Fruehauf Trailer Company



The original Fruehauf Trailer Company was founded by August Charles Fruehauf in 1918 and credited with the invention of the semi-trailer. The Fruehauf Trailer Company introduced revolutionary inventions to trucking and transportation with hydraulic dump trailers, bulk tanker trailers, and automatic fifth wheel coupling among their over one thousand patents.

While the original company is no longer in operation, trailers are still produced under the Fruehauf name in many countries, including Mexico, France, New Zealand, Poland, and Japan.

August Fruehauf - Founder of Fruehauf Trailer Company
August Fruehauf - Founder of Fruehauf Trailer Company

Trailer Manufacturer Profile

  • Company: Fruehauf Trailer Company / Fruehauf Corporation
  • Headquarters: Detroit, Michigan
  • Founded Date: 1918
  • Founder: August Charles Fruehauf
  • Learn More: Related Content
Fruehauf Dry Van Semi-Trailer

Historical Highlights


Blacksmith and carriage builder August Fruehauf is asked by a Michigan businessman, Frederic M Sibley, to build a transport trailer for his boat. He asks that the trailer be capable of being hauled behind a Ford Model T. After the success of this trailer, Sibley asks Fruehauf to build similar trailers to be used for hauling lumber. Fruehauf builds the trailers, which he calls “semi-trailers.”


August Fruehauf incorporated the Fruehauf Trailer Company.


Financial issues result in the sell-off of company divisions. The truck trailer unit continues operation as Fruehauf Trailer Corporation.


Fruehauf Trailer Corporation files for bankruptcy. Its assets are purchased by Wabash National.

Fruehauf Trailer Historical Society

Fruehauf Trailer Historical Society

The Fruehauf Trailer Historical Society was created by Ruth Fruehauf and Darlene Norman to preserve the history of the Fruehauf Trailer Company and the Fruehauf family. And make no mistake about it, there is plenty of history to be preserved! Be sure to visit their site to learn more.