Fruehauf Trailer Corporation

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Fruehauf Trailer Corporation
Industry Semi-trailer manufacturing
Founded Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
February 27, 1918 (1918-02-27)
Founder August Charles Fruehauf

Fruehauf Trailer Corporation, previously Fruehauf Trailer Company (1918–1963) and Fruehauf Corporation (1963–1989),[1] was an American company engaged in the manufacture and sale of truck trailers with headquarters located in Detroit, Michigan. It was founded in 1918 in Detroit, Michigan, with headquarters later moved to Indianapolis, Indiana,[1] and went bankrupt in 1997.


The company's founder, August Charles Fruehauf (1868–1930), was born in Fraser, Michigan, the son of Charles and Sophie Fruehauf.[2][3] He began his career as a Detroit-area blacksmith and carriage builder. In 1914, a local businessman, Frederic Sibley, Sr., asked Fruehauf to build a trailer which could be towed behind a Ford Model T and transport a boat to upper Michigan. Fruehauf successfully built the device, and Sibley requested he build additional trailers for use on his lumber yard. Fruehauf would call them "semi-trailers", and his product proved popular. In 1918, he incorporated his business as the Fruehauf Trailer Company.[1][4][5]

On February 28, 1947, the Fruehauf Corporation purchased the Carter Manufacturing Company. Carter was started in 1927 and based in Memphis, Tennessee, with another location in Birmingham, Alabama. The Carter Manufacturing Company was involved in the manufacturing of truck trailers. For ten years after the purchase all trailers made out the Memphis and Birmingham plants were called Fruehauf-Carter.

While the company eventually diversified and expanded its operations, financial issues resulted in the sell-off of company divisions in 1989. The truck trailer unit continued operation as Fruehauf Trailer Corporation.[1]

The company declared bankruptcy on October 7, 1996. An axle plant in Ohio was sold to Holland Hitch Company on February 18, 1997, and Fruehauf's United States manufacturing and sales business was sold to Wabash National on March 17, 1997.[6] Companies in France, Mexico and New Zealand continued to operate under the Fruehauf name.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b c d "Fruehauf Trailer Corporation". Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ Things We've Heard. Fraser, MI: Fraser Historical Commission. 1992. Archived from the original on October 30, 2006. 
  3. ^ The Fruehauf surname is German in origin, originally spelled "Frühauf", meaning "early riser".
  4. ^ "Information About a Semi Trailer or Truck Trailer". American Trailer Exchange. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "The History of the Fruehauf Trailer Company". Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Fruehauf Proposes Reorganization Plan". Trailer/Body Builders. July 1, 1998. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 

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