Goodbye Mules, Hello Trucks!

Parades bring more attention to trucks across the United States 

“Motor World for Jobbers, Dealers and Garagemen.” Google Books. Google. Accessed October 24, 2019.

On November 19, over three hundred trucks rumbled down Canal Street with signs saying “Goodbye Horse.” These decorated trucks filled with heavy commodities attracted citizens to stop and curiously watch the line of trucks passing by. We normally associate parades with Mardi Gras, but this spectacle was for more than just entertainment. The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company sponsored this parade to advertise the usefulness of trucks and to make the public interested in buying trucks for work purposes as well as for better transportation of materials over longer distances. These parades took place in large cities throughout the country, and they brought impressive results in the automobile industry because the sale of trucks had gradually started to increase.

These parades displayed the amazing abilities of the trucks to carry large weight burdens over long distances. For example, some trucks carried heavy timbers from mills, while other trucks carried a bunch of small other trucks to show how much these vehicles could carry without breaking down. Moreover, the most remarkable feature of this truck parade was one of the large F.W.D. trucks by Crawford, Jenkins, and Booth that carried a white horse in it with a banner hanging on the side of the truck saying “Good-bye Horse; Ship By Truck.” This truck specifically illustrated the idea that trucks were better than horses for transportation as well as for other purposes. Spectators were amazed by what these trucks could do for society, and more people started supporting the idea of using trucks more than trains and horses.

Furthermore, the mayor of New Orleans, Martin Behrman, greatly supported the truck parade, and he praised the growth of trucks in the automotive industry in his announcement about this event. He mentioned the positive influence these trucks brought to the industrial and economic life of New Orleans. Moreover, he went on to say that the future of the use of trucks was really bright because these vehicles allowed the producer and the consumer to come closer together, resulting in solving high cost of living issues people were facing at this time. 

Franck, Charles L. Jax Brewery delivery trucks. October 29, 1941. Charles L. Franck and Franck-Bertacci Photograph Collections, The Historic New Orleans Collection, New Orleans. 

Although trucks were starting to become the dominant source of transportation and movement of materials across the United States, mules and horses were still very common in New Orleans in 1919. Most coal, ice, produce, and other heavy commodity goods were moved in wagons being pulled by draft animals. However, in another twenty years, most of these animals would be gone.

During the 1920s, American cities started using different modes of transportation instead of just the old methods of transportation, such as horse or train. However, as more and more people started using automobiles, more restrictions were being placed on people for safety purposes, and these rules were stopping people from buying cars, creating a downfall in urban car sales during the 1920s. Trucks were now becoming more popular in the automobile industry and used more often on the roads along with cars in the United States. 

Lastly, the development of trucks across the nation demonstrated the fact that better highways were necessary for more convenient transportation. The government was finally starting to take action for the improvement of highways after this major event in the automobile industry took place. For example, Senator Townsend’s Townsend Bill enabled a system of national highways, which was a big deal for the emergence of trucks. With better highways, trucks had many more advantages than trains. For instance, truck express rates were cheaper, had extra speed, were more convenient, and had better adaptability. Moreover, shippers could have expected a better certainty of delivery, less damage to goods, lower box costs, and good impressions on customers through the use of trucks for shipments. Today, trucks continue to play an important role in the transportation of materials across the country as well as for other purposes important to society. 

Motor World for Jobbers, Dealers and Garagemen.” Google Books. Google. Accessed October 24, 2019.

Works Cited:

“Auto Truck Dealers Parade Huge Parade Three Hundred Machines to Participate in Thirty-Block Display,” Times-Picayune, November 15, 1919, Access World News – Historical and Current.

Ladd, Brian. 2009. “Cars and the American City.” Journal of Urban History 35 (5): 777–82. doi:10.1177/0096144209336582.

Michigan Manufacturer & Financial Record.” Google Books. Google. Accessed October 24, 2019. AQ#v=onepage&q=firestone automobile parade 1919 new orleans&f=false.

Motor World for Jobbers, Dealers and Garagemen.” Google Books. Google. Accessed October 24, 2019.

“Parade Of Trucks Wednesday Given Mayor’s Sanction Plans Completed for Impressive Showing on “Ship By,” Times-Picayune, November 17, 1919, Access World News – Historical and Current.

The Commercial Car Journal.” Google Books. Google. Accessed October 24, 2019.

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