History

The history of the "Trailmobile" name is long and storied. The Trailmobile of today, Trailmobile Canada Limited, is a new and innovative company. It is different and unrelated to the former companies that used the name but it is inspired by the history of its name and intent on being even more innovative than the companies of the past.

The same is true of Trailmobile Parts & Service Corporation. Trailmobile Parts is dedicated to the notion that "Service" is the most important part of its name and it is a guiding principle. Frequent deliveries, user friendly web based ordering system for dealers, large and varied parts inventory with over 9000 SKUs are evidence of making this principle an every day reality. We know the importance of accurate order filling and prompt delivery of quality parts to our customers.

The story below comes from various sources and is believed to be accurate. However the importance of this story comes less from the recitation of history and lore and more from the never ending drive to improve and innovate that it evidences.

Trailmobile OriginalIn 1835 a man named Daniel M. Sechler began work as a carriage-makers apprentice in Milton, Pennsylvania. He opened his own carriage shop just four years later, and from there his business grew. In 1845, Sechler joined the westward movement, pioneering in several Ohio locations before settling in Cincinnati in 1858. He engaged in various branches of the iron industry until returning full time to the manufacture of carriages in 1877. In 1879, Sechler & Company was incorporated. Sechler & Company became the world's largest producer of all types of horse-drawn vehicles, from sporty phaetons to ornate funeral coaches. The operation eventually became the largest exporter of carriages in America, shipping products to Europe, South Africa and other foreign markets.

The direction of the Sechler Company was to be changed dramatically by a man named John C. Endebrock. Endebrock began work at the Sechler Company in 1889 as an office boy, working his way through the ranks to the position of foreign sales representative. It was Endebrock who, around 1910, saw that the future lay in building "truck trailers," and that the days of the horse-drawn wagon were coming to an end. The first truck had been introduced in 1896, evolving into what is basically the standard concept of a straight truck, but practically all commercial trailers continued to be heavy four wheel models pulled by horses. No one had yet developed a satisfactory device for coupling a truck-trailer to a truck.

1916 TrailerEndebrock decided to concentrate on a vehicle that could be pulled by a Ford Model "T" passenger car, then the leader in the light-car field. Initial experiments surrounded the dynamics of a spring wagon construction, but it was determined that this would not work. Some type of spring action was needed in the draw bar to absorb the shocks of starting and stopping.

A totally new trailer had to be designed using the principles of automobile dynamics. This new unit featured an angle iron chassis frame with cross-members, horn-type front spring hangers, a knuckle-type front axle, automobile springs, artillery wheels, roller bearings, and a draw bar with housed spring sections. In 1915, after months of rigorous road testing, the new trailer was introduced to the world. The name "Trailmobile" was chosen since the unit would "trail" an automobile. The wide acceptance of these first automotive trailers prompted the Sechler organization to change its name to The Trailmobile Company.

1919 Trailmobile TrailerWWI arrived in 1914, just before the introduction of the "Trailmobile," and with it came demands for special types of trailers, such as gun-mounts, searchlight carriers, quartermaster tanks, ambulances, field kitchens, water tanks, baggage and ammunition trailers, Air Corps transports, and airplane carriers. More than 10,000 units of various types were made for the Government by The Trailmobile Company during WWI--more trailers than all other makes combined.

The Trailmobile Company's innovative progress did not stop when the war started. Endebrock pondered the possibility of easing the task of coupling and uncoupling semi-trailers, which required three men with jacks to lift the trailer. He wondered if a coupler similar to those used on railroad cars could be devised for the semi-trailer, eliminating the need for two extra men. During 1918-1919, he developed a jaw coupled with a spring-plunger locking device, mounted on a "lower fifth wheel" plate attached to the tractor frame. The fifth wheel mechanism locked into a "king pin" on the bottom of the front end of the semi-trailers. Only one man, the driver of the tractor, was needed to couple and uncouple the automatic trailer. Endebrock's handmade prototype fifth wheel, patented in 1919, differed very little from present semi-trailer fifth wheels.

TrailmobileDuring the next few decades, Trailmobile underwent many changes. In 1928, The Trailmobile Company and the Lapeer Company, of Lapeer, Michigan (which was building the only good automatic trailer) merged to become the Trailer Company of America. Four years later, in 1932, the Trailer Company of America acquired the Highland Body Manufacturing Company and commenced turning out complete trailers with bodies, becoming one of the first integrated truck-trailer manufacturing firms. The two years before Pearl Harbor, the company started to shift its production from commercial trailers to military models, and December 7, 1941 found the company concentrating its energies on war business.

During WWII about 40,000 "Trailmobile" units were made for the armed forces, including tank retrievers, mobile machine record trailers, M-5 bomb carriers, vans and platforms. For its part in the war effort, the Army-Navy "E" was presented to the company and its employees.

Elgin Storage TrailerIn 1944 the company's name was changed back to The Trailmobile Company, as it was a name that had gained deep respect in the trucking industry during the 29 years that it had been applied to truck trailers. In 1951, the assets of The Trailmobile Company were acquired by Pullman Incorporated and was operated initially as a newly formed subsidiary and later as a division of Pullman. Overtime, Pullman underwent a number of significant corporate changes and restructurings.

 

Trailmobile Canada Limited


In the mid 1990's an entrepreneur who desired to make truck trailers in his native Canada started a trailer manufacturing business and incorporated it in Ontario as Mond Industries Inc. The current ownership of Trailmobile Canada Limited saw the value of this company and acquired Mond and changed its name to Trailmobile Canada limited, drawing on history for its inspiration but using new technologies, materials and processes to build state of the art transportation equipment.