Among the early big trucks used in the woods were GMC flatbeds for carrying shingles. Given the scattered nature of stands of cedar timber, shingle mills were often small, located deep in the woods and built to be moved. This meant finding ways to transport finished shingles to market. Fortunately for them, transporting packaged up shingles was a lot easier and lighter than transporting logs.
Photo courtesy WSU Library, pc170b4p09_lumbertruckloadofwoodenshingles, circa 1911/1921
Given shingles' relatively light weight, a four axle flatbed trailer is able to carry quite a large load of shingles even during the late 1910's. Trucks for this purpose were easier to find, including early GMC model trucks like the one shown above and the flatbed double trailer rig shown below.
Photo courtesy WSU Library, pc170b4p08_lumbertruckandtrailerofwoodshingles, circa 1911/1921
I'm told that not having doors made it easier for drivers to bail out in the event of brake failure.
A few more pieces of trivia I ran across while researching the use of GMC trucks.
- The first truck designed by GMC engineers was introduced in 1914 with capacities from 3/4 to 2 ton.
- A GMC 1 1/2 ton truck was the first to drive cross country from Seattle to New York and back and complete the journey in 32 days. The year was 1916. Must have been quite a ride.
- In 1912, a total of 173 electric trucks were produced by GMC. This accounted for over 32% of the trucks produced by GMC in the company's first year of production.
Photo courtesy General Motors Archives
Fortunately, electric vehicles seem not to be just a passing fancy any more. And which country leads the world in current production assembly of plug-in electric vehicles?