Believe it or not, the tow truck was invented in 1916 by Ernest Holmes, Sr. in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Chattanooga just happens to be the home of the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum. The museum has on display restored antique wreckers, photos, tools, equipment and more.
Holmes’ inspiration came from needing blocks, ropes and a half dozen able-bodied men to pull an automobile out of a creek. He later improved his tow truck design and manufactured and sold them commercially.
I must say that I had no idea about Holmes or that there was a towing and recovery hall of fame and museum. Suddenly, I have a new bullet point on my bucket list.
Though it sounds a tad funny … a hall of fame for towing folks ... it makes sense. People can be nominated for equipment and product innovation, exemplary dedication, industry leadership, and professional achievement.
I’m thinking about nominating Don from Tow Truck Company Englewood, CO for giving me a hand after my vehicle slid into a snowbank on a slippery winter day a few years back. He was very friendly, professional and prompt – and this was 10 p.m. on a Tuesday night in terrible weather conditions.
Sadly, the museum also features a Wall of the Fallen, a memorial to tow truck operators killed in the line of duty.
Depending on your need, different tow trucks can handle different towing jobs, such as recovery vehicles from ditches or embankments, reposing or moving illegally parked cars, and flatbed towing for longer distances and safer transportation.
Onto the photos of tow trucks of all models, types and eras. What’s your favorite?
A 1986 Chevy Silverado. Never seen anything like it.
A Ford T-Series from the 1960s.
A flatbed tow truck.
A vintage folded tow truck.
A tow truck in Malaysia used for illegally parked vehicles.
A Russian repossession tow truck.
Last, and certainly not least, a 1946 Bedford tow truck.