worth of the business was tripled.

Harvey started the venture's advertising program when he persuaded his father (aka 'the Governor' within the firm) to run a $28 advertisement in The American Lumberman, the leading trade periodical of the day, which resulted in $22,000 in orders during 1915.

One of their customers, Frederic M. Sibley, asked the Fruehaufs to devise and construct some piece of equipment that would enable him to transport a boat from Detroit to a summer place in upper Michigan. Together Sibley and Mr. Fruehauf designed a two-wheel vehicle with a front-end pole that would act as a pulling tongue when bolted to the rear end of Sibley’s Model-T Ford. Impressed with the performance of this first 'trailer,' Sibley commissioned the Fruehaufs to build a similar rig, but with a platform, which he could use in moving materials about his lumber yard and in making deliveries. In 1916 the Fruehaufs, despite considerable opposition from truck manufacturers and with only $500 in the bank, officially entered the business of manufacturing trailers for use with automotive vehicles.

The family's listing in the 1916 Detroit Directory follows:

“Amelia Fruehauf (wid of Charles C.), h.515 Junction Av.”

“Andrew F. Fruehauf, chemist, bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

“August C. Fruehauf, bodymkr, 1375-1377 Gratiot Av, h.1037 Canton Av.”

“Harry R. Fruehauf, pnter, bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

“Harvey C. Fruehauf, bkpr, bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

“Myrtle Fruehauf, clk, bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

“Sophia Fruehauf (wid Carl), bds. 1037 Canton Av.”

Although Fruehauf is often credited with building the first semi-trailer, the credit must be shared with a number of other individuals who all arrived at the invention in the half-decade that preceded the First World War. The first patent relating to the fifth wheel hitch, whose invention made the semi-trailer practical, was awarded to Herman G. Farr, who at the time was an engineer of the Knox Automobile Company of Springfield, Massachusetts. Farr and another Knox engineer named Charles H. Martin, had been experimenting with various types of fifth-wheel arrangements in connection with their positions at the Knox Automobile Company, who were manufacturing a 3-wheeled tractor designed to tow existing heavy trailers and fire apparatus.

Farr applied for a patent on his fifth wheel on June 4, 1915, being awarded US Pat No. 1169717 on Jan 25, 1916 in partnership with Charles H. Martin and in late 1915 the pair formed the Martin Rocking Fifth Wheel Co., in order to better exploit the device, the January 6, 1916 issue of the Automobile reporting:

“Martin Rocking Fifth Wheel Co. Organized in Springfield

“Springfield, Mass., Dec. 31 — The Martin Rocking Fifth Wheel Co. has taken over the business and the patent rights of C. H. Martin, this city. The officers of the new corporation are C. H. Martin, president, Adolf A. Geisel, treasurer and H. G. Farr, secretary. Mr. Geisel, who will have the general management of the business, has been connected with the automobile industry for the past fifteen years.

“The tractor-semi-trailer business had grown to the point where it was necessary to take in additional capital in order to supply the fifth wheel connections as fast as they were ordered. In addition to making fifth wheels in different sizes—from one that makes a Ford roadster into a 1-ton tractor to one that makes a 5-ton truck into a 10-ton tractor—the new company plans to make semi-trailers for the Ford size.”

In fact Fruehauf became the Detroit distributor for the Martin Rocking Fifth Wheel Co., and prominently featured Martin fifth-wheels in their early advertising, the text from a 1918 brochures follows:

“In the use of semi-trailers some compensation is necessary for the uneveness of the road. Fruehauf Trailers are built for the secerest service and not one point has been overlooked that bears upon the efficiency of them. We strongly recommend the Martin Rocking Fifth Wheel. It is well built, simple in action and can be easily attached or detached in a few minutes. By the use of this device short turns can be made. It forms a secure footing of the trailer to the tractor. It adds little to the cost of the equipment and does much to make the use of the Fruehauf Trailer practicable under all conditions.

“Martin Rocking Fifth Wheel Prices (includes upper and lower units):

4-ton capacity $65.00
6-ton capacity $85.00
10-ton capacity $110.00

“When more than one trailer is used in conjunction with a motor truck, it is necessary to equip each additional trailer with the upper part of the Fifth Wheel. Price for 4 and 6 ton capacity $20.00 per trailer; 10 ton capacity, $25.00 per trailer.”

Although they had yet to break into the national trailer market Fruehauf was becoming well-known for their platform trailers in and around Detroit. The November 2, 1916 issue of Motor Age includes a detailed article on the “Rapid Growth of the Trailer Industry”, stating:

“The history of the trailer industry goes back several years, Knox being the first concern to take it up seriously with its three wheel tractor design now so familiar all over the country. The Knox pioneering was done by C.H. Martin, at that time with the Knox organization and now president of his own company which manufactures a fifth wheel device for trailer attachment and small trailers. Following the early Knox development other work was taken up in different sections so that today an industry is with us an industry working for its own self-control and an industry that has a useful future ahead of it.”

By 1916 Fruehauf and various other, better-known, firms were manufacturing truck trailers in three varieties; two-wheel trailers, semi-trailers and four-wheel trailers. Motor Age provides the details:

“The two wheel trailer has the load balanced on its axle. The semi-trailer also uses two wheels but the load is not balanced over its axle, rather the front end of the load rests on the tractor vehicle, whether that be a separate tractor (as in the Knox) or a motor truck. This semi-trailer type is that design brought out by Knox and is now manufactured by many other concerns. The four wheel trailer has a large possible field of utility and can be used in practically any service. It can be made in wheelbase lengths to meet conditions; in fact it is flexible in all load carrying respects. Four wheel trailers are at present found in all kinds of industries such as road construction, breweries, motor car factories, general transportation lines, foundry work, lumber, tobacco industries, etc.”

The same issue (November 2, 1916) of Motor Age provided a brief description of major players at that time, which did not yet include Fruehauf who was still a minor player at the time:

“C. H. Martin, president of the Martin Rocking Fifth Wheel Co., which manufactures semi-trailers for Ford cars and a rocking fifth-wheel device, states his company has 400 semi-trailers in use at present and approximately 800 fifth-wheel attachments, all of which has been done since March, 1916. The work is being done by contract, the bodies being built by different wagon factories all over the country.

“The Troy Wagon Works Co. started its trailer development movement in 1911, testing its vehicles for 2 years before marketing them. To date 500 installations have been made in this country and many in foreign lands. These trailers are used on more than fifty different makes of trucks. These trailers range from 1% to 5-ton capacity and have reversible and nonreversible features.

“The Watson Wagon Co. has built approximately 500 of its trailers and has capacity today for fifty a week. The greater part of its work is building semi-trailers to be used with the Watson tractor. Watson trailers are used most in connection with repeated hauls over distances of 3 to 10 miles. In this service the company claims that cost per ton mile can be reduced approximately one-half.

“The Detroit Trailer Co., Inc., claims to have produced 2,000 trailers to date and to have capacity for two four-wheel trailers and four two-wheel trailers per day. Its trailers range in capacity from 1 1/2, 3 and 5 to 7 tons.

“The Miami Trailer Co., marketing light trailers with capacity from 800 to 1,250 pounds, builds these in two-wheel and four-wheel types. The company has built up to date over 2,000 trailers and has factory capacity for 200 per month. The company claims that the extra cost of operating a trailer does not exceed 10 per cent of the original cost.

“The Warner Mfg. Co., which began in the trailer field manufacturing light types, will be ready in a few weeks to make delivery on its heavy types with such capacities as 2 1/2, 4 1/2 and 7 tons. Its light trailers have found varied use in connection with passenger cars. Light trailers have a multiplicity of uses with farmers, dairy firms, etc.

“Sechler & Co. began construction in the early part of 1915 and started work during the present year. The company has factory facilities for an output of fifty a day. Models of all kinds are manufactured, with capacities from 1,250 pounds up. These trailers are of the four-wheel type, and suitable for all types of bodies and all kinds of service.

“Fox Bros. & Co. report having manufactured 200 trailers to date and to have a capacity of five per day. The trailer is a two-wheel design, intended for attachment to passenger cars. It has a capacity of 1,200 pounds.”

In 1917 Andrew Fruehauf, who had recently married (to Alma Schmide, daughter of Charles and Anna Schmide) was drafted, serving overseas in the US Army until War’s end at which time he joined his brothers at the family’s wagon works which began using the Fruehauf Trailer Co. moniker in 1917, their listing in the 1917 Detroit Directory being:

“August C. Fruehauf, (Fruehauf Trailer Co.), 1371-1377 Gratiot Av, h.534 Fischer Av.”

“Harry R. Fruehauf, pnter, bds. 534 Fischer Av.”

“Harvey C. Fruehauf, bkpr, bds. 534 Fischer Av.”

“Fruehauf Trailer Co. (August C. Fruehauf), 1371-1377 Gratiot Av.”

Harvey also served as Fruehauf’s first salesman, going out and getting orders for trailers which the firm’s small crew (his father, uncle, younger brothers and a handful of employees) struggled to fill. With sales reaching $150,000 annually, a local newspaper reported, “the blacksmith shop literally began bulging at its bay windows with workmen and trade.” During 1918 it became apparent that a larger facility was necessary as the Gratiot Ave. plant had no room for further expansion. To meet the financial requirements of this need, the Fruehaufs officially incorporated the Fruehauf Trailer Company on February 27, 1918, with an authorized capitalization of $108,000, with August C. Fruehauf as president and Harvey C. Fruehauf, vice-president and general manager.

The trailer company provided a complete listing of its officers in the 1918 Detroit Directory:

“Fruehauf Trailer Co. (August C. Fruehauf, pres and treas; Harvey C. Fruehauf, v-pres and gen mgr; Earl L. Vosler, sec and sales mgr) mfrs auto trucks and trailers, 1371-1377 Gratiot Av.”

Harvey’s duties by this time had become so extensive that he no longer had time for selling. He, therefore, began building up a sales organization, first training the salesmen, and soon thereafter he began setting up distributorships. The first trailers, designed for use in the transport of lumber, were manufactured under the trade name Hercules. However, within three months the company adopted the trade name, Fruehauf Trailers, and that designation has since been applied to all trailers manufactured by the company.

The firm’s main line was its lumber trailer, which by that time made up the majority of the firm’s sales. Soon afterwards a second Fruehauf trailer model was designed for use by wholesale grocers, and shortly thereafter a third which was designed specifically for use by milk producers and distributors.

Business was so good that three months after its incorporation Fruehauf was recapitalized from $108,000 to $150,000, the April 1918 issue of American Builder announcing:

“Fruehauf Trailer Company Enlarges

“Capital stock of the Fruehauf Trailer Company of Detroit, manufacturers of semi-trailers of one to ten ton capacities, has been increased to $150,000 and the following officers elected: President and treasurer, A.C. Fruehauf; vice president and general manager, Harvey C. Fruehauf; secretary and sales manager, E.L. Vosler.  Production of trailers has been doubled during the last two months and the dealer organization is now being enlarged.”

Harvey also sent out display ads and press releases for placement in local newspapers by the firm's distributors. A sample release from November of 1918 extolls the advantages of the truck-trailer (in a roundabout way):

"Transportation Is A Big Problem Now

"'Transportation has long since become a science - to be studied with extreme care,' says H.C. Fruehauf, general manager of the Fruehauf Trailer Company of Detroit, 'The railroads are continuously promoting methods to reduce the costs of haulage, and if all business men would coldly calculate their own particular methods, they could save thousands of dollars for themselves.'

"'Many times in the history of railroad building millions of dollars have been spent on a grade or a bridge or in straightening out an irregular piece of track, all with the view of cutting the costs of trasnportation. In every section of our great country, road workers are laboring strenuously to build up a system of highways that will in the end reduced transportation costs.'

"'It is a well-known fact that everything we use in our commercial or domestic life has to be transported from the place of its prodcution to the point of consumption. Therefore, it is readily understood that transportation is the basis of all costs.'

"'How to reduce these costs has been the problem of man for ages and will continue until the end of the world. When the motor truck entered the field of commercialism it demonstrated that it could so greatly lower the cost of transportation over its predecessor, the horse, as to cause its universal adoption.'

"'Before the advent of the motor vehicle, brains and genius were content to let the problem rest and devote their energy toward other things, but when the gas engine revolutionized the modes of travel, engineers and scientists turned toward the problem of transportation. Thus we find a motor vehicle that is developed to a high state of efficiency and capable of hauling a huge load at a rapid rate across the country at a nominal cost per ton-mile.'

"'American genius is never satisfied with its handiwork and with the ultimate development of the motor truck to a stage that rendered it efficient under all conditions, ad discovery was laid bare that compelled attention.'

"'The fact discovere was not a new one, but it had been overlooked in the enthusiasm of success, and when the idea was firmly pressed home it brough out conclusive evidence that the truck could pull more than it could carry. To utilize this additional power being wasted was but a short step toward the development of the trailer.'

"'The cost of operation of a motor truck is not perceptibly increased with the use of trailers, yet its efficiency is doubled and trebled -  afurther step in lowering the cost of trasnportation.'"

In 1919 Fruehauf sales rose to $302,000 and Fruehauf's chief engineer, Ernest F. Hartwick (b.April 27, 1887-d.April 6, 1948), introduced an improved manual fifth wheel coupler and trailer jack that provided Fruehauf with their own patented hitching system, which gradually replaced the third-party systems they had been getting from the Martin Rocking Fifth-Wheel Co.Fruehauf's listing in the 1919 Detroit Directory follows:

“Fruehauf Trailer Co. (August C. Fruehauf, pres and treas; Harvey C. Fruehauf, v-pres; Earl L. Vosler, sec ), 1371-1377 Gratiot Av.”

Hartwick's manual coupler introduced wheeled jacks that could be raised and lowered manually, allowing a single teamster to rapidly connect and disconnect a trailer. Also introduced in late 1919 was the Fruehauf reversible 4-wheel trailer which permitted the trailer operator to pull the vehicle from either end.

Advertising in the national lumber trades helped push the volume of the firm to $700,000, on the slogan: “A horse can pull more than he can carry — so can a motor truck.” The overtaxed Gratiot Ave. plant was finally abandoned at the end of the year and the firm moved into their new facility which was constructed at the intersection of Harper Ave. (10940 Harper) and the DT Railroad, their listing in the 1920 Detroit Directory being:

“Fruehauf Trailer Co. (August C. Fruehauf, pres and treas; Harvey C. Fruehauf, v-pres; Earl L. Vosler, sec ), Harper Av. and DTRR.”

About this time, the van-type trailer was introduced, and soon afterward the Fruehauf hydraulic lift gate, a device which allowed a single teamster to load and unload large and heavy objects from ground level to the truck bed (or vice-versa) without assitance.  Fruehauf also introduced heavy-duty ground-hugging carryalls which allowed heavy goods and machinery of up to 35 tons to be transported with ease.

On January 3, 1920 Harvey, August C. Fruehauf’s second-oldest son, married Angela Stewart Peck (b. February 11, 1892-d.1980). To the blessed union was born 3 children, two daughters and a son. In 1920 Myrtle Fruehauf, August's only daughter, married Gerald Wilkenson ‘Jerry’ Chamberlin, son of George Erwin Chamberlin and Adeline Cosford of New York and to the blessed union was born 2 children, Donald and Joy Chamberlin. Although Myrtle never held a management postion with the firm, her husband Jerry served in a number of executive positions during his career with the firm.

The first Fruehauf factory branch was opened in 1921, and by the end of the decade Fruehauf had established satellites in every  major metropolitan area of the country. AT about the same time Harry had taken charge of the firm's growing purchasing department and in 1923 his brother Harvey created a finance department which also handled installment sales for the firm's growing list of distributors.

On November 24, 1923 Harry R. Fruehauf  married Vera E. Berns, the daughter of the well-known Detroit barber Andrew C. and Ida (Franeke) Berns. To the blessed union was born a son, Harry Richard Fruehauf, Jr. who later served as manager of the Fruehauf Co.’s factory sales and service depot in Detroit.

The early 1920s also saw the birth of Fruehauf's first ‘refrigerated’ trailer body which was earmarked for use by milk and ice cream manufacturers and haulers. After the cargo was loaded into the4 and 6 ton units, a trap door on the roof of the van would be opened to allow pulverized ice and salt to enter through spouts keeping the cargo cold.

In the mid-Twenties Ernest F. Hartwick, Fruehauf’s first chief engineer, was succeeded by Frederick M. Reid (b. April 18, 1900), who in 1926 introduced the automatic semi-trailer which allowed a trailer to be coupled and the uncoupled mechanically by the power of the tractor's engine. Another useful invention was the drop-frame tank semi-trailer which enabled haulers to transport gasoline and oil more efficiently and economically.

Sales reached $3.8 million in 1929, and August handed the day-to-day control of the company to his son Harvey. At the July, 1929 meeting of Fruehauf's Board of Directors August became chairman of the board, Harvey C., president; Harry R., vice-president and director of purchases; and August C. Fruehauf treasurer. Earl L. Vosler became 2nd vice-president; Gerald W. Chamberlin, 3rd vice-president and director of sales; and Roy W. Jacobs, secretary and assistant treasurer.

The patriarch of the Fruehauf family died in his home at Grosse Pointe, Michigan, on May 16, 1930, approximately ten months after retiring - the June, 1930 issue Autobody declaring him 'father of the automobile trailer':


“August C. Fruehauf, generally known as the "father of the automobile trailer," died in Detroit on May 11, at the age of 62. He had seemed as vigorous and strong as ever up to the end of last year but since December had been confined to his home and unable to give any attention to business. He was born in 1868 at Fraser, Mich., and had been identified with the transportation filed for more than 35 years. In 1895 he opened a small shop for the manufacture of wagons on Gratiot Avenue in Detroit, and continued the business of building heavy duty, horse-drawn vehicles until the coming of the motor truck displaced the horse.”

Harvey continued August’s tradition of innovation, introducing the tandem axle in the early 1930’s. Trailer lengths and heights were increased, and the larger payloads brought greater profits. Even the Depression did not harm the company; since trailers were so practical and economical, the demand for them remained healthy. The company next introduced a “frameless” van which was much lighter but very durable; this satisfied the trailer weight restrictions of states where Fruehauf’s heavier trailers could not go.

Fruehauf's listing in the 1931 Detroit Directory list all of the firm's officers for the first time:

“Fruehauf Trailer Co., Harvey C. Fruehauf, pres; Harry R. Fruehauf, vice-pres-sec; Earl L. Vosler, vice-pres-treas.; Gerald W. Chamberlain, vice-pres and director of sales; Roy W. Jacobs, Asst Treas. Mfrs Automotive Trailers, 10940 Harper Ave., Tel Whittier 2410.”

As early as 1932 Harvey C. Fruehauf foresaw the need for coordination between railroads and trucking companies, the following quote appeared in B.C. Forbes' nationally syndicated column of December 18,1932:

"One of these days progressive railway leaders will revolt against tradition and will co-ordinate rail and motor operations, combining all the good features found in motor and rail movements, in the great benefit of their customers."

A Chicago businessman named J.L. Keeshin put Fruehauf's ideas into practice during 1935, the September, 26, 1935 issue of the Oak Park Leaves (Chicago) reporting:

"The Keeshin Plan is to coordinate with the railways. Trailers will be used and they will be loaded on railway cars for long hauls, enabling railways to handle door-to-door freight. The Chicago Tribune on Monday reported expansion of the business in part as follows:

"The Keeshin Transcontinental Freight Lines has placed orders for trucking equipment costing about $1,250,000 in the last few weeks in connection with its expansion in the motor trucking industry.

"Orders for 200 trailers were placed with the Fruehauf Trailer company in Detroit. Trailer bodies and springs were bought from the Mariemont Manufacturing company of Chicago. In the last two week, MR. Keeshin saids, orders for 130 trucks were divided among the International Harvester, White and Ford companies.

"Keeshin also disclosed that plans are now being made for a combination rail and truck service which will give fifthe morning delivery from Chicago to the Pacific coast, as compared with present seventh day delivery."

In 1933 Fruehauf partnered with the Dow Chemical Co. in the construction of a small batch of automobile transport trailers for Detroit's White Star Lines. The trailers were built using DowMetal, a proprietary alloy that was not only stronger, but one-third lighter than aluminum. Developed at the end of the First World War, DowMetal was widely promoted for aviation uses although it failed to find favor in the automobile and truck manufacturing industry due to its significent cost disadvantages over steel and aluminum.

Fruehauf's listing in the 1935 Detroit Directory follows:

“Fruehauf Trailer Co., Harvey C. Fruehauf, pres; Harry R. Fruehauf, vice-pres-sec-director of purchases; Earl L. Vosler, vice-pres-treas.; Gerald W. Chamberlain, vice-pres and director of sales; Wm. C. Hanway, Treas.; Roy W. Jacobs, Asst Treas. Mfrs Automotive Trailers, 10940 Harper Ave., Tel Whittier 2410.”

On November 30, 1935, August's youngest son, Roy A. Fruehauf, married Catherine Meacham and to the blessed union was born four children: Catherine Gail, Mary Carolyn, Roy Lawrence and William Meacham Fruehauf.

During the mid-to-late '30s and early '40s Fruehauf developed a well-earned anti-union reputation due to management's dealings with the A. F. of L. (American Federation of Labor) Union, which represented a large portion of the firm's workers in Detroit. So brazen was Fruehauf's disdain for its employees that management hired Pinkerton's private dectectives to infiltrate the Union, one of which was so-well-entrenched that he was elected treasurer of the Union Local. Even when the plot was discovered, Fruehauf faced little-to-no retribution for its anti-union activities.

That all changed in July of 1935 when the recently-passed National Labor Relations Act went into effect at which time a complaint was filed with the NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) who decided to make an example of the trailer maker.

Herbert Little's syndicated Scripps-Howard column, dated November 5, 1935, announced that the NLRB had decided to take up the case:

"Labor Board in First Case

"Washington - Nov. 5 - The three members of the National Labor Relations Board will convene tomorrow to take evidence and pass judgement on the board's first automobile case.

"By deciding to take original jurisdiction instead of letting a regional director hear the Fruehauf Trailer Co. case, the board has picked the automobile industry for the second
leading test of the Wagner Labor Act in the courts.

"Two complaints have been issued. The first charged discriminatory discharge of six members of an A. F. of L. union, from July 5 to July 15. The Wagner act was signed July 5. Violations of two of its unfair practice provisions, forbidding interference with employees' rights to join labor organizations and discrimination against employes because of union affiliations, were charged by the board after inves­tigation. The second case made similar charges in connection with the discharge on Oct. 10 of J.L. Peterson, a sub-foreman who had been in the company’s employ more than eight years. The board has consolidated the two cases for hearing."

The National Labor Relations Act - aka the Wagner Act, named for its sponsor, Sen. Robert F. Wagner, of New York, which went into effect on July 5, 1935, reads:

"The Labor Relations Act: Entitled 'Act to promote equality of bargaining power between employers and employes, to diminish the causes of labor disputes.'

"It created the National Labor Relations Board to prevent 'unfair labor practices,' to hear complaints of employees wishing to hold secret elections among employees, and to prosecute defiant employers in the federal courts.

"It provides that representatives elected for collective bargaining by a majority of employees shall be the exclusive representatives of all employees for bargaining as to wages, hours and other conditions of employment.

"It prohibits as 'unfair labor practices' any interference with, restraint of, coercion of employees in their guaranteed right to organize and bargain collectively.

"It also prohibits any domination or interference with formation of any labor organization, or contribution of financial or other support to it.

"It makes unlawful the act of any employer who refuses to bargain collectively or engages in any type of discrimination designed to discourage labor union membership or punish complaining employes."

The November 7, 1935 AP Newsire carried the news that Fruehauf'vice-president Earl L. Vosler would neither confirm nor deny the allegations:

"Refuses To Comment on Union Spy Charge

"Detroit - Nov. 7 -(AP)- Earl L. Vosler, vice-president of the Fruehauf Trailer Co., created a storm today in the proceedings of the National Labor Relations Board against the company by refusing to say whether the company has hired detectives to spy out union men among its employees.

"The proceedings, which are being followed closely by both industrial and labor interests, grew out of the charge the company had fired seven men because they joined the United Automobile Workers federal labor union."

The following day Vosler returned to the hearing and admitted that Furehauf had in fact "hired a private detective as under-cover-man to join a union and mingle with the union men." The union charged that six of their members were told to quit the union and were discharged on their refusal.

The NLRB issued a 'Cease and Desist' order requiring that Fruehauf put an immediate halt to to alleged violations of the Wagner Act's 'unfair labor practices' section, the news was made public by the Associated Press on December 16,1935:

"Orders Company To Quit Hiring Private Sleuths!

"Washington, Dec. 16. (AP) — The national labor relations board ordered the Fruehauf Trailer Co., of Detroit today to cease employing private detectives for the alleged purpose of reporting on union activity among its workers.

"In its first decision affecting the automobile industry, the board also directed the company to reinstate seven employes with back pay. These workers, the board said, were discharged for union activity. The company also was directed to stop 'interfering' with the organization of its workers.

"The board cited testimony regarding J.N. Martin, described as a private detective in the company's pay. The board asserted he 'passed as an ordinary employee,' and was elected treasurer of the United Automobile Workers local.

"He reported once a week to the plant superintendent, the board said, while he had access to union membership lists. The superintendent then went about the plant warning workers against uniion activity, testimony said."

Fruehauf appealed the decision in the Sixth US Circuit Court of Appeals, on the grounds that the Wagner Act violated the 10th Ammendment to the US Constitution and on June 30, 1936 the court ruled in Fruehauf's favor. The Associated Press reporting:

"Cincinnati, June 30 - (AP) - The US Circuit Court of Appeals held today the National Labor Relations Board lacked authority to issue orders affecting companies whose business 'does not directly affect any phase of any interstate commerce.'

"It dismissed a petition of the board asking enforcement of an order it issued to Fruehauf Trailer company of Detroit and directed the order be set aside. The Fruehauf company attacked the constitutionality of the National Labor Relations Act in appealing from the order of the board."

However, the NLRB appealed the Circuit Court's ruling against Fruhauf and on November 9, 1936 the US Supreme Court agreed to review the matter. The Monday April 12, 1937  Associated Press newswire reported:

"Washington, April 12 -(AP)- The Supreme Court, in an epochal descision, upheld today the right ot the National Labor Relations Board to regulate employer-employee relationships in businesses engaged in interstate commerce.

"The decision broadened the scoped of the Interstate Commerce clause beyond what opponents of the law contended was the proper boundary line.

"The Court ruled 5 to 4 that the Wagner Act was applicable to the Fruehauf Trailer Co. of Detroit.

"The opinion in the Fruehauf Trailer company case, delivered by Chief Justice Hughes, upheld an order by the National Labor Relations board directing the company to reinstate seven discharged employees.

"'We have examined respondent's (Trailer company) contentions' Hughes asserted, 'and we are of the opinion that the findings of the board, with respect to the nature of the respondent's business and the circumstances of the discharges complained of, are supported by the evidence.'

"The chief justice said that 'the questions relating to the construction and validity of the act have been fully discussed in the court's opinion, just delivered, upholding the act as applied to the Jones and Laughlin Steel corporation.

"'We hold that the principles there stated are applicable here,' he concluded.

The Court's statement in regards to the Jones and Laughlin Steel case follows:

"Chief Justice Hughes said the Wagner law in its present application, 'goes not further than to safeguard the right of employees to self organization and to select representatives of their own choosing for collective bargaining or other mutual protection without restraint or coercion by their employer. That is a fundemental fight,' Hughes continued. 'Employees have as clear a right to orgnaize and select their representatives for lawful purposes as the respondent has to organize his business and select its own officers and agents.'"

Although Fruehauf management didn't support the Court's findings they begrudgingly reinstated the 7 fired employees and feigned compliance with the statutes of the Wagner Act.

At the same time Fruhauf was acquiring a bad reputation with Labor, they were quietly buying up some of their compeititors. In 1936 they purchased the capital stock of the Indiana Carriage Co. (Missouri) which was subsequently acquired by the newly formed Fruehauf of Kansas Co. (in 1937), then dissolved.

The recently organized Fruehauf Trailer Co. of California also acquired the physical assets (and 'good will') of the Bunnell-Kirksey Trailer Corp., at 2160 E. 55th St., Los Angeles, Calif., at the same time for $250,000. The facility was subsequently remodeled and became Fruehauf's West-coast trailer factory and service depot. Fruehauf's California operations eventually occupied 73,000 sq. ft. of manufacturing space and employed 350. Headquartered in Gardena, California, Fruehauf operated plants and sales and service depots in Torrance, Anaheim, Santa Monica and Gardena, California.

In 1938 Fruehauf founded the Iowa Engineering Company to handle the manufacture of components used in the trailer manufacturing process, and formed a partnership with the Detroit Compensating Axle Corporation, later known as the Differential Wheel Corporation. A period ad announced the debut of the Differential Dual Wheel which eventually became standard equipment on all Fruehauf trailers:

"The remedy for excessive tire wear came with the invention of the Differential Dual Wheel now available exclusively through Fruehauf, allows all Trailer tires to rotate independently of one another."

Fruehauf's Canadian branch, Fruehauf Trailer Co. of Canada, Ltd., in Weston, Ontario furnished the drop-frame chassis that provided the backbone for the streamlined  beverage transporters that crossed the Canadian highways during the late 1930s and 1940s. Customers included Bradings, a Canadian brewer located in Ottawa, and John LaBatt Ltd. of London, Ontario.

The background story of the Canadian streamliners  is an interesting one. Although most Canadian Provinces repealed Prohibition during the mid-twenties, Canadian brewers, vintners and distillers were prohibited from advertising their beverages in the Province of Ontario into the 1950s. During the 30s and 40s brightly colored aerodynamic delivery trucks were built for numerous Canadian alcoholic beverage manufacturers to provide them with some much-needed publicity.

The most outrageous of the bunch featured White chassis, Fruehauf trailers and Smith Bros. (of Toronto) coachwork, all designed by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky. In 1935 White received an order from the London, Ontario brewer John Labatt Ltd. to create an eye-catching show-piece for the 1936 CNE (Canadian National Exhibition - opened on August 28, 1936). White's London office presented the project to the firm's Cleveland-based designs studio who recommended Sakhnoffsky for the design portion of the project.

According to Labatt's, de Sakhnoffsky produced four streamlined tractor-trailers designs, whose introduction was to be stretched over the upcoming decade, each one more futuristic and streamlined than the previous.

The first, of which 4 examples were built, debuted in 1936. It featured a basically stock White Motor Co. of Canada Ltd. single axle tractor cab & chassis mated to a Fruehauf of Canada Ltd. single-axle drop-frame trailer chassis which bore aerodynamic Smith Bros. coachwork built using an ash and maple framework sheathed with hand-formed sheet-aluminum panels.

Toronto's Smith Bros. customized the tractor/cab, adding custom running boards that flowed into the rear fenders, whose distinctive spats matched the ones on the rear of the trailer. According to Labatts, the distinctive firm's red paint and striking gold graphics were applied in Labatt's own paint shop.

In a 1978 article Toronto-based Canadian transport historian Rolland Lewis Jerry (b.1924-d.2002) states that the Phildalephia-based de Saknoffsky "came to Canada in the mid-30s" but provides no further details.

In mid-1937 the second series, a more advanced design - which included a streamlined White model 812 cab mated to a matching Fruehauf drop-deck trailer - debuted. Twelve examples were constructed in Smith Bros. shop, all of which wore Labatt's red & gold color scheme, which was once again applied in Labatt's London, Ontario paint shop.

One of the first examples of the second series was readied in time for White to display it at the 1937 Great Lakes Exhibition after which it returned to Toronto where it was the star of the brewer's exhibit at the 1937 Canadian National Exhibition. It was later sent to the 1939 New York World's Fair where it was awarded 'Best Design'.

The June 20, 1937 Motors and Motor Men column of the New York Times reported on the increased efficiency of the de Sakhnoffsky-designed beer transporters:

"Tests made recently by transportation engineers for John Labatt, Ltd., brewers of London, Canada, proved that revolutionary style in truck design and for increased efficiency and low cost operation per unit. The Canadian Company placed an order with the White Motor Company for additional all-streamlined cab-over-engine tractor-trailer units, one of which is now on display at the Great Lakes Exposition in Cleveland. They are to be radically styled by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky. Two trucks, one streamlined and the other conventional but of the same model and carrying identical loads made a 125-mile run between Toronto and London. Heading into a fifteen-mile-an-hour west wind, the streamlined truck reached its destination using 9 per cent less gasoline, making the trip approximately ten miles per hour faster than its conventional mate."

The tractor and trailer combined were 37 feet long, 10 feet high, and eight feet wide. The body was made from aluminum sheets pinned over a frame made from hundreds of pieces of hard wood. The empty trucks weighed as much as 10 tons and had a trailer capacity of about 825 cubic feet. They could carry eight and a half tons of beer and were still capable of about 50 miles per hour.

The seldom-seen third version, two of which were constructed in 1939-1940 before the War halted such frivolous projects, featured even more sweeping curves added to the roof of the tractor and long tail fin added to the trailer which featured dark blue side panels not found on the postwar streamliners. Once again White furnished the cab, Fruehauf the trailer and Smith Brothers the coachwork.A surviving picture reveals a similarly styled straight van was also produced using the same paint scheme.

When hostilities ceased, the fourth version debuted, of which 10 examples were constructed during 1947 at a cost of $16,000 each. They were constructed using de Sakhnoffsky's 4th design, whose cab was radically different from the pre-War units. Photographs exist of stock White cabs towing post-war streamline trailers  and LaBatt itself doesn't state exactly how many of the post-war cabs were streamliners, so the exact number of streamline trailers and streamline cabs is currently open to debate.

The forward raked cab featured a curved windshield and side windows for great visibility when travelling forward or backing up, its roof gently arced from the top of the cab both downwards and rearwards leaving more distance between the cab and the trailer. Built on a White WA122 COE (cab-over-engine) single-axle chassis, the cabs of the postwar streamliners tilted from the rear to allow easy access to the motor for maintenance and repair. The drop-frame trailers' streamlined coachwork was slightly lower than before in order to match the all-new cabs.

The 1947 streamliners once again featured White cabs, Fruehauf trailers and Smith Bros. coachwork – all paint and gold-leaf lettering once again applied in Labatt's own garage paint shop – the trailers of the two 1939 versions bearing Labatt's blue and red paint scheme with gold leaf trim and lettering.

A 1948 issue of Canadian Transportation featured a small article describing the streamliners constructed in 1947:

"Another 'Streamliner' for John LaBatt, Ltd.

"The London, Ont. Brewing and bottling firm, long noted for operation of handsome, streamlined motor truck equipment on Ontario highways has added a fourth model to its fleet, designed like its predecessors, by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky.

"What is spoken of as the most modern transport on the road in Canada, a fourth design of freight automotive equipment has been added to the fleet of John LaBatt, Ltd., London, Ont. The most recent addition is a tractor-trailer (or, more properly, semitrailer) combination, and the design is, like that of the three forerunners, the work of Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, designer with international reputation.

"LaBatt streamliners, which have always been the subject of much public and industrial comment both for their utility and their beauty, were introduced by the London breweries firm in 1936. All four designs which are now in use were drawn by Count de Sakhnoffsky at the same time, to allow for a steady progression in streamlining. These great sleek highway trucks are designed basically for hauling. They are practical equipment, but the lines which fit them for their work on the road also give them their beauty.

"The new streamliner has a White tractor, built by the White Motor Co. of Canada, Ltd., Montreal. The drop-frame trailer was constructed by Fruehauf Trailer Co. of Canada, Ltd., Weston, Ont. The body of the streamliner, cab and trailer, was supplied by Smith Bros. Motor Body Works, Toronto. It is an all-metal body of aluminum, over a wood framework. The aluminum reduces weight. All Labatt transportation equipment is painted in the company paint shop. The new streamliners are all red, with lettering and ornamentation in gold leaf. This latest model is minus the dark blue side panels which characterize the previous design.

"The new streamliner differs quite radically from the earlier model, particularly in the tractor. The front of the cab is more vertical and flatter in the latest model, but the most noticeable change is in the rear of the cab, which is curved in one smooth line from the top front, leaving greater distance between the cab and the trailer.

"The older cab had an almost flat top and an almost vertical back. The new cab has a curved windshield for better view, and curved side windows at the back for greater visibility in backing and turning. All cabs of the new streamliners tilt from the rear, to allow easy access to the motors.

"The trailer of the new streamliner is set lower than the trailer of the previous model, and is rounded on both upper and lower surfaces at both front and rear, rather than being rounded to a flat bottom surface. This makes the front and rear more similar, the front less snubbed and the rear less sloped. The trailer features a stainless steel 'dorsal fin', principally for ornamentation.

"All the new streamliners are equipped with an anti-jacknife device on the fifth wheel. The Labatt firm was the first in Canada to employ the anti-jacknife device, and many of the older models have been fitted with this equipment.

"Combination stop and directional arrow lights are located on both sides, front and rear of the new streamliner. The tractor-trailer is 36 ft. 10 in. long over all. The combination has wheelbase of 28 ft. 5 in., the wheelbase of the tractor alone being 121 in. Height over all is 9 ft. 8 in., and width over all, 8 ft. 5 in. The trailer length is 28 ft., and trailer capacity is approximately 825 cu. ft.

"The tractor-trailer is 36 ft. 10 in. long over all. The combination has wheelbase of 28 ft. 5 in., the wheelbase of the tractor alone being 121 in. Height over all, 8 ft. 5 in. The trailer length is 28 ft., and the trailer capacity is approximately 825 cu. ft. The trailer is the White model W.A. 122, and is powered with the 'Super Power' model 140A engine, which develops 125 h.p. and has piston displacement of 362 cu. in. The transmission, model 501B, provides five forward speeds. Westinghouse air brakes are employed, and the equipment includes air-operated windshield wipers and horn."

A pair of LaBatt's streamliners survive, the first a complete 1937 version which is currently undergoing restoration, the second a totally restored 1947 version built using an original trailer and a re-created cab.

In 1939 Fruehauf constructed a $210 million factory in Detroit to house its new body assembly and sheet metal stamping operations.Fruehauf also formed a distribution partnership with the Edward G. Budd Manufacturing Co., becoming the exclusive distributor of Budd-built stainless steel trailers ordering 10,000 trailers bodies over the course of the four-year contract, which were shipped disassembled (CKD or completely knocked down) to Fruehauf’s Detroit plant where they were assembled and fitted with rear axles. The partnership was announced in the December 15, 1939 edition of the New York Times:

“To Offer Stainless Trailer

“The Fruehauf Trailer Co., it was disclosed yesterday, will soon place on the market a new deluxe line of stainless-steel commercial trailers. According to Harvey C. Fruehauf, president of the company, this program is the result of arrangements just completed with the Edward G. Buud Company of Philadelphia, whose shot-welding process has been responsible for the development of stainless-steel streamlined railway coaches as well as this new type of trailer body. According to officials, the average trailer, to haul a twelve-ton load, weighs from 7,000 to 8,500 pounds, while the stilaess-steel unit will weigh only 5,500 pounds.”

Fruehauf's listing in the 1940 Detroit Directory follows:

“Fruehauf Trailer Co., Harvey C. Fruehauf, pres; Harry R. Fruehauf, vice-pres-sec-director of purchases; Roy A. Fruehauf, Vice-pres and director of sales; Wm. C. Hanway, Treas.; Roy W. Jacobs, Asst Treas. Mfrs Automotive Commercial Trailers, 10940 Harper Ave., Tel Plaza 2410.”

Fruehauf management remained sour on organized labor and the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration as evidenced by the following statements Harvey C. Fruehauf made to syndicated columnist B.C. Forbes in his May 9, 1941 column:

"In the last few years I have frequently run across large employers who voiced discouragement, who felt poignantly that Washington was unfair, who were inclined to relax their strenuous efforts to provide work, better jobs, and develop enterprise.

"Listen to what one company head, President Harvey C. Fruehauf, of the Fruehauf Trailer company, has to say.

"'I cannot well be regarded, as an 'economic royalist.' I left school at 13 and went to work for $2.75 a week. I attended night school to acquire a business education. I know very well the viewpoint of the employee and what he must do to get ahead. I know it is simply good justness'to pay employes liberally - it's the one way to get top performance and necessary loyalty - and we pay our people well.'

"'Mr. Roosevelt and his associates have encouraged the people generally to believe that all of their personal burdens will be carried by the New Deal administration.'

"'Corporations are up against laws that are simply unworkable - that is, if business is to grow and provide more employment.'

"'Politicians, who are only spenders of money, take great delight in pointing the finger of scorn at businessmen - employers - who are earners and doers. Congressional investigations are held regularly and continuously, resulting in the pouring of gasoline on the fires of class hatred and mutual distrust.'

"Sooner or later, business leaders will begin to wonder why they should continue in business - just why they should continue to shoulder such heavy responsibilities."

Despite his frustration with the government's labor policies, business remained very good for Fruehauf, their sales nearly quadrupled between 1936 and 1942. Throughout World War II the business expanded rapidly because of the increased demand for truck trailers to mobilize troops and supplies. Government orders began pouring in as early as 1940, the December 10, 1941 issue of the Kansas City Star reported that the local Fruehauf factory had received a half-million dollar order for 237 semi-trailers:

"Order Army Vans Here: Fruehauf To Make 237 For Air Corps.

"The $500,000 Oder is for Semi-Trailer Type With a Drop Frame for Easy Loading.

"The Fruehauf Trailer company will build in K ansas City 237 semi­-trailers of the moving van type for the army air corps. The order, received today by Walter W. Siegrist, manager, from the Detroit headquarters of the company, will be considerably in excess of $500,000, but the exact amount was not stated.

"The trailers are similar to the aerovan type made by the Kansas City plant for the Fruehauf's moving van business in the entire Untied States east of the Rock Mountains.

"They were twenty-eight feet long, and are distinguished by the drop frame, which puts the floor at a level considerably lower than that used on vehicles depending mostly on dock loading facilities. The frames are of steel tubing and the walls of steel sheets are insulated.

"One difference in the air corps specifications is the provision for screened windows.

"Another section of the order, for 237 dollies — the 2-wheeled units placed under the front ends of the trailers for handling when they are not attached to the tractors - will be filled probably in the Detroit plant.

"Production of units will start in about thirty days, when the materials arrive. The company expects to handle the order on its regular production schedule without much increase in its present pay roll, which is at the peak figure of 350 persons.

"The company also is building pon­toon carriers at other plants."

During WW II, the company and its subsidiaries attributed approximately 65 to 68 percent of its consolidated net sales to government contracts and sub-contracts. In the October 25, 1950 issue of Investor’s Readers, then-president Roy Fruehauf briefly described the firm’s activities during the Second World War:

“During War II we made some practice bombs and cut armor plate for tanks. Mainly we kept making trailers. The Government used them for tank carriers, tank retrievers, dental clinics, buses to carry soldiers and food, for radar equipment and portable machine shops.”

In addition to their troop transport semi-trailers Fruhauf also constructed semi-trailer buses for domestic corporations who used them to transport war workers to and from their factories.

Exact manufacting dates of Fruehauf military trailers are hard to determine as many models were constructed over spans of a decade or more, in various iterations, which are commonly noted by a suffix (eg. an M-107 E2 was an M-107 400 gallon water tank trailer constructed in 1954). To confuse matters some trailerschanged their model number when mated with its intended cargo/armament (eg: the G-221 series M-17  trailer was re-designated the M-51 when mated with its M-45 quad-mount anti-aircraft gun). Certain trailers were manufactured by numerous firms, so without a data plate the exact manufacturer can be difficult, if not impossible, to determine.

Military trailers known to have been produced by Fruehauf during the 40s and 50s include (but are not limited to) the following (listed by their supply catalog designation). Keep in mind technical Manual number TM-2800, dated Sept 1, 1943, contains 77 pages of trailers and 67 pages of semi-trailers (144 in all), and the following list is most assuredly not complete:

G-117 (built 1941) - M-6 7-ton trailer (T-26 variant) and M-12 9-ton trailer for tractor cranes

G-159 - M-9 capacity 45-ton 3-axle trailer (disabled tanks, heavy loads)

G-160 M15 capacity 40-ton semi-trailer tank transporter – Later M15A1 45-tons

G-221 trailer M-1 (searchlight), M-17 (for M-45 quad-mount gun, designated M-51 when mated), M-18 (generator)

G-529 ¼ ton trailers – for Jeeps

G-581 Semitrailer, 10-Ton, Combination Stake and Platform

G-601 10-Ton stake semitrailer

G-603 12 1/2-ton van-body semitrailer

G-660 M-10 amunition trailer

G-663 6 1/2 -ton pipe trailer

G-667 12-ton flat bed semitrailer

G-676 M-365 Dolly (10-ton trailer converter) and 10-ton combination stake and platform semiltrailer

G-695 K-83 Dollies – converted semi-trailers into full trailers for the signal corps.

G-708- K-363 Dollies

G-710 20-Ton & 22-Ton Low-Bed Trailer (CPT-20 &  CPT-22) and Jahn Model LKD-620

G719 5-Ton Cargo Trailer

G-723 11-Ton van-body semitrailer (model 228-L)

G-750 M-126 12-ton trailer chassis (includes M-127 stake, M-128 cargo van, M-129 supply van, and M-308 4,000 gallon water tanker)

G-754 1 1/2-ton trailer - (includes M-102 trailer, M-103 chassis, M-104 cargo, M-105 cargo, M-106 water tank, M-107 water tank, and M-448 shop van)

In 1947 Fruehauf purchased the Carter Manufacturing Co.,  of Memphis, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama, a well-known manufacturer of semi-trailers originally founded in 1927.

In 1948 Fruehauf sold off a substantial portion of the firm's 182,000 sq. ft. Harper Ave. plant, confining its Detroit operations to research and development. The general offices of the company operated eight additional plants, all of them acquired after 1936. These included the manufacturing and assembling plant at Vernon, Calif., with 200,800 square feet of floor space; the tank and stainless steel trailer manufacturing plant at Fort Wayne, Ind., with 313,769 square feet of floor space; a machining operations plant at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with a 135,325 square feet of floor space; a tank trailer assembly plant in Omaha, Nebraska, with 24,000 square feet of floor space; the plant in Memphis, Tennessee, now known as the Fruehauf-Carter Division, with 75,000 square feet, and a second plant in that city with 66,381 square feet; a plant for the manufacture of standard van type trailers and truck bodies in Cleveland, Ohio, covering 832,850 square feet of floor space; and a large plant in Weston, Ontario, Canada which produced a wide variety of trailers for the expanding Canadian market.

A 33 ft. long, 7,000 gallon 5-compartment steel 1948 Fruehauf tank trailer co-starred with a 1956 (1960 & 1964) Peterbilt 281 tractor ( 4 different cabs were used) and a 1970 (1971 & 1972) Plymouth Valiant sedan (3 were used) in Steven Spielberg’s 1971 classic movie ‘Duel’, which featured Dennis Weaver in a supporting role. Originally aired on ABC’s November 13, 1971 ‘Movie of the Week’, Duel was based upon science fiction writer Richard Matheson’s short story of the same name that appeared in the April 1971 issue of Playboy Magazine, and is considered by Spielberg to be his ‘High Noon on wheels’. Matheson’s story was based upon a harrowing personal encounter with a tailgating trucker that occurred on November 22, 1963, the same day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Harvey C. Fruehauf served as Fruehauf’s president from 1930 until he assumed the post of chairman of the board in 1949. Under his leadership, annual sales had increased from $3,759,000 at the close of 1929 to $77,261,923 in 1949. In the latter year total assets of the company were $73,496,878, and the firm's 8 plants occupied almost 1 million sq. ft. of floor space situated on 100 acres of real estate.

After World War II Fruehauf organized Fruehauf Trailer Sales, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary which by December 31, of 1951 had financed $55 million of buyers’ installment purchases of Fruehauf equipment. The October 22, 1948 issue of the New York Times announced the scheme, which was backed by an unamed insurance underwriter:

“INSURANCE CREDIT ENTERS TRUCK FIELD; Company to Advance Fruehauf Trailer Concern $30,000,000 as Operating Backing

“Entry of insurance company credit into the financing of purchases of truck-trailers was revealed here yesterday in the announced terms for a $30,000,000 credit for the Fruehauf Trailer Sales, Inc., a new company formed to take over installment receivables of the Fruehauf Trailer Company for periods up to five years.

“Negotiating through the banking firms of Lehman Brothers and Watling, Lerchen & Co., the new company has arranged to borrow on its own 3 ½ per cent debentures due Sept. 1, 1963. The name of the insurance company extending the long-term credit was not disclosed.

“Harvey C. Fruehauf, president of the Fruehauf Trailer Company, asserted that the availability of this type of long-term financing for motor transport operators was an indication of the stability and economic importance of highway freight transportation.

“‘This is the first time that life insurance funds are made available for loans with truck-trailer equipment as underlying security,’ Mr. Fruehauf said. ‘It has a parallel in the railroad industry, where the purchase of rolling stock equipment has long been financed through institutional capital. The fact that similar capital sources are now in effect available to customers of Fruehauf affords concrete evidence of the progress our business has achieved.’

“It was said that the initial employment of credit under this arrangement would yield the trailer manufacturing company about $9,000,000 in cash for the reduction of current bank loans. The trailer company’s receivables have been running around $18,000,000. The pro forma balance sheet as of Aug. 31 showed current assets of $55,268,918 and current liabilities of $14,211,448.

“In the past installment-purchase contracts of the Fruehauf type could be used to secure credits limited in terms of thirty-six months. Through the intermediate credit accommodation furnished by the new Fruehauf Trailer Sales Company this term has been extended to five years. This, it was explained, is a recognition of the fact that the engineless trailer has a right to claim longer life than a motor vehicle when regarded as security for a loan.”

They also helped organize the Commercial Home Equipment Co. of Chicago, a firm whose sole customer, the Lustron Corporation, a Columbus, Ohio-based manufacturer of prefabricated steel housing, nearly dragged Fruhauf into bankruptcy.

In 1947 Lustron had contracted with the Commercial Home Equipment Co. of Chicago, a recently-organized Fruehauf-controlled leasing company, to lease 400 tractors and 810 trailers to move the unassembled houses. Commercial Home Equipment consequently entered into a contract with the White Motor Co. for 200 tractors and with Fruehauf Trailer Co. for the 810 purpose-built trailers (designed by Lustron’s Dick Reedy), with Fruehauf’s portion of the deal pegged at $4.5 million.

Weekly payments of $25,000 would be made and the contract stipulated that Fruehauf would have 40 per cent of the purchase price before delivery of any trailer. Fruehauf signed the contract in October of 1947, long before Lustron began production in the former Curtiss-Wright factory in Columbus, Ohio. Roy A. Fruehauf provided details of the Lustron debacle in an article entitled 'A Close Call For Fruehauf' which was published in the April 7, 1951 issue of Business Week:

“When Lustron folded, Fruehauf was nearly out $3-million owed it on 800 special trailers it built for Lustron’s trucker. But it plans to convert and resell the trailers without losing a cent.

“Not too long ago, the name Lustron was full of promise. With its radical process for mass-producing prefab houses of porcelain-enameled steel, the new company looked to a lot of people as though it could lick the postwar housing shortage almost singlehanded. Housing Administrator Wilson Wyatt gave it his blessing. So did Reconstruction Finance Corp.—to the tune, finally, of $37.5-million.

“And so, in a way, did Roy Fruehauf, burly, young president of Fruehauf Trailer Co. Fruehauf took a $4.5-million order to supply Lustron with 800 specially designed trailers.  When Lustron folded, Fruehauf found itself with a whole fleet of trailers on its hands—good for nothing but carrying prefab houses—and most of them unpaid for.

“Liability to Asset - To the great relief of his stockholders, Roy Fruehauf announced in his annual report last week that his company is converting all the 800 trailers back into regular van-type units and reselling them at a price that will recover the balance of payments due on them ($2.5-million), plus conversion costs. The first trailer started down the line this week. Besides wiping away a nasty account receivable, this move will be a great help to Fruehauf in meeting its $30-million backlog of orders.

“Big Customer - A vital part of Lustron’s plan was its unique distribution system. It was based on trucks and more trucks. Truck trailers were actually part of the assembly line.  Parts of the houses were loaded on them as they moved down the line.  When they had a complete house on their backs, they were pulled off the line and either parked, as a warehouse on wheels, or hitched to a tractor and towed off right to the customer.

“Small wonder, then, that Roy Fruehauf had his eye on Lustron as a big customer. His company had been in the trailer-building business since the horse-drawn days when Roy’s father August C. Fruehauf, set up a shoeing and wagon shop in Detroit. It had grown to claim 'half or better' of the U.S. trailer market. The company was tooled for big orders and had plenty of experience in building custom-designed trailers. It was a natural to supply the combination assembly line-warehouse carrier that Lustron wanted in large quantities.

“Contract - In October, 1947, Roy Fruehauf closed a deal with Commercial Home Equipment Corp., Lustron’s hauling contractor, to build 800 of the specially designed trailers at a cost of almost $4.5-million. Financing arrangements called for weekly payments of $25,000, and Fruehauf was to have at least 40% of the purchase price in hand before delivering a trailer.

“Speedup - According to Fruehauf’s testimony before the Senate Banking & Currency Committee investigating Lustron, the following January two RFC officials met with him and insisted that he double the planned production of trailers. They warned that if he didn’t they would give the contract to another manufacturer. In answer to Fruehauf’s question about payments to meet the speeded-up deliveries, they said, 'You know that the RFC is committed to spend $50-million on Lustron, so you can count on being paid in full for your trailers and don’t worry about it.'

“Fruehauf reluctantly agreed. Production on the trailers materially increased, while installment payments by Commercial stayed the same.

“In the next two years, deliveries of trailers to Commercial exceeded payments for them by nearly $3-million. In Fruehauf’s words, 'The fact that such a large percentage of the original purchase price of these trailers is still unpaid is attributable directly to the changes insisted upon by the RFC officials.'

“The Lustron Tangle

“Since Lustron was Commercial’s only source of income, Fruehauf naturally kept an increasingly anxious eye on the tangle there. 'We (Fruehauf) have spent many hours each day on this matter hoping to protect our $3-million indebtedness,' Fruehauf said.

“'I learned that in October, 1949, the RFC notified Carl Strandlund, the president of Lustron, that unless a reorganization and change of management were entered into, satisfactory to the RFC, the RFC would take action designed to protect its interests.' Strandlund submitted a reorganization plan, which RFC rejected in November without saying why.

“Friendly Committee – In the meantime, RFC named a committee composed of Rex C. Jacobs and E. J. Hunt—both of Detroit and both friends of RFC Director Walter Dunham—to investigate Lustron management and make recommendation to RFC. 'I have been told,' said Fruehauf, 'that the gist of the report was that Lustron could be put on a paying basis with proper management of the type that Jacobs could provide.'

“In December Fruehauf was informed that 'the RFC would have nothing to do with any Lustron proposal so long as Strandlund remained in control.'

“The Fix – About a month later, Fruehauf got a call from Paul Buckley, a Lustron director, saying that the Lustron situation had come to a crisis and urging him to come to Washington that day. When he arrived, the same day, Buckley told him that there was only one man who could save the Lustron situation and that was a Washington attorney, Col. Joseph Rosenbaum. Fruehauf testified that a few minutes later Rosenbaum entered and '...told me that he absolutely could save Lustron through his friends at the RFC, Dunham and Willett (both RFC directors), who he said were 'in his hip pocket.''

“Fruehauf’s counsel warned him that this proposal bore all the earmarks of the Washington 'fix.' And Fruehauf steered clear.

“Foreclosure – After RFC rejected a second reorganization proposal submitted by Lustron in January, 1950, Fruehauf drew up a plan that would remove Strandlund from control of the company. This, it thought, would meet all known RFC objections to previous plans.

“It didn’t, apparently. On Feb. 14, the day before its appointment to hear the plan, RFC issued a press release announcing that the board had ordered the foreclosure of Lustron.

“'My experience, as you see,' said Fruehauf, 'lends support to the complaint that some RFC officials were determined all along to wreck Lustron unless they could get control for their friends.'”

In March of 1951, Fruehauf announced that he was going to convert the 800 trailers from the Lustron operation back into conventional enclosed vans in order to recover the $2.5 million loss incurred by Lustron’s bankruptcy, the news was covered in the October 25, 1950 issue of Investor’s Readers:

“Fruehauf’s deal with bankrupt Lustron Corp. also has worked out satisfactorily. When Lustron failed, the housemaker’s hauling contractor owed Fruehauf $2,500,000. Actually, president Roy points out, the debt is now 'far less' and 'if the situation should blow up' Fruehauf can dismantle the trailers and realize a tidy sum — 'the fifth wheels' alone are worth over $2,000,000.”

In 1949 August’s youngest son, Roy A. Fruehauf, took over the reins of the family’s business from his older brother Harvey. As a boy Roy maneuvered the rigs around his father’s yard and after college (graduated in 1928), he worked in the firm’s Detroit service department until 1930 when he transferred to the Chicago branch as a $100-a-month junior salesman. In 1933 he became regional sales manager for Fruehauf’s western territories and in 1935 took over as vice-president in charge of the same division. In 1938, he was named vice-president and director of sales and in 1940, vice-president in charge of operations. In 1944 he became executive vice-president of the entire operation and early in 1949 its president.

The April 1950 issue of Finance announced that Fruehauf was entering the mail truck business in a 'big' way:

“Fruehauf Reveals Plans for Truck Trailer Postoffice to Revolutionize U.S. Mail Service

“Cleveland, Ohio, April 27 – Plans for a truck-trailer postoffice, equipped to permit processing of letters and packages as it rolls swiftly along the highways, were revealed yesterday at a meeting here of the Board of Directors of the Fruehauf Trailer Company.

“Frederick M. Reid, Vice President in Charge of Engineering, in disclosing plans for the mobile U. S. highway postoffice, said that Fruehauf's decision to undertake the project was the result of the Government's recent action giving increased preference to truck-trailer mail delivery service. ‘A truck-trailer postoffice, designed to do the job now done by the railroad mail car, but designed to do it faster, better and more economically.’”

Roy A. Fruehauf’s marriage to Catherine Meacham ended in divorce in 1949 and on June 16, 1950 he married for a second time, to Ruth Horn, a secretary with the Burroughs Corp., and to the blessed union was born three more children, Royce Horn, Randall August, and Ruth Ann Fruehauf.

In the October 25, 1950 issue of Investor’s Readers, Roy A. Fruehauf stated that at the time the firm held “half or better” of the U.S. commercial trailer market, and approximately one-third of its sales were stainless steel:

“Stainless steel is our No. 1 line. Demand for them has more than tripled this year. Customers who can’t afford the 5-to-10% price difference between them and aluminum ask for aluminum. But stainless steel will last for ten years or more. Just the other day a customer who had bought two stainless steel trailers from us eleven years ago sold them at a good profit.”

On December 28, 1950 the Associated Press Newswire reported on a 35,000 order from the US Government:

“Fruehauf to Make 35,000 Trailers for Military Use; Oldsmobile to Make Rockets

“Detroit (AP) –Two Michigan manufacturers are getting ready today to plunge into military production of 35,000 trailers and an unannounced number of 3.5 inch bazooka rockets.

“The Fruehauf Trailer Co. of Detroit and Brig-Gen. David J. Crawford of Ordnance tank-automotive center jointly announced the $40,000,000 order for all-purpose trailers yesterday.

“Fruehauf said the huge trailers his firm will build are for all branches of the service. The all-steel cargo trailers will be used for transportation of rations, water, personnel, and ammunition, he said. The company said it has capacity to take care of both defense and essential civilian needs.”

The December 1951 issue of Sales Management noted that the trailer manufacturer's sales in that year reached US $160 million and it had 8,500 employees and despite the variety of shapes—platform trailers for carrying machinery; petroleum, milk and acid tanks; livestock trailers and dump units; carryalls, grain trailers, etc. — 61.5% of all the units it produced in the first half of 1951 were closed vans, easily modified to fit different needs. Special modifications included an enclosed auto hauler which, by simple adjustment of the second deck, could serve as a dry van for general freight.

The August 2, 1952 issue of the Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram included a small piece describing the point when young Roy A. Fruehauf ended his 'lazying around':

“The Turning Point

“ROY FRUEHAUF: he started working early ...He Helped His Dad

“DETROIT. - To small Roy Fruehauf, aged 5, the summer seemed made for lazing around. Like other kids his size, he wasn't big enough for baseball, but sometimes he could tag along when the older kids went fishing. Life was fun. But one evening in June his dad, big August Fruehauf, a blacksmith, called him over. ‘Son,’ he said, ‘you're old enough to know that good children should never be lazy. I want you to come with me and your older brothers when we go to the shop tomorrow morning. You're young, but there's work you can do.’

“His Dad's Helper

“That ended Roy's ‘lazing around.’ From then on he worked. Mostly he ran errands, swept the floor and kept out of the way of his dad's 12 employees. He worked all that summer at the blacksmith shop on dusty Gratiot Ave. And the next summer he worked, too and the next. Roy got interested in the shop. But he got more interested in the big truck- trailer his dad had invented. By the time he was eight, he was steering it around the shop yard. When he was 12, he was so expert that his Dad had him demonstrate it to prospective buyers. That settled Roy's future. Fascinated by the Fruehauf works, he stayed on as he grew older-watching and helping the simple neighborhood smithy grow into an industrial giant. Finally, in 1948, he became president of the $200-million corporation. It was, if nothing else, living proof that old August Fruehauf had been right when he said: 'Good children should never be lazy.'”

By 1951 Fruehauf was spending $1 million in advertising, primarily through print advertisements in local newspapers and the national trades. Magazine ads were targeted to specific industries and at that time Fruehauf display ads could be seen in the following trade papers and journals:

Chain Store Age, Food Engineering, National Provisioner, Quick Frozen Foods, Southern Fisherman; Milk Dealer, Milk Plant Monthly; National Petroleum News, Petroleum Transportation, Petroleum World, Oil, Engineering News Record, Western Construction News, Chemical Engineering, Lumberman, Timberman, Pacific Factory, Western Industry, AVL Magazine (furniture), Furniture Warehouseman, Central Co-op Shipper (livestock) and 560-line insertions in Corn Belt Farm Dailies; Power Wagon, Transportation Supply News and the Los Angeles Commercial News.

In his 'Along The Highways and Byways of Finance' column New York Times financial editor Robert E. Fetridge included a short biography of Roy A. Fruhauf in the paper's November 9, 1952 edition:

“Roy August Fruehauf is the youngest of the Fruehauf brothers, but at 44 he's president of the "General Motors" of the trailer industry. And he didn't get to the top of the Fruehauf Trailer Company because of his family connections. He went through the mill.

“The $161,000,000 unit in the transportation industry had its beginning in the last century, when Roy’s father operated first a blacksmith shop and later a wagon factory. That’s a quick, oversimplified explanation of the background of a company whose name appears on more trailer trucks than any other.

“But it’s not quick definition for big, energetic Roy. H has inherited the company responsibilities from his eldest brother with ease. Back in 1928, after two years in college, he was pulled into the then mushrooming organization to learn the ropes. Twenty years earlier he had romped through his father’s old plant and learned the principle that a horse, or horse-power, could pull a bigger load than the animal can carry. Even then he demonstrated the skill it requires to operate trailers.

“Five Year Apprenticeship

“Drawn away from his schooling to learn the latest twists in the trailer business, Roy put in an apprenticeship of five years in the serve, parts, machine shop and engineering departments before his brother, Harvey, now chairman of the board, felt that he was sufficiently seasoned to ‘go on the road’ as a salesman – and at $100 a month, no expense account.

“No silver spoon in the mouths of the Fruehauf boys. They had to prove their worth to gain a place in business. Roy and his brothers are good examples of a business inheritance carried forward with skill and know-how.

“Out of the home plant in Detroit – there are now eight sprawling factories in strategic locations in the United States and Canada – he was farmed out to the sale force and later became western sales manager. Dynamic, interesting, exciting and friendly, Roy set somewhat of a mark during the depression days and soon ended up a vice president in charge of the sales end of the company. Two more steps up the ladder came in fairly rapid succession and in 1949 he took full charge of the company which has revolutionized the trailer industry.

“Disclaims the Credit

“Modest, almost to the point where he only admits he is a hard worker, Roy says that ‘certainly nobody could say that I built this business by myself. My brother, Harvey, and all the others who have been around the organization for years laid the groundwork. The company now has nearly 9,000 employees. I am trying to keep up with changing conditions.’

“Roy seems to have done very well in adjusting himself to changing conditions. Sales of the company in 1940 were $19,512,145. Last year they totaled $161,612,310.

“His associates say that Roy ‘trails’ no one in drive, and those that attempt to keep up with him on a trip to the seven plants outside Detroit certainly agree with this observation.”

Alfonso Howard Beaumont Landa, a well-known corporate attorney, had been invited to join the Fruehauf board in 1950 at which time the firm’s leadership was in transition. From 1950 into late 1952 Harvey’s influence was being slowly eclipsed by that of his younger brother Roy, whose innovative ideas were widely supported by the other directors. Harvey wanted no part of Roy’s forward-thinking schemes and his dissatisfaction came to a head at the May 6, 1952 board meeting where Harvey criticized not only Roy, but the rest of the board for backing him.

Harvey became further enraged when Roy sent him a letter a couple of days later advising him that now might be a good time to retire. Harvey responded by withdrawing from all Fruehauf activities and board meetings, despite the fact that he remained Chairman.

At Fruehauf’s May 7, 1953 board meeting Harvey was unanimously voted off the board and Roy released the following statement which was carried in the May 8, 1953 issue of the New York Times:

"Fruehauf Chairman Retiring

"The retirement of Harvey C. Fruehauf, chairman of the board of the Fruehauf Trailer Company since 1949, was announced yesterday at the director's meeting following the annual stockholder's meeting at the Fruehauf Technical Institute in Detroit. Mr. Fruehauf, who joined the trailer manufacturing concern in 1915 and served from 1930 to 1949 as president, is retiring because of health. He will continue to serves as a director and will hold the title of honorary chairman of the company, Roy Fruehauf, president announced."

During the ensuing months, Harvey became more and more ‘convinced that he had been treated shabbily’ and in July of 1953 decided to teach the Fruehauf board, and his brother in particular, a lesson. The news came on July 18, 1953 when the Associated Press Newswire carried the following item:

“Cleveland Navigation Firm Acquires Control of Fruehauf Trailers.

“Detroit, July 18 (AP) – The Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Co. has acquired a major interest in the Fruehauf Trailer Co. in a $3,000,000 stock transfer here. To finance the stock purchase, George J. Kolowich, president of D. & C. sold 85,000 shares of American Optical Co. stock to Kuhn, Loeb & Co. of New York.”

The $3 million worth of Fruehauf shares had been acquired from Harvey.

When news of the sale reached Roy, he enlisted Landa’s help in keeping the disreputable Kolowich off the board. Kolowich responded by purchasing additional shares in Fruehauf on the open market, which prompted Landa to take rapid and decisive action to avoid an actual takeover by the known-corporate raider.

Landa devised a brilliant scheme whereby he threatened a major Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Co. shareholder, Robert Young, chairman of the Alleghany Corp., with blowing him in to the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) just as Young was trying to get control of the New York Central Railroad. Young ceded to the pressure, selling his shares in Detroit and Cleveland Navigation to Landa and Roy Fruehauf, effectively giving them control of the D. & C. Co., the news was publicly announced via the October 21, 1953 Associated Press Newswire:

“Fruehauf Buys Into D. & C. Co.

“Detroit (AP) – The sale of 65,200 shares in the Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Co. to Roy Fruehauf of Detroit and several associates was disclosed yesterday.

“Fruehauf, president of the Fruehauf Trailer Co., said the shares represented a 15 per cent interest. He said the shares were obtained after direct negotiations with the Alleghany Corp., headed by Robert R. Young, chairman of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.

“The sale followed by four months the purchase of 130,000 shares of Fruehauf Trailer stock by George J. Kolowich, D. and C. president. Those shares were sold by Harvey C. Fruehauf, retired board chairman of the trailer company, and brother of Roy Fruehauf.

“D. and C. dropped the operation of Great Lakes freight and passenger ships several years ago. It now holds a controlling interest in a large midwestern trucking line.”

A chance meeting with Teamster President Dave Beck helped solidify Roy Fruehauf’s control over the trailer company. While the two men were in Washington D.C. attending a conference on easing credit for the trucking industry (A.C.T. or Advisory Committee to the Trucking industry) the discussion turned to Fruehauf’s current proxy fight which was well-known inside the industry.

The discussion turned serious and Beck offered Fruehauf monetary assistance via a $1.5 million loan from the Teamster's. Fruehauf put up company stock as collateral for the loan but exercised the stock's voting rights in order to help keep control over his firm. The deal was first mentioned in an Associated Press Newswire story dated January 6, 1924:

“Battle Rages For Trailer Firm Control

“DETROIT, Jan. 26-(AP)-A battle for control of the Fruehauf Trailer Co., went on today between Roy Fruehauf, company head, and George J. Kolowich, president of the Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Co.

“The Wall Street Journal reported meanwhile that a third party, the AFL Teamsters union, was accumulating Fruehauf stock. Teamsters President Dave Beck told the Journal his union was buying up $1,500,000 worth of the trailer company's stock.

“The stock, he said, will pay 4 per cent and be voted at Fruehauf's direction.

“Kolowlch's navigation company, which formerly ran Great Lakes ships and is now a holding company, owns 130,900 shares of Fruehauf stock—the largest single block.

“Fruehalf's 65,740 shares of stock, combined with those of ‘associates’ and the voting power from the union-owned block, give him control over his company. This control is currently threatened by Kolowich, the Journal said.”

With the financial assistance of the the Teamsters, Fruehauf and Landa worked overtime to try and wrest control of the Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Co. from Kolowich. Their toil and trouble was rewarded on April 20, 1954 when they successfully won control of the Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Co. at their annual shareholders’ meeting, the Associated Press Newswire reporting on Wednesday, April 21, 1954:

“D&C Navigation Control Shifts; Fruehauf Group Gets 3 of 5 Board Posts

“Detroit, April 21 (AP) - The Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Co. may be purposely steered toward dissolution by a new group of directors who seized the company helm from Detroit financier George J. Kolowich.

“Alfons Landa, Washington attorney and member of a group which won control of the company Tuesday, said he had informed stockholders of the intent to dissolve D. & C. and return its estimated $7,000,000 in assets to them. Possible liquidation of the company was proposed by Mr. Landa when stockholders were asked to vote against continued Kolowich control.

“‘The company no longer serves any useful purpose,’ Landa said. ‘It is no longer a navigation company—just a holding company.’

“A final decision on dissolving the company, however, would be up to stockholders themselves.

“Mr. Landa is a member of a group headed by Roy Fruehauf, president of the Fruehauf Trailer Co., which defeated Kolowich in the annual election of the D. & C. board of directors. He also is one of three members the Fruehauf group succeeded in getting elected to the 5-man board.

“The other two members were Myer S. Fine, head of Associated Theaters of Cleveland, and Eugene H. Freedheim, director of the DeVorn Manufacturing Corp., Cleveland. Mr. Kolowich and John A. Hamilton both were re-elected.

“Ouster of Kolowich from control of the company, onetime operators of Great Lakes excursion vessels, ended a months-long bitter proxy fight.

“About six months ago Mr. Kolowich purchased 131,000 shares of Fruehauf stock for D. & C. That was enough for a seat on the board of the trailer-making firm. In retaliation Mr. Fruehauf formed a group which eventually acquired 77,500 shares of D.& C. stock outright and enough proxies to oust Mr. Kolowich.

“Besides losing control of D & C., Kolowich lost the voting strength of D. & C. owned Fruehauf stock. The pro-Fruehauf majority of the D. & C. board will vote it now.”

Control of the Detroit & Cleveland Navigation Co.’s board brought with it control of the Fruehauf Trailer Co. as D. & C. owned a controlling interest in Fruehauf. Just one week later, at Fruehauf’s May 2, 1954 annual shareholder’s meeting Roy A. Fruehauf officially regained control of the trailer company that bore his name, Time Magazine announced the news in their May 2, 1954 issue stating:

“In a proxy fight for control of a company, the embattled management usually considers itself victorious if it merely beats off the rebellious stockholders. But in Detroit last week, President Roy Fruehauf, of Fruehauf Trailer Co., biggest U.S. manufacturer of truck trailers, not only routed a rebel but took over the rebel's firm.”

On November 30, 1954 Fruehauf interests completed the liquidation of the Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Co., the Elyria (Ohio) Chronicle Telegram reporting:

“Liquidation Ends Bid For Control Of Fruehauf Co.

“The Fruehauf Trailer Co., which only recently won the largest single order of trailers in history, yesterday recorded a different victory—liquidation of a firm that had threatened to gain control of its stock and management.

“A group headed by Roy Fruehauf, president, and Alfons Landa, Fruehauf director and Washington, D. C. attorney, have announced substantial partial liquidation of Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Co., whose former president, previously had announced intentions of ‘taking over’ the Fruehauf Co.

“The Fruehauf interests captured control of D and C from George J. Kolowich in April, 1954. In July, 1953, Kolowich had purchased $3 million worth of Fruehauf stock and disclosed his effort to buy controlling interest.

“Promise Fulfilled

“The liquidation action was in fulfillment of a promise made to D and C stockholders by the Fruehauf-Landa interests when they initially sought to get control of D and C.

“This was the second notable achievement by Fruehauf in two months. The trailer concern recently obtained an order for nearly $35 million worth of truck trailers from a group of 12 midwest trucking firms.

“Most of the vans are being fabricated and assembled at the Fruehauf Avon Lake plant.”

During 1953 Fruehauf acquired the Brown Equipment & Manufacturing Co., of Westfield, Mass., an eastern producer of aluminum van-type semi-trailers, In 1954 they purchased the Hobbes Manufacturing and Hobbes Trailer and Equipment Co. of Fort Worth, Texas, a manufacturer of flat-bed trailers, tank trailers, and vans. Other mid-50's aquisitions included the Steel Products Engineering Co. of Springfield, Ohio, a manufacturer of tank and aircraft parts, and the Independent Metal Products Co., of Omaha. Nebraska, a pioneer manufacturer of tank trailers.

In 1954 the company introduced a longer trailer, the 35-foot Volume Van, and by 1956 68% of all vans purchased were of this length. (Previously, most vans had measured 32 feet; today most new vans are 40 to 45 feet long).

Soon after Roy Fruehauf reacquired control of the Fruehauf boardroom in 1954, Teamsters president Dave Beck approached him requesting a personal loan of $200,000. Although the federal government frowned upon such practices, Fruehauf was so grateful for Beck’s financial assistance that he took a chance and agreed to the loan. Attempting to cover his tracks, Fruehauf transferred the money to Beck via a third party, Burge Seymour, president of the Associated Transport Co. of New York. Although ‘the loan’ remained undiscovered for a long time, it became a big problem for all interested parties on July 3, 1956, the UPI reporting:

“Beck Denies Bribe Charge

“New York (UPI) – Former Teamsters Boss Dave Beck and two trucking executives entered innocent pleas yesterday to charges that Beck took $200,000 from them while he was head of the union.

“Federal Judge Gregory F. Noonan dismissed a warrant for Beck’s arrest that was issued Wednesday when Beck failed to appear for arraignment. Beck’s attorney said there had been a mix-up in dates.

“Beck was released on $2,500 bail. Noonan said a trial date would be set for Aug. 12.

“Roy Fruehauf, president of the Fruehauf Trailer Co., was released on $2,500 bail. Burge M. (aka Burt) Seymour, president of the Associated Transport Co., New York was released in his own custody.

“All three were accused in a federal grand jury indictment of violating the Taft-Hartley Law when Beck allegedly accepted the money in 1954.”

Shortly thereafter all three men (and Alfons Landa) were subpoenaed to appear before the US Senate's Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field which was chaired by Senator John L. McClellan and included such notables as John F. Kennedy, Frank Church, Barry Goldwater, Joseph McCarthy, and John's younger brother Robert Kennedy, who served as the government's chief counsel.

Complete transcripts of the hearing are available online from multiple sources and make for an interesting - but lengthy read. Between 1957 and 1960 the McClellan Committee's staff conducted 253 active investigations, served 8,000 subpoenas for witnesses and documents, held 270 days of hearings, took testimony from 1,526 witnesses (343 of whom invoked the Fifth Amendment), and compiled almost 150,000 pages of testimony. 

The Committee's first target was the Teamsters, and Beck's testimony - or lack thereof, he was one of the 343 – was covered by the Associated Press’ James Marlow in his March 28, 1957 column:

“Marlow Says Beck Has Made Lot Of Noise In Two Days

“James Marlow, Associated Press News Analyst

“WASHINGTON (AP) -For a man who tried to make like a clam, Dave Beck made a lot of noise. He ducked behind the Fifth Amendment to keep his mouth shut but insisted on keeping it open the better part of two days.

“The result: the roundish president of the Teamsters Union talked more and said less than any man in recent memory. But, except for raising questions about what he wouldn't tell, Beck managed to tell a Senate investigating committee very little.

“A witness before such a committee can rightfully use the Fifth Amendment to refuse answers to questions only if he thinks his replies might tend to incriminate him. Did Beck think his answers might tend to incriminate him?

“‘Definitely’, he said.

“But where another witness might mumble the amendment and shut up, Beck persisted on making a long statement, the same one over and over, bringing in not only the Fifth Amendment but also the Fourth Amendment dealing with search and seizure, the first three articles of the Constitution which establish the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, the committee's authority, and irrelevancy of the questions it asked.

“Can he get away with his almost blanket refusal to cooperate with the committee which is investigating his handling of union funds? Sen. McClellan (D-Ark), committee chairman, isn't sure and says he will find out.

“A man cited by Congress for contempt in refusing to answer questions can, if tried and convicted in federal court, be fined and jailed for a year.

“Ordinarily a witness using the Fifth Amendment can't be cited for contempt. But if he tries to choose what question to answer, and what to ignore by using the amendment, ha gets on ticklish ground.

“Beck did not follow his own rule of no answers 100 per cent. For example: He volunteered the information his union had authorized a 1½-million-dollar loan the Fruehauf Trailer Corp. which he said, paid it back in 14 months.

“But when committee counsel, Robert F. Kennedy, asked Beck if he himself had ever received money directly or indirectly from Fruehauf, Beck took the Fifth Amendment. Kennedy then asked this double-barreled one:

“Was Beck in trouble with the income tax people in 1954 because he had taken $320,000 from the union in the past? And had Beck gone to Fruehauf for $200,000 which he turned over to the union? Beck took the Fifth Amendment.

“It is a violation of federal law - the Taft-Hartley Act - for an employer to give money to a representative of any of his employees or for such a representative to accept money from such an employer.

“There is no such charge against Beck now. There is no charge against him by the income tax people. In fact, there is no charge of any kind against him at the moment. Beck says he'll come out of all this ‘clean and white.’

“But McClellan told Beck ‘evidence has been developed that you have misappropriated funds’ from the union. If so, it would no be a violation of any federal law since there is no federal law covering such an offense.

“If there was such an offense and it could be proved, the only action which could be taken against Beck would have to come under state law, on some such charge as larceny.”

Roy A. Fruehauf testified on May 13, 1957, the United Press reporting:

“WASHINGTON, May 13. (U.P.) —Trailer builder Roy Fruehauf testified today that he ‘indirectly’ loaned $175,000 to Teamster Union President Dave Beck in 1954 when Beck was under tax investigation by the Internal revenue Service.

“But he said he did not know Beck was having tax troubles and that the reason the labor leader wanted the money was never discussed. Fruehauf denied that he felt in making the loan that Beck's economic power in relation to the trucking industry represented ‘a pistol’ at his head.

“He said he aided Beck because the Teamsters Union had earlier put up $1,500,000 to help him win a proxy fight in his firm, Fruehauf Trailer Co. Fruehauf made his statements testimony before the Senate labor rackets committee. He was the day's first witness as the committee resumed its study of Beck's forays into business and finance.

“Fruehauf, a heavy-set, dark haired man, said he first met Beck about 1950 when they were members of an independent advisory committee to the trucking industry established after the outbreak of the Korean war. Beck, he said, was chairman of the group which met about once a month.

“Chronologically, Fruehauf said, his financial back-and-forth with Beck went this way.

“In 1953 the trailer company's management was ‘set on by a raider’ who bought a bloc of stock and started trying to depress the company's stock so as to gain control of more of it, The purchase, by George J. Kolowich, attracted considerable attention, Fruehauf said.

“At a committee meeting, he said, Beck asked, “‘why didn't you call on me?’” Later, he said, he did call Beck and told the labor leader he wanted him to buy $1,500,000 worth of his own firm's stock ‘in order to support the market.’

“In September 1953, Beck sent Fred Loomis, a financial adviser, and Simon Wampold, an attorney, to look into the situation. In October, Fruehauf said, the loan was granted after Beck and his aides met with Fruehauf and his Washington attorney, Alphonse Landa.

“The loan, he said, was made by the Teamsters Union to the Roy Fruehauf Foundation, ‘A charitable fund,’ and carried four per cent interest. The fund, he said, was worth between $65,000 and $100,000 at the time.

“Committee Counsel Robert F. Kennedy asked Fruehauf whether Beck asked for ‘any favors’ after the loan was granted. Fruehauf replied, ‘Oh, yes,’ and explained that the following year Beck asked him for a $200,000 loan.

“Fruehauf told Kennedy that Beck's reason for needing the money was not discussed. Fruehauf said Wampold explained at one point that Beck had properties which he didn't want to liquidate but did not explain Beck's need for the money.”

Burge M. Seymour’s testimony, which was given on the same day, follows courtesy of the Associated Press newswire:

“Hear Beck’s Kin Profited From Sale Of Toys To Union

“WASHINGTON, (AP) - The Senate Rackets Committee received evidence Monday that Dave Beck's relatives and friends made a profit of $180,000 Celling toy trucks and other merchandise, to the Teamsters Union.

“There also was testimony from Roy Fruehauf, a Detroit trailer manufacturer, that his company provided an automobile and chauffeur to haul Beck's niece and three girl friends around Europe last summer.

“The committee was told too that Beck, millionaire president of the Teamsters Union, got a $200,000 loan from Detroit industrialists at a time when he needed money to cover alleged withdrawals from the union treasury.

“This assertion came from Robert F. Kennedy, committee counsel, who said the loan was negotiated in 1954 when Beck was being pressed by federal income tax investigators for an explanation of what he had done with money missing from the treasury of the Western Conference of Teamsters.

“Carmine Bellino, the committee's accountant-investigator, told the senators the $180,000 profit accrued in 1953 and 1954 to the Union Merchandising Co. He said these men had an interest in the company:

“Dave Beck Jr., Norman Gessert, a relative of the elder Beck; Nathan Shefferman, a Chicago labor adviser to employers and a friend of Beck, and Shefferman's son, Shelton.

“$84,802 Profit On Trucks

“Reading his data into the committee's record, Bellino said the men made a profit of $84,802 selling the toy trucks to Teamsters locals all over the country at from $15 to $30 apiece. The rest of the profit, he said, was made selling furniture to the union for its lavish new headquarters building here.

“Bellino said none of the men put up any money for the toy truck deal. He reported Associated Transport, Inc., of New York and the Brown Equipment Co., a subsidiary, furnished $15,000 to get the toys manufactured.

“Bert M. Seymour, president, of Associated Transport, testified during the hearing that he had been under the impression the toy trucks were to be given away free as a stunt to publicize the use of union labels and popularize the use of trucks in interstate freight and local traffic.

“May Ask Refund

“Now that he has discovered his firm's, money was used to-make a profit for Beck's relatives and friends, Seymour said, he is having attorneys, look, into the situation to see whether legal action can be taken for recovery of the $15,000.

“Kennedy called Fruehauf, president of the Fruehauf Trailer Co., to testify about the 1954 loan to Beck.

“Fruehauf said his firm ‘indirectly’ loaned $175,000 to Beck, and that an additional $25,000 was loaned to the union president by the Brown Equipment Co.

“It was just before the committee recessed until Tuesday that Fruehauf told of being asked by Beck to arrange for the car and chauffeur for the European trip of Beck's niece and her companions.

“The party was identified in testimony only as ‘Miss Gessert, Miss Tobin, Miss Smith and Mrs. Irvine.‘

“Beck Paid Some

“Fruehauf testified the arrangement cost his firm ‘between at least $1,600 and $1,800’ for the gasoline and oil, but that Beck paid other charges, including the cost of the chauffeur's stay at a hotel.

“After the testimony about the Detroit loan, Kennedy said Beck repaid it in two payments, the first one for $163,215 on April 11, 1955. Kennedy said this amount was exactly what the union chief received at that time from the sale of his palatial Seattle home to the Teamsters Union, Beck and his family have  continued to occupy the house, rent free.

“In a Washington dispatch Monday, the Seattle Times reported it had learned from an 'unimpeachable source’ that Beck repaid the Western Conference of Teamsters about $100,000 on May 1.

“‘The$100,000 payment raises to $370,000 the amount Beck has reimbursed the union since his finances came under investigation,’ the newspaper said.

“Kennedy's Angle Different

“Kennedy furnished the committee with a different set of figures. Asked by a committee member what Beck did with the $200,000 Detroit loan, Kennedy said:

“‘Early in 1954 the Internal Revenue Service started an investigation. At that time, our investigation shows, Beck had taken $320,000 from the union treasury. Beck stuck the $200,000 back and said he had just been borrowing money… and would repay the rest. Since that time in 1956, Mr. Beck has paid another $70,000 or perhaps more to the union treasury.”

The immediate fallout for Fruehauf and Seymour was shortlived, and their testimony was never challenged by the committee and Dave Beck declined to seek re-election as Teamster President and was succeeded by James R. Hoffa. Although he never specifically served jail time for his dealings with Fruehauf, Beck was later convicted of income tax evasion and sent to jail for  3 years and was eventually pardoned by US President Gerald R. Ford in 1977. Fruehauf and Seymour were far luckier and although they became well-acquainted with the inside of a courtroom over the next decade, they both managed to stay out of jail.

In 1955 Fruehauf purchased a controlling interest in American Body & Equipment de Mexico, S. A. de C. V. Located in Col. Aragon, Mexico City, in 1967 the truck body manufacturer and distributor was renamed Fruehauf de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. By 1957 Fruehauf had either established, or acquired a controlling interest, in 7 more trailer manufacturing operations located outside of the country. The Strick Trailer Co. of Philcaldephia, Penn. and a related firm, The Gramm Trailer Co. of Delphos, Ohio were acquired in 1955, the March 19, 1955 issue of the Lima News reporting on the purchase of the Gramm plant:

“Gramm Confirms Sale of Delphos Plant

“Officials of Gramm Trailer Corp. confirmed today that the firm's Delphos plant has been sold to the Fruehauf Trailer Co., Detroit. The purchase was made from the Lima Realty Co., which had the plant, containing approximately 100,000 square feet of floor space, under lease to Gramm. The purchase price was not announced.

“Fruehauf said it will begin manufacturing operations at Delphos about May 1. The plant is being acquired to provide additional production capacity and will not replace any existing plants, a spokesman said.

“Leonard Strick, Gramm president, announced Thursday that his company had purchased the former Buckeye Machine Co. plant at E. O'Connor Ave. and the B&O tracks and will move all its operations to Lima before April 29.”

The Strick acquisition/merger was announced on January 10, 1956, the Dow Jones newswire reporting:

“Philadelphia. Jan. 30 — (DJ) Fruehauf Trailer Co. and Strick Co. in a joint statement announced that the manufacturing facilities of the Strick Plastics Corp. and the Strick Co. have been acquired by Fruehauf. The price was not disclosed.

“‘Plastics is the greatest unexplored field in America's rapidly growing motor transport industry. It offers tremendous and still unthought-of opportunities,’ Roy Fruehauf, president said.

“‘The acquisition of Strick plastics will bring Fruehauf together with a company already experimenting in the development of plastics for use in truck-trailers.’

“‘Within a few years thousands of truck-trailers on our highways may be constructed of plastic. The trend is toward the use of lighter weight materials in trailer building and continuing experiments may bring this material to the very forefront of the new manufacturing materials.’

“The Strick Co. was incorporated in 1922 as the Lambert Tire Co. In 1936 the name was changed to the Stick Co. Strick Plastics was incorporated in January 1955 and is engaged in manufacture of plastic panels and sheets principally for use in trailer bodies.”

On February 2, 1956 Fruehauf announced that they were constructing a plant in Atlanta, Georgia, the Lima News reporting:

“Fruehauf Firm To Build Plant In Atlanta Area

“Fruehauf Trailer Co. will build a new 100,000-square-foot truck trailer manufacturing plant in the Atlanta area this year. Roy Fruehauf, company president, announced today.

“The new plant will be the company's first in the Atlanta area, needed to link Fruehauf's coast-to-coast setup of 14 plants, Fruehauf said.

“The president predicted 1956 sales at ‘above 400 million dollars,’ for a gain of 70 per cent over the 1953 all-time high of 235 million dollars.

“The company, which has a plant in Delphos, two weeks ago bought two Philadelphia firms from Leonard Strick, president of Gramm Trailer Corp. The firms are the Strick Plastics Co. and Strick Trailer Co.”

The same paper’s March 19, 1956 issue announced that Fruehauf was also constructing a new trailer plant in Philadelphia:

“Strick To Construct New Trailer Plant

“Strick Trailers, a division of Fruehauf Trailer Co., will build a new 200,000 square-foot truck-trailer manufacturing plant in the Philadelphia area this year.

“Increased business of the firm was said to have made expansion a necessity. Sales during the first two months of 1956 were more than double the figures for the same period last year.

“The Strick division and Strick Plastics Corp. were acquired by Fruehauf in January. Leonard Strick, president of Gramm Trailer Corp., was a major stockholder and board member in both. Gramm has been in the former Buckeye Machine Co. plant, E. O'Connor Ave. and the B&O, since last March, when it sold its Delphos plant to Fruehauf. Strick is sole common stock shareholder in Gramm.”

The flurry of acquisitions attracted the attention of the Federal Trade Commission, the August 27, 1956 Associated Press Newswire announcing that the F.T.C. was formally charging Fruehauf with violating the anti-merger and anti-monopoly laws:

“WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 (AP) – The Federal Trade Commission Sunday accused the Fruehauf Trailer Co. of Detroit, the world's largest maker of truck-trailers, with violating the antimerger law by acquiring five competitors or suppliers in the past nine years.

“Fruehauf also was charged with building a ‘potential monopoly power to frustrate the growth or survival of its small competitors’ by offering its customers special credit deals which rival manufacturers could not match.

“Dominant In Industry

“The antimerger count of the two-count complaint said Fruehauf had increased its dominance in the industry by mergers that are threat to competition and accordingly violate the Clayton Antirust Act.

“Fruehauf's own share of a market in which there are about 100 manufacturers is 37 per cent, the FTC said, but with the acquired companies it accounts for more than 48 per cent.

“The second count charges that Fruehauf has reinforced its dominance by offering ‘abnormal financing’ to prospective buyers of its products through the services of its wholly-owned financing subsidiary, the Fruehauf Trailer Finance Co.

“Pricing Challenged

“Various pricing, financing, down payment, leasing and trade-in methods of Fruehauf, including loans made to actual or potential customers, were challenged in the complaint.

“The FTC estimated that Fruehauf's sales in 1955 totaled more than 181 million dollars, out of total sales of new trailers amounting to 371 million dollars.

“The companies whose acquisition was challenged were: Carter Manufacturing Co., Inc., and Carter, Inc., Memphis, Tenn., producers of an aluminum truck trailer, acquired in 1947. Brown Equipment and Manufacturing Co., Westfield, Mass., producer of aluminum truck-trailers, acquired in 1953. Hobbs Manufacturing Co., Fort Worth, Tex., and Hobbs Trailer and Equipment Co., Dallas, producers of various truck-trailers, acquired last October. Strick Plastic Corp., Perkasie, Pa., and Strick Corp., Philadelphia, acquired last January. Strick is the third largest manufacturer in the industry and specializes in aluminum truck trailers. Independent Metal Products Co. Omaha, Neb., acquired in April, a former supplier to Fruehauf of tank shells for trailers.

“The company was given 30 days in which to answer the complaint. A hearing was scheduled for Oct. 30 in Detroit before an FTC hearing examiner.”

Fruehauf answered the charges in a brief statement that was carried by the Associated Press newswire on August 30, 1956:

“Detroit, Aug. 30 (AP) – The Fruehauf Trailer Co. Has denied Federal Trade Commission charges that its operations lessened competition and resulted in a monopoly. President Roy Fruehauf said acquisition of five competitors in the past nine years was not in violation of federal anti-merger laws.”

During the month of September Fruehauf issued a press release that was carried by a number of small newspapers as an editorial:

“Everybody - in politics at least - appears to be the bosom pal of ‘small business’. The Democrats insist they are, while assailing the Republicans as the party of ‘big business’. The GOP cites, in reply, its benevolence to the small business man through the transformation of the former RFC into the Small Business Administration, and promises in its platform ‘positive measures to help small business get started and grow . The Democratic platform promises small businesses (among other things) a reformation of the SBA that will ‘render genuine assistance in fulfilling their needs and solving their problems’.

“What makes all this a little confusing is the fact that the Government now has an independent, tax-paying (not tax-consuming) manufacturer on the carpet for actually performing what the two parties so loudly promise.

“The Federal Trade Commission is ‘cracking down’ on the Fruehauf Trailer Company for the outstanding aid it has rendered truckers—who constitute one of-the most typical, and certainly most vital, ‘small business’ industries of the nation. Specifically, the Government lawyers charge Fruehauf with violation of the anti-merger law by acquiring five other firms in the transportation equipment industry, and with violation of the Federal Trade Act in owning its own finance company and giving its customers more financing help than they can get elsewhere.

“In his reply to the FTC complaint, Roy Fruehauf, president of the company, denies that the acquisition of ‘some of the assets’ of the five other companies has lessened competition or resulted in monopoly. In enabling his company to provide improved products and services, he feels that these acquisitions have helped in the tremendous growth of the highway transportation industry — and hence enlarged competition rather than reduced it.

“This growth, Mr. Fruehauf points out, was made possible by time payment terms on equipment, and his finance company supplied capital to ‘a multitude of small businesses whose needs could not be supplied by short term commercial bank lenders and who could not compete for funds in the long-term capital market with large corporate borrowers’.

“The company, he says, ‘has done more for the small business man in the trucking industry than any other agency devised by private or Governmental initiative’, and adds that its customers are always free to pay cash or to arrange financing elsewhere.

“Traditionally, the highway transportation firm begins with a man and a truck, He prospers as he serves—and expands as he can. Collectively, he has become a great industry, as evidenced by the fact that everything we eat, wear or use travels at least part of the way by truck and truck-trailer. To have played a conspicuous role in the development of this universal service to the American people deserves a better reward than a Federal complaint. At least, that’s the way we read the party platforms.”

Fruehauf officially answered the suit on December 20, 1956, the Associated Press reporting:

“Washington (AP) - The Fruehauf Trailer Co., one of the nation's biggest truck-trailer manufacturers, has denied government charges that it violated anti-trust laws in acquiring five competitors in the last nine years.

“The Detroit firm said the acquisitions were in the ‘public interest’ as well as the interests of the firms involved. Fruehauf also claimed the circumstances surrounding each purchase were such as to free them from anti-merger laws.

“The firm's statements came in an answer it filed with the Federal Trade Commission in response to an FTC complaint. Fruehauf said that while in some cases it bought up all the assets of a firm, in other instances it merely acquired part of their assets.

“The firm denied that it is exercising potential monopoly powers in the industry to block the growth or survival of small competitors by offering special financing deals. Fruehauf also denied and has denied government charges that it violated anti-trust laws in acquiring five competitors in the last nine years.

“Fruehauf also denied an FTC statement that it is the nation's biggest maker of truck-trailers, it asked that the FTC complaint be dismissed.

“The competitors acquired by Fruehauf and named in the FTC complaint were:

“Carter Manufacturing Co. Inc., Memphis,Tenn.;  Brown Equipment & Manufacturing Co., Westfield, Mass.; Hobbs Manufacturing Co., Fort Worth, Tex.; Strick Corp., Philadelphia, Pa., and Independent Metal Products Co., Omaha, Neb.”

In order to better compete in an increasingly competitive mid-50's truck-trailer market Fruehauf Trailer Co. instituted a number of cost-cutting measures during 1956, one of which included a scheme to reduce the company’s excise tax burden by lowering the official wholesale prices of Fruehauf trailers to their distributors. To make up the difference, Fruehauf would then bill the customer for 'services,' which were not subject to the excise tax, such as advertising and record keeping, etc.

According to later court testimony (in 1975) the scheme originated with Fruehauf vice president William E. Grace (later Fruehauf chairman) and controller Robert D. Rowan (later Fruehauf president). Fruehauf's tax attorneys considered the scheme legal, on the condition that all 'services' billed were actually performed.

The IRS subsequently issued a regulation forbidding the exclusion of advertising costs from a manufacturer’s excise tax base. Fruehauf's tax attorneys came up with a simple 'work-around' - they simply changed the word 'advertising' on the invoices to 'printed matter, catalogues, etc.' believing that they were once again incompliance with the IRS.

Although the scheme served to increase the firm's profits by a substantial margin ($12.3 million to be exact) over the next decade, a 1969 IRS audit uncovered the 'irregular accounting methods' and the Department of Justice brought charges of tax evasion against Fruehauf Corp., Grace and Rowan.

In 1957 Fruehauf entered into a manufacturing agreement with the Coleman Engineering Co. of Los Angeles, Calif., to construct the Cole-Vac tarmac vacuum, which was first described in the May 15, 1957 issue of Automotive Industries:

“New Airfield Vacuum Cleaner

“Coleman Engineering Company, Inc., has announced completion of a license agreement with the Fruehauf Trailer Co. to manufacture and sell the Fruehauf Cole-Vac airfield vacuum cleaner. It was indicated that initial manufacture would be done by Fruehauf in its West Coast plant.

“The airfield vacuum was designed specifically by the Coleman Co. to clean runways for the protection of jet airplanes. Coleman will continue to handle design and engineering work on the unit, while Fruehauf will be the manufacturer handling sales and service on a national and international basis. The 28-ft-long Fruehauf Cole-Vac is mounted on a standard commercial truck chassis and is powered by a regular truck engine. It can clean at a speed of 25 miles an hour. A separate engine powers the vacuum system.”

Based in Los Angeles, the Coleman Engineering Co. was a leading defense and aerospace sub-contractor founded by Theodore C. Coleman. The vacuum was Developed by the Coleman Engineering Co. under an ARDC (US Air Research and Development Command) contract, and was covered in greater detail in the a late-1957 issue of Naval Aviation News:

“Airfield Vacuum Cleaners

“Navy to Purchase for Evaluation

“Under contract with the Air Force ARDC, at Wright-Patterson AFB., the Coleman Engineering Company designed and built a prototype Cole-Vac airfield vacuum cleaner last year. The design was successful, and the Coleman Company entered into a licensing agreement with the Fruehauf Trailer Company to manufacture them. The Navy is purchasing a number of Fruehauf Cole-Vacs for evaluation. They consist essentially of a commercial truck chassis on which is mounted a vacuum system with provisions for picking up, separating, and retaining the debris picked up from airfield pavements.

“The Cole-Vac is operated by one man from a cab high at the rear of the unit. The truck chassis is reversed to facilitate placing the nozzle intake ahead of the vehicle, and to obtain maneuverability of the nozzle end by use of rear wheel steering.

“Vacuum is produced by a two-stage axial-flow fan driven by a gas engine. A major portion of the fan exhaust is recirculated to the nozzle area to increase pickup efficiency by air agitation. This agitation of small and large particles assists the suction in the vacuum nozzle in picking up all forms of debris ranging from sand to two inch diameter rocks and one inch diameter steel bars three inches long. The Fruehauf Cole-Vac can clean at speeds of 25 mph. It was designed to clean up to 1,000,000 square feet an hour, and may be the answer to unnecessary damage to jet engines.”

The second pictured of the Cole-Vac appeared in the January 1958 issue of Flying with the following caption:

“Unless careful, the lady here with the ordinary household vacuum cleaner is likely to be gobbled up by the giant vacuum cleaner bringing up the rear. Behind her is the new Fruehauf Cole-Vac airfield cleaner which, operating at 25 mph, will clean a million square feet an hour of the debris that could seriously damage jet plant engines. This particular giant is presently in use at Boeing’s transport division field in Renton. Washington.”

In 1957, Fruehauf's Strick Trailer subsidary  partnered with the New York Central Railroad on an early intermodal transportation system dubbed the Flexi-Van, the April 2, 1957 issue of the Elyria Chronicle Telegram reporting:

“'Flexivan' To Be Built: NYC, Fruehauf Reveal Transportation Plan

“New York Central Railroad and Fruehauf Trailer Co. this morning jointly unveiled a new package form of freight transportation—the "Flexi-Van service"—which will involve the production facilities of Fruehauf s Avon Lake plant

“The demonstration, linking shipping facilities provided by the world's largest trailer producer and the nation's second largest railroad, was held in New York City.

“The demonstration heralded a major order from the NYC to Fruehauf for production of specially-designed freight carriers adaptable to transportation on trailer chassis on highways to ‘piggyback’ operations on railroad flatcars and to ‘fishyback’ operations on barges and other vessels.

“The trailer concern's president Roy Fruehauf, this morning, said that without a doubt the Avon Lake plant, Fruehauf's largest assembly facility, will get some of the FlexiVan production work.

“The first order from the railroad may go as high as 1,000 trailers, Fruehauf added, and, if the package freight service proves successful, future possibilities are unlimited, he said.

“NYC Participation limited

“Up to now the New York Central has participated little in the piggyback operations which have been popular with some railroads. In that process, loaded trailers, on their chassis, are driven onto railroad flatcars. In fishback operations, loaded trailer boxes, without their chassis, are swung onto barges or other freight vessels.

“The new Flexi-Van, designed by Fruehauf personnel to meet exact specifications of the NYC, differs somewhat from the trailer boxes used in both other operations, but it may be used, interchangeably on rail, waterway or truck carriers.

“Alfred E. Perlman, president of the NYC, officiated today at the first public showing of the revolutionary new universal-purpose type of freight carrier at the railroad's yards in New York City. Representatives of the Interstate Commerce Commission, public service commissions, Defense Department, water shipping line officials and important rail shippers attended the event and later were guests at a luncheon at which Perlman and Fruehauf were among the speakers.

“Strick Trailers, a division of Fruehauf, built the truck-trailer which was used for the demonstration.

“New Cars To Be Built

“Perlman announced the railroad plans an order for a sizeable fleet of the new trailers to serve key points throughout its territory with Flexi-Van service. Although ordinary flatcars may easily be adapted for the service, the Central plans to have lighter weight, lower flatcars manufactured for use with the new trailer package. The NYC president said the railroad hopes to begin operating Flexi-Van service by summer.

"Flexi-Van combines the low cost advantages of rail transportation with flexibility of truck-highway operation," Perlman noted. Fruehauf cited the demonstration as a ‘highly significant’ step-in development of better transportation facilities.

"The carrying of loaded truck-trailers on railway flat cars exploded into new high level in 1956. The Central's new Flexi-Van service promises to boost this sensational growth both on the rails and in the operations in which loaded truck trailers are carried aboard trailer-ships."

The Flexi-van required the use of specially constructed rail cars which were equipped with dual rotating tables, that allowed a teamster to back up his tractor-trailer at right angles to the rail car whose table was rotated 90 degrees to accept the first of two Strick cargo containers. After releasing the locking pins that secured the cargo box to the trailer, the 40 foot container would then be pushed from the trailer to the flat car, and the table returned to its normal postion and locked in place.

Each trailer could accomodate two 40 foot containers and the dual turntable setup allowed two trailers to be loaded on or off the flatcar simultaneously, further increasing the efficiency of the Flexi-Van system. After evaluating a number of competing systems, New York Central engineers and executives decided to go with the Felix-Van concept, and on August 6, 1957 the Associated Press announced that Strick had been awarded an $8 million contract from the New York Central Railroad:

“NYC Places Order For ‘Piggy-Backs’

“NEW YORK,, Aug. 5 (AP) – The New York Central Railroad and its subsidiary, New York Central Transport Co., will place orders this week for more than eight million dollars worth of ‘piggyback’ freight equipment, it was announced today.

The railroad is buying 150 specially designed flatcars, each capable of carrying two truck vans, from Strick Trailers of Philadelphia, a division of Fruehauf Trailer Co. Also to be ordered are truck and trailer units.”

Although Roy Fruehauf’s questionable exicse tax bookkeeping scheme helped reduce Fruehauf's debt, Fruehauf's board of directors brought in Hobbs Trailer Co. executive and shareholder William E. Grace to try and resolve the firm's still substantial financial problems.

Grace succeeded where Fruehauf could not, and by reducing inventories, cutting expenses, and introducing cost plus accounting methods, he turned a 1958 loss of $5.5 million into a 1959 pre-tax profit of $27 million. At the next board meeting Grace was elected president and chief executive officer, at which time Roy A. Fruehauf retired, although he remained as chairman of the board into 1961.

Fruehauf's retirement came just as he, former Teamsters president Dave Beck and Associated Transport preident Burge Seymour were indicted by a Federal Grand Jury in regards to the $200,000 loan that Beck had received from the 2 business men in 1954, the June 17, 1959 Associated Press Newswire reporting:

“NEW YORK (AP) – Former Teamsters Union President Dave Beck and two prominent trucking company executives were indicted by a federal grand jury today for what was termed a mysterious $200,000 payment to Beck in 1954. Those named with Beck were Roy Fruehauf of Birmingham, Mich., president of the Fruehauf Trailer Co. of Detroit; and Burge Seymour of Litchfield County, Conn., president of the Associated Transport, Inc., of New York.

“Beck and the others were charged with violations of Taft-Hartley Act provisions forbidding a union officer from accepting payments from management officials, and vice versa.

“Beck still was Teamsters Union president at the time of the alleged payment. And his union represented employees of the two firms.

“The indictment did not specify the purpose of the purported payment and U.S. Atty. S. Hazard Gillespie declined to elaborate.

“Fruehauf and Seymour admitted a payment in testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor Management Field on May 13, 1957. They said they made the payment jointly to Beck on the date given in the indictment, June 21, 1954.

“The companies also were named as defendants, along with the Brown Equipment and Manufacturing Co., a subsidiary of Associated Transport. The defendants are scheduled to enter their pleas to the charges on June 24. If convicted, the individuals could receive a maximum sentence of a year in prison and a $10,000 fine each. Each of the companies could be fined $10,000.”

All three defendants entered not guilty pleas at the rescheduled July 2, 1959 hearing, the United Press International newswire reporting:

“NEW YORK (UPI) — Former Teamsters Union President Dave Beck pleaded innocent Thursday in federal court where he is accused of receiving $200,000 from two truck company executives in violation of the Taft-Hartley Law.

“Beck was released in $2,500 bail. A trial date will be set Aug. 12. Roy Fruehauf, president of the Fruchauf Trailer Co. also was released on $2,500 bail, and Burge M. Seymour, president of Associated Transport, Inc., was released in his own custody.

“Both Fruehauf and Seymour pleaded innocent of the charges through their attorneys. Louis Nizer, representing Fruehauf, said the money transaction five years ago between his client and Beck was an ‘honest and above board personal loan.’

“The loan was at 4 per cent interest and was repaid a year later, Nizer said.

“A warrant for Beck's arrest was issued Wednesday by Federal Judge Gregory F. Noonan when Beck failed to appear for arraignment. Noonan dismissed the warrant Thursday following an explanation from Beck's attorney that there was a mixup in dates.

“The Taft-Hartley Law specifies that no employer may give money to a union official who represents his employees. The defendants could receive a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $10,000 fine. The two firms also could he fined $10,000.”

The trial was scheduled for February 18, 1960 and lasted only a couple of hours, the Associated Press newswire reporting:

“U.S. Court Clears Beck In $200,000 Loan Case

“NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge Thursday dismissed an indictment that accused Dave Beck, retired Teamster union president, of violating the Taft-Hartley Act by accepting a $200,000 loan in 1954 from trucking interests.

“Also cleared were two trucking company officials and three companies named in the indictment.

“U.S. Dist. Judge Sidney Sugarman upheld the contention of defense attorneys that a Taft-Hartley amendment in 1959 prohibiting passage of loans of ‘things of value’ between an employer and a union official did not apply to a loan made five years earlier.

“'Pure and Simple'

“The judge said the transaction was ‘pure and simple, a loan.’ Besides Beck, the defendants cleared were Burge Seymour, president of Associated Transport Inc., New York; Roy Fruehauf, president of Fruehauf Trailer Co., Detroit; both of these companies, and Brown Equipment & Manufacturing Co., a subsidiary of Associated.

“The judge said the government could appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court in 30 days. Justice Department officials in Washington said there will be an appeal ‘on grounds that the court's holding is contrary to court holdings in two previous cases involving the same issue.’”

The US Justice Department made good on their threat, filing an appeal on January 11, 1961. That trial commenced on October 1, 1962 before Judge Wilfred Feinberg, Chief Justice of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City. All concerned were acquitted once again, The Associated Press Newswire reporting:

“Beck Comes Out A Court Winner

“NEW YORK, Nov. 2 (AP) - Dave Beck, the former laundry truck driver who was a millionaire by the time he stepped out as head of the Teamsters union, won another court fight last night.

“A federal court jury acquitted him of charges that he illegally borrowed $200,000 from trucking concerns. Acquitted also were the two trucking executives and three corporations charged with him as result of the 1954 transaction.

“But prison still awaits the 68 year-old former labor leader who preceded James R. Hoffa as boss of the vast teamsters organization.

“Beck was temporarily released from a federal prison near Seattle to stand trial here.

“The jury, seven men and five women, had tried to report itself deadlocked in considering the loan case. U. S. Dist. Judge Wilfred Feinberg sent them back into deliberation, and 45 minutes later the acquittals were announced.

“Acquitted with Beck were Roy Fruehauf of Birmingham, Mich., and the firm he formerly headed, Fruehauf Trailer Company of Detroit; Burge Seymour of Washington, Conn., and the company he heads. Associated Transport, incorporated, of New York; and the Brown Equipment and Manufacturing company, a subsidiary of Associated Transport.”

In order to better compete in an increasingly competitive mid-50's truck-trailer market Roy Fruehauf instituted a number of cost-cutting measures, one of which included a scheme to reduce the company’s excise tax burden.

Fruehauf officially lowered the price of truck trailers to customers, thereby reducing the excise tax. To make up the difference, Fruehauf would then bill the customer for  'services,'  which were not subject ot e the excise tax, such as advertising and record keeping, etc. Fruehauf's tax attorneys considered the scheme legal, on the condition that all 'services' billed were actually performed.

The IRS subsequently issued a regulation forbidding the exclusion of advertising costs from a manufacturer’s excise tax base, at which time Fruehauf simply changed the word 'advertising' to 'printed matter, catalogues, etc.' without any study of the company’s true cost for such materials. Turned out that decision was a big mistake.

July 6 1960 Delphos Courant:


“Fruehauf, Pioneers In Trailer Making Joined The Delphos family In 1955

By Northrup Grieve  - This week thanks are due Mr. C. F. Mitasik of the Fruehauf Trailer Company for supplying us with much of the information for the following article.

"The Customer Is Boss!" This slogan of Fruehauf Trailer Company has often been used to illustrate the circumstances under which the organization was founded in 1899. Here To Serve

“The story is often told how August Fruehauf, founder and first president, hammered together in his Detroit blacksmith shop his first trailer for Detroit lumber dealer. The dealer wanted to transport his stock in trade with more efficiency and expedition than could he obtained by using the day's horse-drawn dray. Finally, very impressed with the job, the dealer returned to the Fruehauf shop and asked Mr. Fruehauf to build him a vehicle for carrying lumber. He agreed and the result was a semi-trailer, with platform chassis and stake sides, hard rubber wheels that looked like they were sturdy enough for those of a gun carriage. The original trailer rests today in the engineering-research department of Fruehauf Company — a proud tribute to 30+ years of continuous use and a reminder of a famous company slogan occasionally used yet today — ‘A horse-can pull more than it can carry.’

The Delphos branch, one of sixteen plants in operation today under the Fruehauf Company banner, was established at the site of the Old Gramm Trailer Company in May, 1955. Besides the plant here, trailers and parts bearing the Fruehauf name are made at Avon Lake near Cleveland in the world's largest trailer plant; in Detroit, the main branch and headquarters; Fort Wayne, Indiana where stainless steel products are made; one in Chicago, two in Philadelphia and one in Perkasie.

“Truly World-Wide

“No one need do without Fruehauf products.

“In Canada there is the Fruehauf Trailer Company of Canada, Ltd. with its own plant in Toronto, Ontario and with factory branches throughout that country. Making Fruehauf truly international are Fruehauf Trailers S. A. Industria Commercio, Sao Paulo, Brazil and Fruehauf, S. A. Auxerre, France. The company also has negotiations with the Scandinavian countries — plus 78 distributors in other foreign countries. With this the company may assert: ‘Fruehauf leads the world in trailer manufacture, sales and service.’

“Various types of trailers ranging from livestock trailers, flats carryalls, various tank trailers and bulk haul trailers for transporting cement, grain, etc., to military transport equipment are manufactured in Fruehauf plants throughout the world.

“Military Equipment A Specialty

“Here at Delphos Fruehauf manufactures a combination of products. Commercial trailers are produced as well as ground support equipment for military customers, consisting of tank and missile carriers, and many other items. Refrigerated commercial products are also a specialty here. Fruehauf Trailers here has a payroll of 220, six of which are employed in administrative offices. All of its buildings are housed primarily under one roof with the exception of the paint shop which is a separate building. The company has an overall coverage of 34 acres together with 150,000 sq. ft. of floor space available for manufacturing. Twelve foremen oversee plant operations. Raw materials used at the plant here include plywood and plastics that are used for insulating our foamed-in-place refrigerated trailers.

“Fruehauf is on the spot metal products are both fabricated and assembled in the Delphos plant for customers and also are made into various types of trailers.

“Steps Toward Progress

“Fruehauf, sales wise, is progressing annually. Sales are tallied on a 0-month basis and in the past six months, the Delphos plant alone has produced a volume business which netted approximately $3,000,000. Most Fruehauf products are subject to export.

“It is a world-wide sales organization in which Delphos plant has a share. However, only commercial products are exported from here. Methods of transportation used are rail and the Fruehauf Drive-a-Way System. The Fruehauf family doesn't as yet have a pension retirement age, but the company has a profit-sharing plan for its supervising and administrative people. The Delphos plant has recently expanded its internal facilities and the amount of $100,000 was allotted to set up materials here. In the past year, Fruehauf spent $30,000 for machine equipment for Delphos. The first phases of a 2-year maintenance program for roof repairs will be begun the last two weeks in July. For the fall, the company is anticipating a new heating system which will be changed over to a gas infinite type heating.

“According to Mr. C. F. Mitasik, the Delphos plant is capable of growth and expansion which is subject of course to the prosperity of the times. He further stated: ‘If I can personally make it come true, I will.’ Thus we salute the youngest member of the Delphos family of industry — Fruehauf Trailer Company.”

Under Grace’s leadership, the Fruehauf Trailer Company continued to expand and diversify. In order to reflect its broader interests, the company changed its name in 1963 to the Fruehauf Corporation. Then, in 1964 Fruehauf announced its “total transportation” philosophy, seeking to participate in businesses covering all phases of the transportation industry. To that end, it acquired the Magor Railcar Company of New Jersey in 1964, expanded into manufacturing cargo containers, as well as cranes and other unloading equipment for ships. In 1968 Fruehauf acquired the Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock Company of Baltimore and the following year took over the Jacksonville Shipyards in Florida.

Between 1960 and 1970, Fruehauf France developed its position on the home market using a network of branch offices and sales outlets, while Fruehauf International developed in Europe.

Fruehauf’s overseas operations were controlled by a wholly-owned subsidiary, Fruehauf International Limited. FIL owned a one-third interest in Crane Fruehauf Ltd., its British affiliate.

In 1961 Fruehauf International Ltd. formed Crane Fruehauf Ltd., in partnership with Cranes (Dereham) Ltd., the latter firm being manufacturers of the world’s largest trailers and Fruehauf being the world's largest manufacturer of trailers. The August 25, 1961 issue of The Commercial Motor reported on the merger:

“GUY CRANE, the administrative director of Cranes (Dereham), Ltd., is endeavouring to ensure that, before long, his company will become one of the acknowledged leaders of the world trailer industry. It has already been announced that Cranes have formed a new company jointly with Fruehauf International, Ltd., a subsidiary of Fruehauf Trailer Company, of Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A., to build and sell semi-trailers. A much bigger production of trailers will be carried out, both at Dereham and in a substantial new works being built at North Walsham, a Norfolk town near the present headquarters of the firm. The new company, Crane Fruehauf Trailers. Ltd., will, it is hoped, build up to employ a considerable labour force.

“I asked Guy Crane, young for his 53 years, thickset, and with a restless energy, to tell me how and why this merger had been achieved. 'My father, who built the business, died in May. 1960,' he said. 'Until the last few years of his life he ruled it — and my brother and I as well. About five years ago he had talks in Paris with a Fruehauf executive. We had for some time known that this large U.S. trailer company was interested in setting up in Great Britain.'

“'For many reasons we decided to go in with them. They have very considerable reserves and have a wide field of influence in the international trailer business. But it is no one-sided bargain. We have much experience to exchange with Fruehauf.'

“Guy Crane told me this with some diffidence. He obviously did not want to take too personal a credit in a business which had, until the past few years, been controlled by his father and which, in any case, he manages jointly with his brother, sales director John Crane. John Crane, a skilled engineer with a Cambridge engineering degree, is no less than 15 years younger than his brother, Guy.

“The Crane engineering business grew out of a Norfolk village blacksmith's shop, opened by Guy, and John Crane's grandfather a century ago. The smith's younger son, W. F. Crane, became a qualified engineer and, in 1913, set up an agricultural engineering business at Dereham. It was after the 1914-18 war, influenced by contact with R. A. Dyson, of Liverpool, that Cranes began to build trailers.

“It was in 1929, when Guy Crane first joined the firm, that it produced its first trailer for Pickfords, capable of taking 100-ton loads. It seemed the ultimate in trailer production. Now some are twice as big and the limiting factor is not the building of the trailers, but road engineering restrictions.

“W. F. Crane chose a public school for his son's education, but later submitted him to a considerable contrast. Guy Crane, at 17, began his engineering training at a steel foundry in Fifeshire, living with a steelworker and his family. It proved also to be an introduction to Left Wing politics. 'It has not made me a lifelong Socialist,' says Guy Crane with a smile, 'but I think it has helped me to understand and appreciate the men who do the work.'

“He then went for a year to Dennis Bros., Ltd., at Guildford, and for two more years to the Pickfords repair depot, to Wright's foundry at Birmingham, who manufacture the famous Radiation gas stoves, and to a small factory making axles. Then, following office experience with Pickfords, Guy Crane might have been thought ready to join the family firm to train for an executive position. First, however, came 12 months of world travel as purser's clerk with the Blue Funnel Line.

“Office Untouched

“The place that W. F. Crane occupied is illustrated by the fact that his office at the Dereham works remains just as he left it, its solid furniture and general air of austerity characterize the man and his undoubted success in his chosen industry.

“'I would not call myself a practical engineer,' says Guy Crane. 'I have a considerable knowledge of engineering — how could it be otherwise after 32 years here. I much prefer to call myself an administrator.'

“'I can take but little credit for the fact that we make some of the biggest and best trailers in the world. They are built under patents which we hold and the credit for the Crane technical prowess belongs to our chief designer and technical director, Mr. W. D. Chaplin.'

“'I spend my time looking after our general administration, policy, planning and purchasing. I have a keen interest in our promotional activities, particularly in my liaison with our advertising agents and public relations consultants. I also have an eye to all financial matters, but I have had to learn to delegate and to use the keen minds around me to the best advantage for us all. Cranes now have a most excellent team of specialist directors and executives, who contribute greatly towards our success.'

“Tenfold Increase

“Thirty years ago, the firm employed 25 men; this has increased tenfold. Much of this progress has been in the last six years and never have men been stood off for lack of work.

“Guy Crane lives with his wife and family in a former rectory in a Norfolk village. He has three children: a daughter taking a diploma course, a daughter of 12 at boarding school, and a son who is studying at an agricultural college. When he can get away from the cares of business, he loves to sail his 20-ft. cruiser on the Norfolk rivers and Broads. He tries his hand at oil painting, and he explores churches and country inns.

“But his ability to relax away from the office is going to be severely limited during the next few months. Like his father before him, he will want to supervise everything that has to be done and, further, ensure that it is well done before Crane Fruehauf Trailers, Ltd., begin production at North Walsham next year. C.M.H.”

The obituary column of the April 30, 1962 issue of the Holland Evening Sentinel (Holland, Michigan) reported the passing of Harry R. Fruehauf:

“Harry Fruehauf, 65, Died Following Operation

“Detroit - Harry Fruehauf, first vice president of Fruehauf Trailer Co., died Sunday at Harper Hospital following an operation. He was 65. Fruehauf, who was associated with the trailer company which bears his family name for 50 years, had been a director of the firm since 1918. He is survived by a son, Harry Jr., who is manager of the Fruehauf branch in Detroit.”

Roy A. Freuhauf passed away on October 30, 1965, his obituary was carried in the following day's New York Times:

“Roy A. Fruehauf Dies At Age of 57; Trailer Company’s Ex-Head Figured in Rackets Inquiry

“Special to The New York Times; November 01, 1965,

“Royal Oak, Mich., Oct 31 – Roy August Fruehauf, former board chairman of the Fruehauf Trailer Company, died late yesterday in the William Beaumont Hospital in this Detroit suburb, he was 57.

“Mr. Fruehauf had collapsed at his home in West Bloomfield Township. Death was attributed to a cerebral hemorrhage.

“Started as Errand Boy

“Roy Fruehauf hitched his success in the trailer business to more than his father’s name. He learned about trailers in the days when they were horse-drawn; he drove early motorized models around the country to attract buyers and worked his way up until he had supervised every operation of the company.

“From running errands in his father’s blacksmith shop and wagon factory on a small dirt road in Detorit before World War I, Mr. Fruehauf rose to a position where he could be accused of arranging an illegal $200,000 load to Dave Beck, then president of the International Brotherhood of the Teamsters.

“He was indicted and finally acquitted. But the revelations at the Senate inquiry put him under a cloud that was never fully dispersed.

“Under pressure from stockholders, Mr. Fruehauf resigned as chairman in 1962. He retained his position as a director until 1961, when he withdrew from the company completely. He had no formal tie to the worldwide $300 million manufacturing concern at his death.

“The youngest of four brothers, Mr. Fruehauf was born in Frazer, Mich., in 1908. He was 6 when his father, August Charles Fruehauf, built his first trailer. In 1923 Roy left Detroit for Principia College in Elsah, Ill., but left four years later, shortly before he was to graduate.

“Knew Every Nut and Bolt

“From then on, Mr. Fruehauf was in the trailer business to stay. Working in a now-expanded company, he learned, as he once said, ‘every nut and bolt that went into the trailers.’

“He used demonstrations to sell his product. Once he drove a trailer to Iowa to interest a potential buyer; and a favorite trick of his was to drive the huge machine to the edge of Chicago docks to probe their maneuverability.

“Promoted from salesman to sales manager, he opened the West to trailers. He was made vice-president of Western sales, sales vice-president, then operations vice president. By 1949 Mr. Fruehauf was president of an $8.5 million company.

“With his brothers all around him in what was largely a family business, Mr. Fruehauf supplied his biggest market in a government at war.

“‘During World War II’, a contemporary magazine account stated, ‘Fruehauf made everything for the Army and Navy from front-line hospitals to portable command posts and searchlight carriers. Fruehauf’s latest model for the Government: a truck post office.

“By 1953, the company was filling about 55 per cent of the nation’s demand for trailers and was doing an annual business of $161 million.

“5-Year Inquiry

“What happened in 1954 was something that the Government spent five years investigating.

“Senate rackets investigators contended in 1957 that three years earlier Dave Beck had extracted favors from Mr. Fruehauf in return for good deeds his teamsters had done for the trailer giant.

“The favor Mr. Fruehauf Mr. Fruehauf was accused of granting was the arranging of a $200,000 loan to Mr. Beck.  Where the money was to have gone was not brought out at the inquiry. But any loan, the Government contended, was illegal under the section of the Taft-Hartley Act prohibiting the passage of valuables between union and employer.

“In addition, Mr. Fruehauf confirmed that he had put a car and chauffeur at Mr. Beck’s disposal and arranged for him to join a party of women in Europe for six weeks; that he had provided the union leader with a private plane on occasion, and had arranged for the purchase of a boat at a discount.

“The inquiry dragged on. In 1959, Mr. Fruehauf, two other men and three companies were indicted for violating the labor act. But in 1960, the indictment was dismissed by a Federal judge. An appeal by the Government was turned down in 1962.

“However, outraged stockholders forced Mr. Fruehauf out soon afterward.

“He is survived by his widow, the former Ruth Horn; four children, Ruth Ann, Royce, Randall and Rohn, and a brother, Harvey.

“His marriage to Catherine Meacham ended in divorce in 1949. They had four children.”

One month later, Roy's oldest brother Andrew passed, the New York Times reporting:

“Andrew Fruehauf, Publisher fo the Detroit Tribune, 74

“Detroit, Dec. 5 (AP) - Andrew F. Fruehauf, owner and publisher of The Detroit Tribune and one of the sons of August C. Fruehauf, founder of the Fruehauf Trailer Company, died today at the age of 74.

“Mr. Fruehauf died in is aprtment at the Statler-Hilton Hotel.

“A younger brother, Roy A. Fruehauf, former president and chairman of the $300 million trailer company, died last Oct. 30.

“Andrew Fruehauf, a World War I veteran, was active in the civil rights movement and was the holder of an honrary doctorate in humanities from Howard University. He had been publisher of The Tribune for 10 years. The newspaper circulates mainly in Detroit's Negro community.

“Surviviors incldued a brother, Harvey of Miami Beach, Fla.”

On February 16, 1966 The FTC ordered Fruehauf to divest itself of its Strick Trailer subsidiary, the Associated Press reporting:

“WASHINGTON (AP) – Obeying a court order, the Federal Trade Commission Tuesday directed the Fruehauf Corp., Detroit, Mich., to divest itself within one year of its Strick trailers division which it acquired in 1956.

“An FTC directive forbids Fruehauf from acquiring any other manufacturer of truck trailers for 10 years without commission approval.

“Last May, the commission ordered Fruehauf to divest itself of Strick plus the Hobbs Manufacturing Co., Fort Worth, Tex. and Hobbs Trailer and Equipment Co., Dallas, Tex.

“Fruehauf in August asked the court to set aside the commission's order.

“Subsequently, the commission and Fruehauf agreed upon a plan of divestiture which permitted the company to retain Hobbs but imposed the 10-year ban on future acquisitions.

“The court of appeals for the 7th circuit approved the agreement last month and Tuesday's commission action carries it out.”

In January of 1966 Fruehauf sold Strick Trailer and it's associated firms to an investor group headed by Sol Katz for $39 million, and on Sept 15, 1966, the Katz group resold it to the New York Central Railroad, The Associated Press reporting:

“New York, (AP) — The New York Central Railroad plans to enter the highway-trailer manufacturing field through the acquisition of the Strick Corporation. Central's directors approved yesterday an agreement in principle to acquire all the capital stock and warrants of Strick for a maximum price of $31 million.

“Strick manufactures vans, trailers and containers, and has headquarters in Fairless Hills, Pa.

“Fruehauf Sells Interest

“The Central would be completing the deal that the late Robert R. Young had endeavored to make while chairman in 1957. Sol Katz, president of Strick, said then that Mr. Young's offer had come too late, that Strick already had become a division of the Fruehauf Corporation.

“Last January, Fruehauf sold Strick's assets for $39-million to the management group headed by Mr. Katz. In a share exchange in 1957, Fruehauf paid the equivalent of $15-million for Strick.

“In the Central deal, the acquisition will include affiliates, the Strick Finance Company, the Lamicor Plastics division, the International division, the Rental division and several sales and services companies.

“Has Three Plants

“Strick has plants in Fairless Hills and Willow Grove, Pa., and in Chicago, III. The acquisition would be made through the Merchants Despatch Transportation Corporation, a Central subsidiary, which is engaged in car leasing and private carline operations.

“The Central said that the price agreed upon was $15 million to be paid upon closing before the year-end and a contingent amount of up to $16 million, payable during the years 1970 through 1974 on a formula based on a percentage of Strick earnings above a given level.”

During the late 1960s the US restricted trade with the People’s Republic of China under its ‘Trading with the Enemy’ legislation. Fruehauf France, S.A., a company two-thirds owned by Fruehauf International, entered into a contract with Berliet, a French truck manufacturer, to supply trailers for export to China. The US Treasury department intervened, however a French court ruled in Berliet’s favor, the US Treasury Dept. withdrew the objection and Fruehauf France S.A.’s contract with Berliet was allowed to continue.

Harvey C. Fruehauf suffered a severe heart attack on October 14, 1968 and passed away at the age of 74, the October 15, 1968 edition of the New York Times reporting:

“H. C. Fruehauf, Trailer Builder; Innovator Who Left Industry in 1953 Is Dead at 74

“Detroit, Oct. 14 (AP) – Harvey C. Fruehauf, who was responsible for the transformation of a family blacksmith shop into the giant Fruehauf Trailer Company, died in his Detroit apartment today. He was 74 years old.

“Mr. Fruehauf was one of four sons of August Fruehauf, who founded the company in 1916. The younger Fruehauf retired as board chairman in 1953 and severed all connections before it diversified and became known as the Fruehauf Corporation.

“Mr. Fruehauf, who joined his father in the blacksmith shop shortly after graduating from high school in Detroit, foresaw that the growth of the fledgling automobile industry would doom the blacksmith business. So he convinced the elder Fruehauf that they should enter some aspect of the auto industry.

“The trailer business started when a Detroit lumber merchant asked the Fruehaufs to design a piece of equipment to pull a boat behind his Model T Ford. The merchant was so impressed with the result that he commissioned the Fruehaufs to build a similar rig to haul lumber.

“The father and son formally entered the trailer business in 1916. By 1918, the company’s capital had grown from $500 to $108,000 and the Fruehaufs began to look beyond their specialty of trailers for grocers, dairies and lumber concerns.  In the 1920’s, the company began producing a variety of trailers for long distance hauling.

“From the 1920’s until 1949, Mr. Fruehauf served as the company’s president, succeeding his father. In 1949 he became chairman of the board. He resigned in 1953 as a result of a dispute with his brother Roy, who had succeeded him as president.

“At that time the company was filling about 55 per cent of the nation’s demand for trailers in an annual business of $161 million.

“In recent years Mr. Fruehauf managed extensive oil and cattle investments in the Southwest.

“Survivors include his widow, Angela: a son, two daughters and four grandchildren.”

On September 1, 1967 Crane Fruehauf Ltd. acquired Boden Trailers Ltd. and in 1977 Fruehauf International Limited acquired a majority interest in Crane Fruehauf Ltd., its one-third owned British affiliate. In 1975 Dublin, Ireland - based Dennison Ltd. sold its trailer business to Crane Fruehauf Ltd., further solidifying Fruehauf's toehold on the British semi-trailer market.

After IRS reviews in 1969, the Department of Justice brought charges of tax evasion against Fruehauf and accused its two highest officers, William E. Grace and Robert D. Rowan, of criminal tax fraud, the Associated Press newswire reporting on November 12, 1970:

“Fruehauf Accused of $12 Million Excise Tax Dodge

“DETROIT (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted the Fruehauf Corporation and two of its top executives on charges of conspiring to evade payment of more than $12 million in excise taxes.

“Named in the indictment, which was returned Monday, were Fruehauf President W. E. Grace and the executive vice president for finance, Robert D. Rowan.

“The case involves a dispute between Fruehauf and tax officials over methods of calculating excise taxes on semitrailers sold by the company. In question are $12,344,587 in taxes allegedly withheld between Oct. 1, 1956 and Dec. 1, 1965.

“U.S. attorney Ralph A. Guy said conviction on the charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a $5,000 fine each for Grace and Rowan. Guy said conviction would add considerable interest and penalties to the tax the company would have to pay.

“The two men have called the conspiracy charge ‘baseless and unfounded.’ The company said the disputed method of computing taxes was adopted before Grace and Rowan assumed their present posts.”

Grace and Rowan maintained that since Fruehauf’s excise tax plan had been declared legal by company accountants and lawyers, they had no reason not to continue the plan and the two Fruehauf executives plead not guilt on December 15, 1970, the UPI reporting:

“Detroit – (UPI) – Fruehauf Corp., and two of its top executives were arraigned in U.S. District Court here Monday on federal conspiracy charges which allege that the company tried to evade payment of some $12 million in excise taxes over a nine-year period.

“A plea of not guilty was entered by defense attorney William Barnett on behalf of the company, William E. Grace, its president and chief executive officer, and Robert D. Rowan, executive vice president.

“Grace and Rowan were released on $5,000 personal bond each by Federal Judge Damon J. Keith. No trial date was set.

“The case concerns a dispute between Fruehauf, which manufactures truck trailers and containers, and the government as to the correct method of calculating the company’s manufacturers excise taxes between October, 1956 and December, 1965.”

During the decade clouded by the tax fraud case, the company continued its policy of expansion. Most significant was its 1973 acquisition of the Kelsey-Hayes Company, a leading supplier of wheels, brakes, and automotive components. Fruehauf went on to acquire subsidiaries of Kelsey-Hayes, thus providing it with holdings in Australia, Japan, Europe, South America, and South Africa.

Fruehauf’s attorneys and government prosecutors spent the next three years preparing each side of the case and after numerous delays and motions the case went to trial on October 29, 1974. Additional motions and delays followed and the first official news appeared on February 13, 1975, the United Press International newswire reporting:

“Fruehauf Tax Charges Stand

“Detroit (UPI) – A federal court judge has denied a motion to dismiss unprecedented criminal tax charges against Fruehauf Corp., the world’s largest manufacturer of truck trailers, and its two top officers.

“At the same time, Judge Thomas P. Thornton delayed the next hearing in the lengthy and complicated case until next Tuesday.

“Thornton’s ruling Tuesday was the latest development in the trial that began Oct. 29 with the government charging the company, its president and its financial vice president with conspiracy to evade $12.3 million in excise taxes.”

Fruehauf’s attorneys chose to progress without a jury putting the responsibility for the decision on Federal Judge Thomas B. Thornton. Additional delays and motions followed, but after four months of testimony Judge Thornton read his verdict to the court on July 17, 1975, United Press International reporting:

“DETROIT (UPI) – Lawyers for Fruehauf Corp., the nation’s largest builder of truck trailers, say they will appeal a conspiracy conviction stemming from a scheme that lasted nine years and cheated the government of $12.3 million in federal excise taxes.

“Found guilty in federal court Thursday were the corporation itself and its two chief executives, chairman William E. Grace, 67, and president Robert D. Rowan, 52.

“U.S. attorneys said it was the largest such tax fraud case in the history of the Justice Department.

“Lawyers for Fruehauf announced they would seek a new trial within minutes of the verdict by Federal Judge Thomas B. Thornton, who heard the four-month case and reviewed more than 6,000 pages of testimony before announcing his decision.

“His ruling makes the company liable for back taxes, interest and fines that could total $60 million. In addition, Grace and Rowan could receive term s of five years in prison each plus $10,000 fines.

“Fruehauf has 18 plants and 80 branches in the United States plus operations in Brazil, South Africa and Europe. A company official said that regardless of the outcome of the appeal, it will not affect Fruehauf operations or its $1 billion plus assets.

“An investigation into alleged tax irregularities resulted in a federal grand jury indictment in late 1970, alleging that Grace, Rowan and two employees who w ere not indicted but named as co-conspirators arranged an elaborate and fake invoicing system to evade excise taxes.

“Through the system, the government said, the company understated its taxes by $12.3 million between Oct. 1, 1956, and Dec. 31, 1965.

“After the verdict, Grace and Rowan were fingerprinted, photographed and freed on bond. They made no comment on the case.”

Fruehauf attorneys immediately requested a new trial, a motion that was ultimately denied, and on June 16, 1976 they announced plans to further delay the case on June 16, 1976, United Press International reporting:

“Fruehauf in Court Appeal

“Detroit, June 16 (UPI) – The Fruehauf Corporation announced today plans to appeal a court ruling denying the corporation a new trail in a $50 million excise tax fraud case. Fruehauf, former chairman William E. Grace and former president Robert D. Rowan were found guilty July 17, 1975, of conspiring to defraud the Government of $12 million in excise taxes and assessed $38 million in penalties.”

The new motion was denied and two week later Judge Thomas P. Thornton handed down his sentence, the Associated Press reporting:

“Detroit, June 30 (AP) - Two top executives of a leading truck-trailer manufacturer were sentenced to prison terms today on charges of conspiring to evade paying more than $12.3 million in Federal excise taxes owed by the corporation.

“The Fruehauf Corporation’s board chairman, William Grace, 68 years old, and its president, Robert Rowan, 53, were sentenced to six months and a day in jail. They and Fruehauf were also fined $10,000 each by United States District Court Judge Thomas Thornton.

“The men, who were released on $5,000 bond, appealed the decision.

“The officers were convicted in July 1975, five years after an indictment was returned by a Federal Grand Jury in Detroit.

“According to the indictment, the men evaded payment of the excise taxes in two ways. Under one method of pricing to distributors, they had decreased the price of the truck trailers upon which excise tax was to be paid. They billed the distributors for ‘non-existent services’ that were not subject to excise tax.

“Secondly the indictment said, the men had arranged with tire manufacturers for an inflated purchase price for tires. The officials then allegedly claimed a tax credit on the higher price, and the corporation received a cash rebate from the manufacturer.”

Despite the conviction and sentencing the two Fruehauf executives remained free one year later pending an appeal of the sentence. They remained confident that they would never see jail time in an article carried on the Associated Press newswire on May 6, 1977:

“Fruehauf Execs Mum On Future

“DETROIT (AP)-— The two top officers of Fruehauf Corp. are refusing to say whether they'll resign if their convictions for conspiracy to evade taxes are upheld.

“‘I'm not going to lose. That's something I don't have to worry about,’ said Chairman William Grace after the annual meeting Thursday.

“The president and chief executive officer, Robert Rowan, said. ‘I haven't given it any thought. It's just too far down the road.’

“He added, ‘We know that we did nothing wrong, and that's the important thing.’

“The two executives of the truck body manufacturer, along with the corporation itself, were convicted in U.S. District Court here almost two years ago of conspiring to evade $12 million in federal excise taxes. The case has been appealed to the U.S. Circuit court of Appeals in Cincinnati and a decision could come in the fall.

“The corporation and the two men were fined $10,000 and the two men also were sentenced to six months in prison.

“The Internal Revenue Service may lodge claims of back taxes, penalties and interest of $60 million in the case, according to Fruehauf's proxy statement. While declining to give their own estimate, Grace and Rowan said $60 million was too high.

"When this thing is finally resolved, the amount will not be material." Grace said.

“Shareholders asked no questions about the tax case or a 1974 Federal Trade Commission challenge to Fruehauf's acquisition of Kelsey-Hayes Co., an automotive parts supplier.

“Rowan predicted record earnings would continue this year. Last year's profits were up 92 per cent to $48.3 million.”

For the next year Fruehauf attorneys continued the appeal process, which was presented to the Supreme Court in November of 1978. The nation’s highest court declined to hear the case and the two men resigned from the Fruehauf board immediately afterwards, the November 20, 1978 issue of the New York Times reporting:

“2 Convicted Top Officers Resign Posts at Fruehauf

“The top two officers of the Fruehauf Corporation, who were convicted in 1975 of defrauding the Government of $12.3 million in excise taxes, resigned last week. William E. Grace, chairman, and Robert D. Rowan, president and chief executive officer, submitted their resignations to the company's board two weeks after the United States Supreme Court refused to grant a hearing on an appeal of their convictions.

“The board named Walker C. Cisler as acting chairman and Frank P. Coyer Jr. as acting president and chief executive officer pf the Detroit-based manufacturer of truck trailers and auto parts. Mr. Coyer is a corporate vice president, board member and chief financial officer of Fruehauf. Mr. Cisler is a former chairman of Fruehauf and of the Detroit Edison Company. They are expected to serve only until the Fruehauf board can elect a permanent chairman and president and chief executive officer.

“At the time of the convictions in July, 1975, Judge Thomas P. Thornton of the United States District Court said in Detroit that the company and its two principal officers were guilty of conspiracy to evade excise taxes or a 10-year period starting in late 1956. The government charged that the Fruehauf officers had tried to evade taxes by employing complex pricing and accounting procedures that included nonexistent extra-service charges.

“A year after the convictions, Judge Thornton sentenced Mr. Grace, 70 years old, and Mr. Rowan, 56, to six months in prison and fined them each $10,000. They had been free on bail since. When the Fruehauf board accepted the two men’s resignations as officers, it granted them leave of absence as employees ‘until further action of the board.’

“Fruehauf attorneys said they would apply for reconsideration but conceded that the Supreme Court seldom granted another hearing.”

Further motions by Fruehauf attorneys got the executives' sentences reduced to community service, and the April 15, 1979 issue of the New York Times reported they both men were being reinstated to the Fruehauf board of directors:


“Since last fall, Robert D. Rowan, the former president and chief executive officer of the Fruehauf Corporation, has been counseling reformed alcoholics and drug addicts who want jobs. His full-time social work will be reduced to 10 hours per week next month, and last week the Fruehauf board, after a five-month investigation, said it would reinstate both Mr. Rowan and William E. Grace, the former chairman, subject to shareholder approval.

“The two were found guilty in 1975 of defrauding the Federal Government of $12.3 million in excise taxes. The original sentence, a $10,000 fine and six months in prison, was later reduced to the social work and a fine, and Mr. Rowan, 56 years ….. Addiction Center in Detroit. Mr. Grace, who is 71, went to Whitney, Tex., to an agricultural school he founded.

“The reinstatement would bring back Mr. Grace, who is in ill health, back to Fruehauf as chairman of the executive committee, a non-management position he requested. Walker L. Cisler, who is 81 years old, would continue as acting chairman, a spokesman said, ‘pending further restructuring,’ while Frank P. Coyer Jr., the acting president, would have to return to his position as vice president – finance.”

The May 8, 1981 issue of the New York Times reported that two years later Rowan was still at the helm:

“Business People; Fruehauf Realigns Top Management

“The Fruehauf Corporation, the big Detroit-based manufacturer of truck trailers, realigned its top management yesterday, elevating Frank P. Coyer Jr. to the new post of vice chairman and Thomas J. Reghanti to president and chief operating officer. It said the changes were made to help the company maximize its growth potential.

“The promotion for Mr. Coyer, 61 years old, who had been executive vice president for finance and administration, represents a climb back up the Fruehauf ladder after his brief stint several years ago, under unusual circumstances, as the company's acting president. The 56-year-old Mr. Reghanti previously was executive vice president for trailer operations.

“Robert D. Rowan, 59, continues as chairman and chief executive officer; he had been Fruehauf's president. Mr. Rowan became a controversial figure when he and the chairman at that time, William E. Grace, were convicted in 1975 of defrauding the Government of $12.3 million in excise taxes. The two top Fruehauf officers submitted their resignations in November 1978, after the United States Supreme Court refused to hear their appeal of the convictions. They were ordered to pay fines of $10,000 and serve six months in jail. Subsequently, the prison sentences were reduced to five months of full-time social work and a year of part-time work.

“As a result of those resignations, Mr. Coyer was named acting president pending the selection of a permanent substitute. Events took an unforeseen turn, however, when, in the spring of 1979, Mr. Coyer was reinstated to his former post after a five-month investigation of him by the board. His social work - counseling reformed alcoholics and drug addicts - had been reduced by then to just 10 hours a week. Mr. Grace was also reinstated to a non-management capacity.

“Fruehauf had a rough year in 1980, when earnings tumbled to $32.2 million, or $2.63 a share, from $88.7 million, or $7.28 a share in 1979. The company blamed the sluggish automotive and truck trailer markets for the disappointing results.”

Over the years, Fruehauf had developed a nationwide network of more than a hundred service centers for its customers. It also developed the popular Model F Plus line, including closed dry freight trailers, open top units, trailers for railroad piggybacking, and warehouseman models. In 1980 the company introduced the Spacelite Refrigerated Van line for perishable cargo, which significantly improved thermal efficiency for the industry.

Fruehauf’s performance in the 1980’s was inconsistent, at times depressed by down-swings in the market, at other times bolstered by favorable changes in legislation. 1982 was a particularly bad year with overall losses of $30.4 million. However, the Transportation Act of 1982 allowed manufacturers to build larger trailers, resulting in a substantial increase in orders for Fruehauf.

Improved sales both at home and abroad, and cost cutting measures, gave the company an $8.4 million profit in 1983. Revenues were further enhanced by the deregulation of the industry. Many carriers consolidated, and this resulted in new customers for the company. During the 1984 record-breaking year in the U.S. transportation supply industry, Fruehauf received more orders than any of its competitors.

But after 1984 the industry experienced another downturn. Sales were off 8% to $2.6 billion, earnings dropped 26% to $118 million, and the company developed cash flow problems.

On May 1, 1986, Asher Edelman made an offer to buy Fruehauf. During the previous few months the former arbitrager-turned corporate raider had purchased 5% of Fruehauf’s stock on the open market. He announced his proposal in a letter to the Robert D. Rowan and the Fruehauf board, at which time the offer was flatly rejected. Edelman proceeded to purchase additional shares and by the time of Fruehauf’s annual stockholders meeting in June Edelman had bid Fruehauf’s stock up to $42. At the meeting he announced his own slate of directors offering $44 a share to all interested parties.

Edelman was rebuffed once again and on August 22, 1986 he dropped his takeover bid and sold his shares to a group led by Rowan and a group of Fruehauf executives backed by Merrill, Lynch & Co., profiting a reported $30 million in the process.

The takeover attempt proved costly to Fruehauf who, now saddled with a $1.4 billion debt to Merrill, Lynch, began selling off the crown jewels of the firm, which included its profitable financing operation and leasing fleet.

In an April 1998 interview with Forbes Magazine, Wabash National’s Donald J. (aka Jerry) Ehrlich explained the folly of Fruehauf’s decision:

“Fruehauf had been able to keep its factories going at a certain level simply by building trailers for its own rental company. With the rental company gone, suddenly Fruehauf’s volume dropped. Then fleet customers started to say to themselves, ‘If I have to come up with my own financing, why buy Fruehauf?’ By then Fruehauf was making a commodity trailer not that much different from anyone else’s.”

Fruehauf also settled its decades-long issue with the Internal Revenue Service on August 25, 1987, when they agreed to a $20 million payment, the New York Times reporting:

“Fruehauf Corp., Detroit, said it had agreed to settle a dispute with the Internal Revenue Service over its excise tax liability from October 1956 to 1965. Fruehauf agreed to an assessment of about $6.8 million of additional excise tax for that period, as well as a penalty of some $3.4 million and interest of about $9.9 million, for a total of $20.1 million.”

As market share plummeted, Robert D. Rowan was held responsible and he was forced out as Fruehauf chairman in 1988. In 1989 the still-floundering Fruehauf sold off the bulk of their trailer manufacturing operations to the Terex Corp., the March 29, 1989 issue of the New York Times reporting:

“The Fruehauf Corporation said today that it had signed an agreement to sell its troubled trailer-truck and marine services operations to the Terex Corporation for about $232.5 million. Most of the assets are in Fruehauf's trailer manufacturing business, the world's largest, with sales of $887 million last year. Terex, which has grown through acquisitions over six years in heavy-duty hauling equipment, had worldwide sales of $343 million last year.

“Under the deal, Terex will pay Fruehauf about $169.4 million in cash and assume $63.1 million in long-term debt. The companies said they expected the deal to close within six weeks, with a final adjustment in the purchase price to compensate for changes in asset values.

“Fruehauf's class B shares jumped 50 cents today, to $2.75 each, on the New York Stock Exchange, where the 22.2 percent gain was the largest of the day. Terex is a private company based in Green Bay, Wis.

“Fruehauf has been under pressure recently to sell its assets since the company saddled itself with $1.5 billion in debt in 1986 to ward off a hostile bid by Asher B. Edelman, the New York financier. The company has since sold properties worth about $850 million.”

Now a shell of its former self, Fruehauf began selling off what remaining assets it had, its Canadian operations were acquired by Trailmobile Canada and most of its overseas interests (Fruehauf International Operating Assets) went to a group of investors who reorganized it as FIL Partners.

By 1996 Fruehauf owned little more than its brand name, two antiquated trailer plants and a network of 33 sales and service centers. Fruehauf Trailer Corp. filed a voluntary petition under chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on Oct. 7, 1996, their share in the US semi-trailer market having fallen from 40% just one decade before to a paltry 4% at the time of the filing.

Fruehauf’s court-appointed receiver, Chriss Street, brokered a deal with the semi-trailer business’ rising star, Wabash National for their assets-in-bankruptcy and on March 15, 1997 Wabash National announced it was planning to purchase the bulk of Fruehauf’s assets for $49 million in order to acquire its brand name and 31 retail outlets, the New York Times reporting:

“The Wabash National Corporation, the largest United States maker of truck trailers, said yesterday that it had agreed to acquire the retail network and other assets of the rival Fruehauf Trailer Corporation for about $49 million. Fruehauf filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October. The sale must be approved by the bankruptcy court. Wabash will pay $15 million in cash, $17.6 million of a new issue of convertible preferred stock and one million shares of its stock, which rose 50 cents yesterday, to $16.375, on the New York Stock Exchange. The acquisition includes Fruehauf's sales and distribution network; a trailer plant in Huntsville, Tenn., and the Fruehauf trade name in North America. It excludes plants in Mexico and Fort Madison, Iowa.”

Fruehauf issued the following statement on March 18, 1997:

“Fruehauf Trailer Corp. today announced it has accepted the bid of Wabash National Corp. (NYSE:WNC) to purchase substantially all the remaining operating assets of Fruehauf other than the company's interest in its Mexican subsidiary, Fruehauf de Mexico.

“The bid, revised from the previously announced bid, includes the company's Fort Madison, Iowa, trailer manufacturing plant and is valued at approximately $52 million. The bid also includes the Sales and Distribution business consisting of 31 retail outlets, the aftermarket parts distribution business based in Grove City, Ohio, the Scott County, Tenn., specialty trailer manufacturing operation and the Fruehauf name. The proposal is subject to the approval of the Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. A hearing to consider approval is scheduled for Thursday, March 20, 1997.

“Commenting on the sale to Wabash National, Derek L. Nagle, president of Fruehauf, stated, 'The combination of Wabash National's leading fleet market share and Fruehauf's extensive distribution capabilities is expected to positively impact our combined businesses. The parts, service and used trailer revenues generated through the retail distribution network have historically been a large component of Fruehauf's consolidated revenues. The used trailers generated by Wabash National's large fleet business, together with the combination of the aftermarket parts businesses, offer the opportunity to further leverage the retail distribution network. In addition, the introduction of Wabash National's refrigerated van trailers allows us to expand the new product offerings through the sales and service centers.'

“Fruehauf Trailer Corp. filed a voluntary petition under chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on Oct. 7, 1996, and currently operates its business as a debtor in possession. Fruehauf is a manufacturer of truck trailers, producing, marketing and servicing the industry's widest range of dry freight van, platform, dump and liquid and dry bulk tank trailers. Among the largest suppliers of trailer parts in North America, Fruehauf products are sold throughout the truck trailer industry's largest company-owned dealer and authorized independent dealer network in North America.”

The bankruptcy did not affect the International Operating Assets of Fruehauf Trailer Company which had been spun off earlier and reorganized as FIL Partners. Headed by William H. Robb (president from 1996–2006), FIL Partners (FIL), became the one of the leading manufacturers of tractor trailers in Europe, Japan, Africa and Argentina, representing more than $1.4 billion in annual revenue. Prior to the formation of FIL partners, Mr. Robb served as VP Corporate Development for Fruehauf Trailer Company and President of Fruehauf International, Ltd.

Although their British subsidiary, Crane-Fruehauf Ltd., was sold off to General Trailers in 1997 (becoming bankrupt in 2005), FIL Partners maintains licensing agreements in Australia/New Zealand, Brazil, Columbia, and Korea, as well as for manufacturing joint ventures in China and France. Prior to the formation of FIL partners, Mr. Robb served as VP Corporate Development for Fruehauf Trailer Company and President of Fruehauf International, Ltd.

In more recent times the former Fruehauf factory at 10940 Harper Ave., Detroit, was the home of the Detroit branch of National Semi-Trailer Corp., a trailer leasing firm headquartered in Taylor, Michigan. Today the Harper Ave. facility is the home to PVS Chemicals, a Detroit-based manufacturer, marketer, distributor and transporter of industrial chemicals.

© 2014 Mark Theobald for with special thanks to Ruth Ann Fruehauf

In addition to her website,, Roy Fruehauf's daughter Ruth Ann, is preparing a book in conjunction with researcher Darlene Norman that will detail the entire history of the firm.

Additionally, Harvey C. Fruehauf's son (Harvey C. Fruehauf Jr.) commissioned corporate biographer Kathi Ann Brown to research and write his biography: No Ceiling on Effort: The Harvey C. Fruehauf Story which was piublished in 2011.

Appendix 1 Fruehauf Patents:

US1313087 – Landing Gear - ‎Filed Feb 10, 1919 - ‎Issued Aug 12, 1919 to Ernest F. Hartwick assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1351245 –Fifth Wheel - ‎Filed Dec 24, 1919 - ‎Issued Aug 31, 1920 to Ernest F. Hartwick assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1568560 – Semitrailer - ‎Filed Feb 8, 1924 - ‎Issued Jan 5, 1926 to Charles H. Land Jr. (assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co. on Nov 13, 1928 as USRE17132).

US1540502 – Removable drawbar for vehicles - ‎Filed Mar 27, 1924 - ‎Issued Jun 2, 1925 to Harvey C. Fruehauf and Charles L. Schneider assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1611947 – Semi-trailer and support - ‎Filed Jul 9, 1926 - ‎Issued Dec 28, 1926 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1613728 – Trailer - ‎Filed Mar 12, 1924 - ‎Issued Jan 11, 1927 to Harvey C. Fruehauf and Charles L. Schneider

US1637456 – Steering Gear for trailers - ‎Filed Nov 4, 1925 - ‎Issued Aug 2, 1927 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1640217 – Running gear structure for vehicles - ‎Filed Dec 3, 1926 - ‎Issued Aug 23, 1927 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1673846 - Vehicle for transporting heavy loads - ‎Filed Jun 23, 1926 - ‎Issued Jun 19, 1928 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1681433 – Vehicle Spring Suspension - ‎Filed Aug 14, 1925 - ‎Issued Aug 21, 1928 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1724364 – Side dump vehicle - ‎Filed Oct 15, 1927 - ‎Issued Aug 13, 1929 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1742413 – Pole trailer – Filed Feb. 11, 1927 – Issued Jan 7, 1930 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

USRE17132 – Semitrailer - ‎Filed Feb 8, 1924 - ‎Issued Nov 13, 1928 to Charles H. Land assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1770572 – Semitrailer support - ‎Filed Feb 5, 1927 - ‎Issued Jul 15, 1930 to Harvey C. Fruehauf and Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1842050 – Vehicle brake - ‎Filed Jan 18, 1928 - ‎Issued Jan 19, 1932 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1850531 – Trailer vehicle - ‎Filed Sep 7, 1923 - ‎Issued Mar 22, 1932 to A. Benjamin Cadman assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1877052 – Vehicle running gear - ‎Filed Nov 3, 1930 - ‎Issued Sep 13, 1932 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1877970 – Tandem wheel construction - ‎Filed Mar 12, 1930 - ‎Issued Sep 20, 1932 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1892004 – Tractor trailer combination - ‎Filed Nov 13, 1930 - ‎Issued Dec 27, 1932 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1898854 – Semitrailer frame construction - ‎Filed Mar 15, 1930 - ‎Issued Feb 21, 1933 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1903136 – Radius rod and axle construction - ‎Filed Dec 31, 1926 - ‎Issued Mar 28, 1933 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1910181 – Vehicle brake - ‎Filed Nov 10, 1930 - ‎Issued May 23, 1933 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1922395 – Tractor semitrailer - ‎Filed Jan 29, 1932 - ‎Issued Aug 15, 1933 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US1958926 – Transportation of automobiles - ‎Filed Feb 2, 1934 - ‎Issued May 15, 1934 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US2022869 – Vehicle body - ‎Filed Mar 31, 1934 - ‎Issued Dec 3, 1935 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

USD107699 – Design for a trailer vehicle - ‎Filed Nov 1, 1937 - ‎Issued Dec 28, 1937 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

USD107700 – Design for a trailer vehicle - ‎Filed Nov 1, 1937 - ‎Issued Dec 28, 1937 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

USD107701 – Design for a trailer vehicle - ‎Filed Nov 1, 1937 - ‎Issued Dec 28, 1937 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US2120509 – Locking device for semitrailers - ‎Filed May 14, 1937 - ‎Issued Jun 14, 1938 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US2169500 – Tank vehicle - ‎Filed Jul 18, 1938 - ‎Issued Aug 15, 1939 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US2232187 – Supporting leg structure for semitrailers - ‎Filed May 27, 1940 - ‎Issued Feb 18, 1941 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US2256328 - Semitrailer supporting structure - ‎Filed May 3, 1940 - ‎Issued Sep 16, 1941 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US2260641 – Tractor trailer brake mechanism - ‎Filed Feb 27, 1941 - ‎Issued Oct 28, 1941 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US2274503 – Brake drum - ‎Filed Feb 3, 1941 - ‎Issued Feb 24, 1942 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US2311252 – Vehicle undercarriage and brake operating mechanism - ‎Filed Jul 31, 1941 - ‎Issued Feb 16, 1943 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US2318802 – Trailer vehicle - ‎Filed Dec 5, 1941 - ‎Issued May 11, 1943 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US2353267 – Fifth wheel construction - ‎Filed May 14, 1943 - ‎Issued Jul 11, 1944 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US2384965 – Vehicle body construction - ‎Filed Mar 13, 1944 - ‎Issued Sep 18, 1945 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US2407345 – Spring suspension - ‎Filed Jun 9, 1944 - ‎Issued Sep 10, 1946 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US2433158 – Vehicle body - ‎Filed Jan 10, 1945 - ‎Issued Dec 23, 1947 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US2443478 – Vehicle body - ‎Filed Mar 22, 1945 - ‎Issued Jun 15, 1948 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.

US2398248 – Heavy duty vehicle - ‎Filed Jun 14, 1945 - ‎Issued Apr 9, 1946 to Frederick M. Reid assigned to Fruehauf Trailer Co.







Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark - Standard Catalog of American Cars: 1805-1942 - (excellent Fruehauf site operated by Ruth Fruehauf, daughter of Roy Fruehauf and granddaughter of August C. Fruehauf). 

Roy Fruehauf - Over the Road to Progress! Fruehauf Truck Trailers (Newcomen Society) 24pp, pub. 1957.

Kathi Ann Brown - The Harvey C. Fruehauf Story: No Ceiling On Effort, pub. 2011.

Clarence M. Burton - History of Wayne County and the City of Detroit, pub. 1930

M.A. Leeson - History of Macomb County, Michigan, pub. 1882

Fruehauf Corporation – Fruehauf: The Front Runner, pub 1987

International Directory of Company Histories, pub. 1988

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. - The Enemy Within: The McClellan Committee's Crusade Against Jimmy Hoffa and Corrupt Labor Unions, pub. 2009

James & Genevieve Wren - Motor Trucks of America, pub.  1979

James Wren - August Charles Fruehauf: The Encyclopedia of American Business History and Biography, The Automobile Industry: 1896-1920, pub. 1990

David J. DeBoer - Piggyback and Containers: A History of Rail Intermodal on America's Steel Highway, pub. 1992

How Fruehauf become the giant of the truck-trailer industry - Tide, November, 3, 1950 issue

Peter T. Muchlinski - Multinational Enterprises & the Law, pub. 1995

Jack Hess – Byron Transit & Fruehauf: A Profitable Partnership, Wheels of Time, Vol. 29, No. 6; Sep-Oct, 2008 issue

Harold M. Cobb - The History of Stainless Steel, pub. 2010

Tom Berndt - Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles: 1940-1965, pub. 1993

David Doyle - Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles, pub. 2003

Two Fruehauf Follow Ups: Fruehauf Power Transmission Type Fifth Wheel, Fruehauf’s Differential Dual Wheel Trailer - Wheels of Time, Vol. 13, No. 4; Jul-Aug, 1992 issue

J.T. White - The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography – pub. 1964

Douglas Knerr - Suburban Steel: The Manificent Failure of the Lustron Corporation, 1945-1951, pub. 2004

Thomas T. Fetters - The Lustron Home: The History of a Postwar Prefabricated Housing Experiment, pub. 2006

Diana B. Henriques - The White Sharks of Wall Street: Thomas Mellon Evans and the Original Corporate Raiders, pub. 2000

United States Senate Investigation of Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field. Hearings before the Select Committee on Improper Activities in the Labor or Management Field; Part 7; Apr. 24, May 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and June 4, 1957; pub. 1957

Fruehauf Differential Dual Wheel Trailer - Wheels of Time, Vol. 13, No. 5; Sep-Oct, 1992 issue

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