We all acknowledge the importance of HGVs for the evolution of our country's economy. These vehicles transport goods from manufacturers to suppliers and stores, and ultimately help us get everything we need, whenever we need it. Just pick any road you want, take a look at the passing vehicles and you'll surely see at least one HGV moving supplies from one place to another, 24/7, all year round. However, things weren't always like this. As a matter of fact, HGV courses are a fairly new invention in the big scheme of things. Not too long ago, you would have seen much smaller vehicles and even carts and horses or donkeys transporting goods along the national roads. Would you like to know how we got from carts and donkeys to modern HGVs?
Lorries Come From The 1900s
In the early 1900s, the job of a HGV driver was difficult and highly undesirable. Trucks had tyres made from solid rubber, so they didn't absorb shocks. Driving a truck was definitely a rough and exhausting journey. Besides, the average speed of a truck was much lower than the one in our modern times. A bit later, in 1912, vehicles started to feature pneumatic tyres. These tyres were filled with air and they offered more comfort to the driver. This job became a bit more appealing, as journeys were not only more comfortable but also faster. This was the beginning of a huge boost of the shipping and freight industry. This improvement was one of the most important things that led to the successful HGV industry of today.
America had a big contribution to the development of HGV driving. A demonstration organized by The Seattle Chamber Of Commerce had a driver take his truck for a ride from Seattle to New York. This was the proof that new highways and HGVs were efficient and they were able to help manufacturers and merchants have their freight shipped faster, cheaper and in safer conditions. The main take from this demonstration was that those who didn't jump on this bandwagon would be left behind. It's worth mentioning here that this trip took one month to complete and it was a real success.
The 1920s Brought Illumination To HGVs
Even though some cars had electric headlights earlier on, nobody considered to use them on HGVs. It was only in the 1920s that electric headlights became the norm on all types of vehicles. This was the beginning of a revolution in this industry, as it enabled drivers to work even at night. You can easily imagine that all journeys took less time to complete, thus enabling companies and merchants to save money by boosting their work productivity. With this increased efficiency came an increased demand. Hopefully, haulage companies were able to keep pace with this new trend.
Furthermore, the 1920s where the time when the fifth wheel was invented. Thanks to adding this fifth wheel to HGVs, drivers were able to speed up the process of dropping off loads and picking up freight. These two improvements together made HGVs better equipped and more efficient than ever before.
The electric headlights and the fifth wheel generated a huge spike in demand, which led to companies hiring a lot more HGV drivers and planning new and longer routes, in order to cover the whole country. Businesses that saw the success of this industry rushed to grab a piece of the action. This is how the HGV became vital for the economy of the UK. By 1930s, there were already about 330,000 HGVs registered in the country.