A lot of people think Henry Ford invented the first car. However, about 20 years before Ford automated car production with the assembly line, Karl Benz invented the first automobile. It wasn’t until 1916 that the first drivers licenses were issued. A couple of years after that a model T Ford was driven into a creek in Tennessee and the seeds of the tow truck evolution were planted. Check Fast Hattiesburg Towing – Hattiesburg wrecker.
A local business man heard of the wreck and got his brother, the local service station owner to help him get the car out of the ditch. With the help of a few more volunters, a block and tackle and a little bit of sweat the men finally got the car out of the Tennesse creek. And it only took 8 hours to get that done. The business man thought, there has to be a better way!
His name was Ernest Holmes and he went back home a started puttering around in his garage rigging up a winch of sorts on the back of his 1913 Cadillac. The first time he tried to use it his car started to tip over. He realized he need some lateral support and design crude outriggers that he could attach to the side of the Caddy to keep it from tipping. He tested and modified his Caddy with the winch and the outriggers over the next 3 years until he had a product which worked reliably and without incident.
He file for a patent in 1919. The Holmes 485 was the first vehicle produced for the sole purpose of towing broken down automobiles in the early 20th century. He produced his “wrecker”, as they were know in those days, and sold them to service stations at the time. He continued to produce tow trucks well into the 1970’s. His 1919 Holmes 485 still exists in an auto museum in Tennessee.