The History of Trucks (Documentary – 2000)

Icons of the open road, trucks form the backbone of the construction and transportation industries. The facility to handle nearly any load and the ability to deliver goods almost anywhere make trucks integral to modern life. From 18th-century steam-powered carriages to tomorrow’s computerized trucks, it’s a long haul you’ll enjoy!

A truck (or lorry) is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration; smaller varieties may be mechanically similar to some automobiles. Commercial trucks can be very large and powerful, and may be configured to mount specialized equipment, such as in the case of fire trucks and concrete mixers and suction excavators.

Trucks and cars have a common ancestor: the steam-powered fardier Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built in 1769. However, steam wagons were not common until the mid-1800s. In 1895 Karl Benz designed and built the first truck in history using the internal combustion engine. After World War I, several advances were made: pneumatic tires replaced the previously common full rubber versions. Electric starters, power brakes, 4, 6, and 8 cylinder engines, closed cabs, and electric lighting followed. The first modern semi-trailer trucks also appeared. Touring car builders such as Ford and Renault entered the heavy truck market.

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