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History of Trucks

Updated on April 15, 2011


History of Trucks.The truck, the same as the name suggests, is a vehicle capable of transporting goods themselves, it is a single means of transport and different from other road transport vehicles such as trailers or semitrailers to be provided its own power.

Misused the designation of truck is often used even when it is coupled to an appendix, such as a trailer, in this case is correct to talk about truck, sometimes referred, again inappropriately, the complex also consists of a car and tractor from a semi-trailer, which form in this case an articulated, regulated differently than all'autotreno. The origin of the word truck comes from a French term this the fourteenth century, particularly by a voice meant that the Norman-Picard wagon. The use of this term and its derivatives was subjected to interrogation by Benito Mussolini, the Academy of Italy on its accuracy to obtain consent.

Overview of the category

Since the purpose of the trucks is the transfer of goods by road, have bins or receptacles more or less large, and in some cases, a particular work equipment (such as loaders and cranes tail lifts to make it easier for loading and unloading).

In general, the vehicle is equipped with one or two seats beside the driver for any passenger. In recent years, however, manufacturers have approved models capable of carrying more people, sleeps up to nine. We must however take into account the fact that the Italian law provides that on board the truck can be only to persons driving or directly related to loading and unloading of cargoes, therefore, these passengers can not be compared to those of cars.

The driver's seat of a truck that must always be protected from any movement of objects carried. This is achieved by keeping separate the cab from the cargo area, or applying a protective partition behind the driver in case of a single body compartment (the latter solution is particularly widespread in commercial vehicles, technically belonging to category N1, given the setting their car).

The history of the truck

As there are attempts to move independently of the vehicles to transport goods by means of steam engines in the second half of the eighteenth century, what can be described as the first truck in history was born in 1896.

Built by Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft, we can see that the initial design was derived from the carts of the time, simply by removing the front of the animals intended for hooking and pulling with the assembly of the wheel axles of a two-cylinder engine for about 2200 cm3 which developed 6 horsepower and could propel the vehicle at a speed of 16 km / h. You may notice that the wheels were strictly made of wood with the outer rim of metal and also the braking system was the same used for the coaches.

Soon, aesthetics, hand in hand following the evolution of cars, improved with the adoption of a closed body that protects the driver, with the engine which was positioned in front of the cockpit and the motion that was transferred to the wheels via a chain. Another important improvement concerns the transition to solid rubber tires and the presence of the first diversification of the receptacles, now closed.

In the first two decades of the twentieth century the importance of trucks continues to increase, other manufacturers will be impoverished in the market, such as Fiat, which provided the first truck to the Royal Army, Fiat 15. As in other cases, its use to the war effort during World War I gave impetus to the design of new technical solutions and towards the end of the twenties saw the first trucks are equipped with shaft drive and the first equipped with tires tube.

The engines continued to be petrol and could not have particularly high powers and therefore also could carry payloads that were small payments, rarely more than 3 tons. Even the overall dimensions when compared with today's means were almost laughable, the total length reached about 5 meters while the width and height must not exceed 150 and 250 cm.

The innovations introduced in the thirties were also very important for the continuation of the history of the truck. First, the engine, until then positioned behind the front axle, was taken much further in front and on the same axis, resulting in an immediate best weight distribution on the truck and a substantial increase in payload. The wooden wheels were in the meantime, completely abandoned in favor of metal wheels and brakes, until then limited usually to the front wheels, it also widened the rear of the vehicle.In the cities could be seen more and more trucks to make deliveries and became increasingly popular solution of the vans, that is, the all-metal body and without a division between external and interior cargo space.

Even the engines were moving increasingly towards those petrol and diesel; that especially after the start of series production of fuel-injection pumps started in 1927 by Robert Bosch GmbH, which he saw as its first customer MAN

The following decade saw the truck again at the center of attention mainly for his work in the field of war and during the Second World War was the main vehicle for the transfer of troops and baggage on the various fronts and all the branch companies were engaged in an enormous effort to meet the huge demand for this type of vehicle.

After World War II, returned again to design vehicles for civilian use and saw it hit the market more and more trucks equipped with diesel engine with direct injection, a remarkable step forward in energy, which allowed the delivery of much higher powers, at lower engine speeds and more torque than before. Even the external size increased, becoming more similar to those of today. The most classic shape with a nose that was still very pronounced and the front bonnet opens from the side to allow easy access to mechanical parts.

In the fifties we saw the first engine has a turbocharger, and the powers they had as a coming surge in average around 200 hp. Perhaps the only thing that had made great strides was taking care of its interior cabins, especially with regard to the acoustic and thermal insulation of the passenger compartment of the same from the engine compartment. With the first movement of the driver directly above the engine room driving conditions were certainly not favorable, especially in the warmer months of the year

The importance of the driver was taken seriously only in later years with the study of new solutions to make the driving time as comfortable as possible. Among the solutions we found were those of a higher thermal and sound insulation, a more ergonomic design of seats and amortized using the power steering, anti-vibration supports the inclusion of (later replaced by a suspension system) between the cab and chassis and , with the emergence of the cabins all along that took the place of the curmudgeons, the presence of a bed room behind the seats capable of driving the driver to stay in overnight stops

The years seventies and eighties saw the research addressed in a principal security with in-depth studies of the truck on the driver's visibility to the outside, the introduction of rigid bars on the sides and rear to prevent other vehicles to be able to slide under the truck in an accident, the introduction of disc brakes more powerful and the presentation of the first air suspension that significantly improved the ride attitude.

Also in these same years also developed a technology that allows carriers to remain in contact with each other and sometimes even their homes, which is very useful for example to report problems with roads: on almost all trucks for long journeys was fitted with a radio transceiver, the famous CB.

The last decade of the century saw an increasing emphasis on the ecological impact and the manufacturers devoted much of their ability to start engine production with ever fewer emissions and pollutants that would allow both a general reduction in consumption, a the problems to be increasingly felt by a heavy goods vehicle drivers


The modern classic truck

The classic truck, while the most popular on the streets, is one in which the cargo space, whether it be van tarpaulin that is completely separated from the cockpit.

The trucks can be entirely produced by the same manufacturer or produced in several stages, many of the trucks in circulation are derived from or chassis-cabs (vehicles equipped with shower but without a body) on which specialized companies have installed equipment at a later time to suitable work the type of transport made by the client. The most popular outfit is the one with a tarpaulin comprises a metal frame equipped with sleepers (cues) to stop loading and covered with a tarpaulin, plastic, and this solution is one that allows easier loading and unloading of materials being easily opened on all sides.

An alternative is setting up an insulated body, if not usually insulated refrigerator, which allows for better storage of goods through the solid walls that block the cargo. The third solution is to apply common vehicle chassis on a hydraulic lifting system and the coupling to provide, in part intended to load a container or a container. Yet another solution is to have a box with sides, fold by hydraulic pistons, used in trucks carrying excavated material in construction.

The rules of the road many of the rules specify that the truck must be subject, in particular for those dimensions that can not, in normal traffic, exceed 255 cm in width (with cold storage of vehicles to compensate for the 260 cm part of the thickness of the insulated), the 400 cm in height (the vehicles for transport vehicles can be up to 420 cm, the vehicles to transport live animals or bales of straw or hay to 430 cm) in length and 12 meters, plus possibly a bank back by 30 cm.

The load may project posteriorly from the shape of the vehicle for up to 3 / 10 of total length, but the 12 m, however, can not be exceeded (for example, if a locomotive was 10 m long, the rear projection would be maximum of 2 m 3 m) before, however, may not be any projection. Similarly, for combinations of vehicles, trucks or lorries, not permitted any projection of load. Even the classification of different types on the basis of the loaded mass (most common in the specific field of transport, acronym PTT stands for gross weight, tare + load) are specified in the code itself: the first division is between the means until to 3,500 kg are classified the same way as normal cars and those that exceed this limit. In the latter case, the guide is allowed only to those who are in possession of driving license of a higher category (the C in Italy for vehicles without trailers or trailer up to 750 kg total mass).

A second class division is the goal of 7,500 kg, where PTT is the distinction between the means and the true scope of media trucks. The latter are those whose transit is often limited, both in access to urban areas, both in the implementation of bans on holidays and on certain days, those defined escape.

Conformation of the cabin

While in the past the cabins were usually stretched to accommodate the engine character before it (so-called cab back), the continuous evolution of technology has allowed us to shorten the time, placing it above the engine compartment (this approach is called forward- ) in this way has been more usable length for the rear cargo area without going to increase the overall size of the vehicle. However, for many years, manufacturers have maintained access to the engine bonnet can be opened via a site within the same cabin with accessibility issues and position rather work, even cleaning the cabin was affected in a negative way if of mechanical work, as well as to the soundproofing of the engine.

This solution has stood for much of the seventies, when you spread the forward-folding completely to the front of the car using hydraulic jacks, which enabled both to completely seal the cell population compared to the mechanics of ensuring accessibility is almost complete not only the engine, but also other mechanical parts, as the vehicle is "discovered" in the front for the entire width. One feature that has imposed this type of cabin is the need to use a shifter can be removed to ensure the lifting of the cabin, but some manufacturers do not set the lever in the cockpit, and it remains integral to the bar that joins the gearbox.

The cab is usually performed with a small manually operated hydraulic pump outside (almost always on the left side just after the front axle), although some vehicles especially equipped is a solenoid. During the tilt maneuver, the car is raised up to a certain angle, then continue the race due to its weight, a similar situation occurs in the opposite phase, since the bumper fascia is fixed, a special mechanism ensures automatic opening of any grille, otherwise it will break because of the angle of tilt reached the cockpit.

The cab suspension system has evolved considerably, from simple rubber pads (so-called "silent block") until you get to modern suspension with four air springs, shock absorbers, stabilizer bars and automatic correction buoyancy, which obviously guarantee a high degree of comfort; between these two extremes there is a variety of solutions, from the mixed suspension completamemte mechanical (mechanical-pneumatic), with or without buoyancy correction.

Although aerodynamics is increasingly recognized and the cabin has modern lines much more rounded than in the past and it is also usual for the affixing of the above it with special spoiler to deflect the air above the load in gaining penetration coefficient.

Designed for vehicles intended for use mainly local cab is relatively small and spartan but for those intended for long journeys in the interior comprises at least a bed placed behind (and / or above) the driver and is very often provided with all comforts needed during the overnight stops and long hours spent driving. In addition to the heating in winter (often working in a totally autonomous from the vehicle) and at the summer air conditioning is very easy to find a refrigerator and television system, as has become customary can also change the internal layout of the seats in order to transform the 'driving environment in a comfortable lounge, or a functional office traveling during breaks.

Another feature that will usually be found on modern truck cabins is the fundamental presence, for purposes of security, very large windows and a large number of external mirrors, differently oriented, to facilitate control by the driver of all the various dimensions of the car, both in the maneuver is the use of the same road.

Among the safety regulations covering heavy goods vehicles over 3,500 kg of mass is the fundamental one with regard to speed and driving times. In these controls is delegated the tachograph, necessarily installed in the vehicle, usually next to the normal control instrumentation, which notes on special paper discs daily speeds reached by the trucks and the hours of actual use to drive. At the beginning of the twenty-first century to the normal functioning mechanical tachograph has been replaced by modern versions that store electronic data no longer on paper but on digital memory.

Ignoring the rest breaks (45 minutes, divided in 15 +30), provided at least every 4 hours and a half of continuous driving, and non-compliance with the mandatory 8 hours of boarding the vehicle running all day, they incur the driver in heavy fines and the temporary withdrawal of the license.

Even the electronics are very much present today in the cabins of trucks, both through on-board computer equipped with more functions for the monitoring of engine and fuel, both with the presence of recent GPS satellite navigation systems or through advanced hands-free telephony entry that have joined if not replaced the equipment transponder (the famous CB) of the past.

Chassis and engine

The truck frames are provided with a variable number of axles, usually 2 or 3 for the most common uses, and the engine is usually equipped with wheels. The more modern and are equipped with air springs that provide the means to an optimum level regardless of load carried and also allow a more comfortable ride, not accessible from the solutions previously adopted with leaf springs

In case you set the fuel tank, spare wheel and accessory equipment intended for your safety as fire extinguishers or still to be affixed under the wheels to prevent movement of the vehicle. They are also almost always one or more closed compartments where you can stow tools and accessories commonly used for attaching loads (steel cables, belts, etc...)

The engines currently produced are strictly diesel range airspace, Spaziante from those used in light vehicles (which are derived from the production car standard) up to large motors in excess of 16,000 cm3 and deliver higher power to 600 hp. Of these there are various types of propeller conformations, both online and in V, and most are equipped with a turbocharger.

The changes are usually mounted mechanical, with the presence of multi-speed reduced to more easily overcome the bumps. The number of gears will generally be based on the mass of the vehicle is in light of those 5 or 6-speed, as in cars, while vehicles in the mid-range is possible that the base is coupled to a gearbox change, so as to double the number of gears available.

The drive gear is mechanical, lever, while the gearbox is generally controlled by a button on the gear knob itself. In heavy vehicles, especially those used for towing trailers or semitrailers, the change is typically consists of a box base, which typically 3 or 4 gears plus reverse, and a range selector gear places respectively downstream and upstream of case basis, so you get to quadruple the number of available reports.

The clutch gear box base is typically controlled by a lever and the gearbox (technically called "splitter") and the range selectors are operated with buttons on the gear knob. There are also drive systems in which the lever is replaced by a small joystick and several buttons on it, while the pneumatic cylinders operate the gear-forks, the system provides an easy and comfortable drive, there are no mechanical connections between command and the gearbox. Recently, it is asserting the presence of systems with automatic transmissions, which take on various trade names depending on the manufacturer of the vehicle and allowing a drive in complete synergy with the actual condition of the vehicle, they are especially common in vehicles with power and torque very high drive (recently they reached the 700 hp maximum power output) in order to safeguard the powertrain from inappropriate use and / or driving errors.



The truck loading areas of common use are characterized by a width that easily allows you to load the goods on pallets, typically 240 cm, with a base level and made of wood or aluminum. The effective height for the load is around 280 cm in the most modern methods available to low-frame chassis and suspension. The vehicle has an average length of the room about 6 meters, but useful, reaching the maximum permitted overall limit, there are even boxes with lengths up to 10/10, 5 meters (12 feet to stay in total, about 2 meters cabin + 10 meters of body).

Even for the transport of dangerous goods (ADR) facing increasing attention and be approved for the cargo area is subject to certain conditions: there must be fire resistant materials for the fund that covers the outside and must be on the outside tables indicate the type of goods being transported and the nature of the hazard. Tables of the same type must be indicated on the sides and front of the car, outside the cab. In addition, vehicles carrying dangerous goods must have a specific setting, usually performed by the same manufacturer, which consists of:

shielded electrical cables and connections special

A device called a "switch" that allows you to isolate the battery from the rest of the vehicle by turning on a switch

presence of equipment for fire-fighting, at least for a vehicle (a minimum capacity of 2 kg of powder or of capacity) and at least one load (at least 6 kg), the crew of the vehicle must know the 'use. The fire extinguishers the cargo must meet a recognized standard and be sealed to ensure they are not used, as well as a writing specifying the date by which the next inspection should take place.

presence of legs, two portable warning signs of a belt or a vest and a flashlight. Also must have the necessary equipment for the taking of additional and special measures as provided for in the safety instructions


Dump Truck and crane behind the cab

The box can be set or type of truck (for transporting bulk materials) and the crane's arm may have gathered behind the car or lying on the chest or, more rarely, though, mounted on the rear overhang. For stability and safety during the lifting of materials through the crane, which must be strictly stationary, is equipped with 4 independent outriggers, hydraulic controls, to adapt to every shape of land and prevent dangerous movements of the load being handled.

The most common use is for the loading of the means of work (diggers, bulldozers, forklifts) and for deliveries of heavy materials in places where there are no loading docks and appropriate equipment (eg construction sites). The car from which is derived can have two to four axes according to the capacity of the crane that will be installed. For more details and more severe operation, the crane can have only the function of "mobile crane" to the local movement of materials and not for its transport to its destination. Examples of this type are the vehicles used for moving from the upper floors or those used for emergency fire services.

Truck insulated body and rear tailgate

It is the vehicle used in the classical transport large amount of goods to shops. Especially in big cities hardly the shops have areas specially equipped to discharge cargo, so the use of hydraulic lift to bring you the goods, often placed on pallets, the body of the car at the street level up saving time and effort.

The insulated body of the car, namely the presence of rigid walls on the sides and bottom, may be more or less insulated, and several cases specifically for cooling does not stop the cold chain in the transport of foodstuffs. The tail lift, in running order can be vertical (as shown) or tucked under the overhang. This type of vehicle has hardly more than 3 axes, despite the increase in the tare due to the presence of the insulated body and the additional bank, by virtue of the fact that normally has to reach the destination city where excessive clutter is a source of additional problems.


Silos and tank trucks

It is the vehicle for the specific transport for the carriage of liquids, ie, a chassis is mounted on a tank with special features based on the type of liquid, be it food like milk, both for the transport of different chemicals , is very unusual for that of petroleum. Being very often used for the carriage of dangerous goods for various reasons (flammable, toxic, corrosive), care must be addressed to security arrangements.

The same basic engineering is also used for the production of trucks for the transport of dust, where the tank is replaced by a silo is suitable for the transport of animal feed is produced than any other ground. They are usually equipped with accessories such as exhaust systems of the contents under pressure, metering precision of the quantity of goods unloaded, etc..


Truck to transport other vehicles

It is the vehicle used to transport other wheeled vehicles, whose cargo space is open, provided with guides for the tires of vehicles on board, detention for the same when loaded and a removable rear loading ramp to allow easy loading and unloading. The version most commonly used are those for the breakdown of self in trouble, where the front is also installed a winch to tow the vehicle inoperable. There are also two versions load plans (in which the upper is equipped with mechanisms that enable it to sag) used to carry more cars at the same time, suitable for transfer between the factories manufactures and sales networks.

Truck with extended cab (such as "pick-up)

These vehicles generally have a total mass not exceeding 3,500 kg, allowing its use with a driver's license B, namely that of the normal car. This classic car used by construction companies for work since the type of cabin, long, can accommodate passengers in the back of the driver. It is thus facilitated the transfer of both workers and their basic equipment. The body may occasionally be covered with a cover note to protect their goods or with a removable rigid shell.

At the same time is now one of the vehicles even fashionable, especially in the U.S., where the interiors are no longer based on the maximum utility but are identical to those of normal high-class cars. It is also the category of trucks where it is most frequently the presence of four-wheel drive instead of the usual rear-technical solution that facilitates the achievement of the disadvantaged such as mountain destinations.


Truck cabin built into the body

This body type is characteristic of so-called commercial vehicles (such as Fiat Ducato, Renault Kangoo, Citroën Berlingo, Ford Transit etc...) Recently, however, show a similar morphology also lorries from multipurpose vehicle (or MPV) and off-road, even with seats behind the driver. To be considered half as a pure transport of goods and not as a means of mixed use, protecting the occupants from the displacement of the load must be secured by a metal bulkhead, mounted between the passenger compartment and cargo compartment. They are vehicles with a total mass not exceeding 3,500 kg, so you can use with the simple driving of cars. The dimensions of this medium are significantly lower than those classic truck to allow easy movement of even in areas closed to heavy traffic.

4-wheel drive truck

It is a type of truck for particular uses, especially for the more onerous obligations, both civil and military, and even rough terrain or without the roads. Are naturally equipped with all-wheel drive 4 wheel chassis usually have the most elevated and independent suspension with an excursion especially large in order to better absorb the bumps. One of the most popular vehicles of this type is the Unimog, a vehicle designed and built by Mercedes-Benz since the first World War. The eclecticism of this type of truck is also demonstrated by the many installations that can be transformed from those for emergency response in cases of disaster, until the dual-use fittings that allow it to also move along the track and on the seat station.


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    • Sun-Girl profile image


      7 years ago from Nigeria

      Nice and excellent documentary you actually shared in here which i enjoyed.

    • MBDungo profile image


      7 years ago from Philippines

      Mmmhh.. A long long Hub my friend. I suggest you to put some photo with a minimum of 80px width, and 80px height to be its thumb.

    • Mentalist acer profile image

      Mentalist acer 

      7 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

      In my area,if you've got good credit and,not as much as one would think,a bit of money for an down payment,you can get a dumptruck and easily make money.;)


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