The semi-truck was invented by Alexander Winton in 1898. He lived in Cleveland, Ohio. Winton sold his first semi-truck in 1899 and from that year onward, this product became a symbol of American freight transport.
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The story goes that Winton was perfectly happy building cars to sell to people in his home state of Ohio, but realized he could reach more customers if he had some way of easily transporting his product. He didn’t want any wear-and-tear on his new cars before they got to customers, though, so he had to figure out something that didn’t involve driving them.
Winton came up with a way of loading the car onto a flat cart, which he modified to sit on top of the engine of a modified truck platform. The connection was supposedly similar to the removable gooseneck on trucks today. The setup could only transport one car at a time, and it required at least three people to load and unload the vehicle being transported.
Alexander Winton was a serial entrepreneur; his first product was a bicycle. His next product was a car, the Winton Six. The Six was perhaps the first car that crossed the North American continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast. To popularize this brand, Winton participated in several car races and even hired acclaimed race drivers.