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TowTimes.com - Happy Birthday Ernest Holmes, Sr.


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ErnestHolmesSr.jpgFirst Tow Truck.jpg


Ernest Holmes, Sr., was born on January 17, 1883, and the reason to celebrate his birthday is because he was the inventor of the first tow truck.


In 1916, his friend John Wiley needed help recovering his Ford Model T, which was off the road and upside down in a creek bed. Holmes eventually got the T out of the creek bed and upright, but it took eight hours, six men and much manual labor.

The experience gave Holmes an idea. Back at his shop, he outfitted a Cadillac by attaching an iron chain, a crane and pulley system and some hooks. Unfortunately, the chassis of the Cadillac was not strong or sturdy enough to lift and tow broken down vehicles very far. Holmes then spent the next couple of years modifying and refining his idea until he came up with a successful model for the build of the first tow truck. He filed for a patent in November 1917.


The first wrecker was named the Holmes 485 and was a split-boom concept. By 1965, two-thirds of all wreckers in the industry were Holmes units. In 1990, Miller Industries bought out both Holmes and Century.


While we remember this great inventor and celebrate his birthday, the next time you’re winching a vehicle out of a ditch, thank John Wiley for getting his Model T stuck in the creek bed.




View the full article and more on TowTimes.com

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