Learning to drive a truck is a lot easier than it was in the old days, when people had to hand crank one to get it started–a tough endeavor that required numerous precautions to avoid getting kicked by the engine. Braking systems also needed a strong right foot for stopping. To be a driver back in the day, online sources say one had to attend a “brute force school of transportation.” While it was tough and dangerous, drivers somehow learned how to operate one well enough to get to where they needed to be.
In the early 1900s, most people used a horse and cart. There was no such thing as a “highway.” There were merely roads. Seeing a truck on any of those roads was a rare sight. Sources say there were only about 10,000 trucks in the entire country during that time. Described as cantankerous, they were equipped with solid rubber tires, making drive time rough and sometimes dangerous. Although evolving innovations got people talking about the idea of using more trucks for transport, it was actually the Army that more or less got the evolution of truck manufacturing underway.
During the war effort of World War I, a reported 227,000 new trucks were produced. The first convoy, led by the four wheel drive truck with a newly fitted cargo box, headed out on Feb. 8, 1912. It departed Washington, D.C. and arrived at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana roughly six weeks and 1,500 miles later on March 28. This was one of the first road tests to see if trucks could haul more efficiently than the horse and cart. Testing revealed numerous challenges. While the journey was rough, it was evident that in the right circumstances, with good equipment and drivable roads, trucking could be a viable solution.
Throughout the years, innovations continued as manufacturing orders increased. Soon the semi-trailer arrived, making a huge impact on the way freight and cargo were transported. According to online sources, there were less than 15,000 miles of paved roads throughout the country in 1914. During the next decade, the federal government spent $75 million on new road construction. By 1930, an estimated 329,000 long haul trucks were in operation bringing about the 1935 Motor Carrier Act, which presented a set group of regulations for all trucks operating within the country.
As the truck industry evolved, learning to drive became more of an entrepreneurial endeavor, bringing opportunity and excitement to those who ventured into the field. It was 1936 when brothers Jake & Ray Millis began to follow their own entrepreneurial dream. Driven by the will to succeed, they founded what is known today as Millis Transfer, Inc. Starting as a small distributor, the Millis family grew the company by expanding its territory and focusing on what the company does best: ‘getting it there’.
About Millis Transfer
Mills Transfer has an impressive service record earning the company dozens of “Carrier of the Year” awards. Headquartered in Black River Falls, Wis., Millis is also a Certified Top Pay Carrier with some of the best equipment on the road. Maintenance facilities and drop yards are strategically located throughout the company’s operating area. Its sister company, Millis Training Institute, offers five school locations that provide students with quality training in order to earn their CDL-A license. For more information please visit www.millistransfer.com, www.mtidriving.com or call 1-800-937-0880.