Fruehauf Trailer Company Records

Biographical / Historical Note

The Fruehauf Trailer Company was incorporated in 1918 in Detroit, Michigan by August Fruehauf, a blacksmith and carriage builder. In 1914 he had been asked by a neighbor to build a trailer to haul a boat behind a Ford Model T, this trailer was so successful...

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The Fruehauf Trailer Company was incorporated in 1918 in Detroit, Michigan by August Fruehauf, a blacksmith and carriage builder. In 1914 he had been asked by a neighbor to build a trailer to haul a boat behind a Ford Model T, this trailer was so successful he was soon asked to build more trailers to haul lumber. Business boomed over the next four years, and Fruehauf Trailer Company was established. The popularity of the trailers increased as the company made several innovations to the trailers utilizing various sizes and designs.

In 1930, August’s son Harvey Fruehauf, took over as president and focused on sales campaigns to widen the company's customer base. Harvey retired in 1949, and Roy Fruehauf, August’s youngest son, became president. Roy established manufacturing branches all over the United States and Europe and expanded the business world-wide. In the mid-1950s, however, Roy's financial interactions with the Teamsters led to federal indictments which, though eventually dismissed, resulted in instability in the company. In 1958, Roy stepped down as president and William Grace took over the role. The company again found itself in legal troubles over tax and financial practices when they were indicted and tried for tax evasion in the 1970s. By the 1980s, financial issues forced the company to sell off some of its divisions. The company continued to struggle financially and in 1996, Fruehauf Trailer declared bankruptcy under Chapter 11 and was bought out by Wabash Trucking in 1997.

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Scope and Content Note

The Fruehauf Trailer Company Records focus mainly on the public side of the company's activities. The collection contains advertising materials such as product literature, product manuals, color samples, stickers and signs, branch locations and information,...

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The Fruehauf Trailer Company Records focus mainly on the public side of the company's activities. The collection contains advertising materials such as product literature, product manuals, color samples, stickers and signs, branch locations and information, and photographs spanning from the early 1930s into the 1960s. The collection also contains company materials from the 1930s and 1940s such as annual reports, handouts to employees, greeting cards, instructive materials, and newsletters.

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Collection Details

Object ID: 98.1.1828.0
Creator: Fruehauf Trailer Company 
Inclusive Dates: 1931-1969
Bulk Dates: 1938-1940
Size: 1.0 cubic ft. (1 box)
Language: English

Collection Access & Use

Item Location: Not Currently On Exhibit

Access Restrictions: The collection is open for research.

Credit: From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

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1914 Fruehauf Truck Trailer

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1946 Fruehauf Semi-Trailer, Used by Cole's Express

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Digitized Artifacts From This Collection

In many cases, not all artifacts have been digitized.
Contact us for more information about this collection.

Advertising Card for Fruehauf Used Trailers, Available from Factory Branches, Chicago, Illinois, 1931-1941

  Details

Advertising Card for Fruehauf Used Trailers, Available from Factory Branches, Chicago, Illinois, 1931-1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Advertising card

Date Made

1931-1941

Object ID

98.1.1828.8

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Advertising Card for Fruehauf Used Trailers, Available from Factory Branches, Chicago, Illinois, 1931-1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

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  Details

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Blotter, "Beauty at a Bargain," 1936

  Details

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Blotter, "Beauty at a Bargain," 1936

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Advertising card

Date Made

1936

Object ID

98.1.1828.7

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Blotter, "Beauty at a Bargain," 1936

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Blotter, "Fruehauf Stainless Steel Trailers," 1931-1941

  Details

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Blotter, "Fruehauf Stainless Steel Trailers," 1931-1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Advertising card

Date Made

1931-1941

Object ID

98.1.1828.6

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Blotter, "Fruehauf Stainless Steel Trailers," 1931-1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Blotter, "Getting Talked About, the New Fruehauf Type F Body," 1931-1941

  Details

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Blotter, "Getting Talked About, the New Fruehauf Type F Body," 1931-1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Advertising card

Date Made

1931-1941

Object ID

98.1.1828.5

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Blotter, "Getting Talked About, the New Fruehauf Type F Body," 1931-1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Blotter, "Trailer Service When You Want It," 1931-1941

  Details

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Blotter, "Trailer Service When You Want It," 1931-1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Advertising card

Date Made

1931-1941

Object ID

98.1.1828.3

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Blotter, "Trailer Service When You Want It," 1931-1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Brochure, "White Elephants," 1931-1941

  Details

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Brochure, "White Elephants," 1931-1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Brochure

Date Made

1931-1941

Object ID

98.1.1828.2

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Brochure, "White Elephants," 1931-1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Card, "Livestock Body," 1931-1941

  Details

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Card, "Livestock Body," 1931-1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Advertising card

Date Made

1931-1941

Object ID

98.1.1828.12

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Card, "Livestock Body," 1931-1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Card, "Stake and Rack," 1931-1941

  Details

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Card, "Stake and Rack," 1931-1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Advertising card

Date Made

1931-1941

Object ID

98.1.1828.11

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Card, "Stake and Rack," 1931-1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Card, "Type T Panel," 1931-1941

  Details

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Card, "Type T Panel," 1931-1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

Artifact

Advertising card

Date Made

1931-1941

Object ID

98.1.1828.9

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford.

Location

By Request in the Benson Ford Research Center

Get more details in Digital Collections at:

thehenryford.org

Fruehauf Trailer Co. Advertising Card, "Type T Panel," 1931-1941

View in our Collectionson thehenryford.org 

What is The Henry Ford?

The national attraction for discovering your ingenuity while exploring America’s spirit of innovation. There is always much to see and do at The Henry Ford.

VIEW CALENDAR

  Details