100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

First Transcontinental Shipment of Goods By Truck

Men who drove wagons to haul goods were called teamsters. In 1900 the typical teamster worked 12-18 hours a day, 7 days a week for an average wage of $2 per day and was responsible for loss and damage as well as any injuries he sustained. With the guidance of labor leader Samuel Gompers, smaller competing unions were combined into the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) in Niagara Falls, New York in August 1903. In 1907 Dan Tobin was elected president of the Teamsters. He saw the future of the automobile in the shipping of goods.

On June 20, 1912 Teamsters from the Charles W Young Company in Philadelphia set out to make the first transcontinental shipment of goods in the US. A five-man crew of Teamsters drivers set out from Philadelphia with t3 tons of Parrot Brand Olive Oil Soap heading for Petaluma, California. The trip was kicked off with a big truck parade and display sponsored by the Philadelphia Inquirer. There is no paved highway system across the country and the drivers are expecting a pretty difficult journey.

The truck delivering the first transcontinental shipment of goods leaving Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Notice the chain-drive gear mechanism on the back wheel
June 20, 1912

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