Flatbed trucking, heavy haul, rail transport, and ltl trucking are very different types of freight transportation. They share a few commonalities however. Actually, in reality they share a lot of similarities and differ in only a few places, but for the sake of dramatic and interesting conversation, we’ll say they are very different beasts. So, what binds them all together? Well, in reality, a lot, but we’re here to dig into the details, so a lot will not suffice. The wheel, to start somewhere, is a common bond they all share. The developments in technology that brought the trucking industry to a place where there was even the capability to diverge into different niche markets and specialization are the lifeblood and common bond of trucking and the transportation industry in all its forms.
Keeping with the wheel theme which we began several posts ago, we will conclude the development of the wheel this time. What took thousands of years to develop will be concluded in just three short blog posts. Now, to be fair, the process of technological change is a slow and constant process, and to say that the wheel was not highly usable and vital before it found its most functional form would be wrong. The freight transport industry has profited from the wheel since long before freight transport was even a term and before the trucking industry was even an industry. The evolution of technology has been slow, but it has served its purposes along the way quite well… as well as it could.
There were only a few minor improvements on the wheel from the time of spokes until the 19th century. It did what it was needed to do well enough with the material available. The industrial revolution and the development of technology that exploded at that time brought some change to the wheel though. The development of rubber was a major step toward the tires that are used in the freight transportation industry these days. As the trucking industry developed, the wheel began to take shape. Early hauls were bumpy because of the solid nature of the tire. The solid core of rubber that was standard in early tires absorbed little shock and damaged roadways easily. Trucking was a bumpy ride until 1888 when the pneumatic tire was invented. As this invention was refined, it would change the trucking industry all together. JB Transport may not have been around in the days of solid rubber tires or chariot wheels, but the company, like other inventions in freight transport, certainly was forming somewhere in the ether.