© Steve Gadol
Type of Equipment:
Ford Motor Company
Highland Park, MI
Railway Express Company
Roots of Motive Power
Henry Ford started producing his famous Model T automobiles in 1908, but it wasn’t until 1917 that his company started producing one-ton trucks on a commercial basis. These trucks were based on the diminutive Model T, but had a longer and heavier frame and rear axle. They were often sold as a bare chassis with only a cab, and the new owner would apply the body desired. By 1925, the trucks could be had for as little as $365 (bare chassis), and Ford owned fifty percent of truck production in the United States.
Railway Express Agency (originally American Railway Express Company) was, in the early part of the 20th century, the only rail express service in the country. Adams Express, American Express and Wells Fargo Express had third interests in American Railway Express, and sold their interests to the national railroad system, which re-named the company Railway Express Agency. During the first half of the last century, nearly everything moved by rail, and was at some point handled by REA. The company struggled in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and finally gave up in 1975 when they filed for bankruptcy.
The 1927 Model TT truck here was one of 40,000 produced in that year. It was restored by Charles Ruelle of Ukiah, who donated it to Roots of Motive Power in 2004.