1879: The Kentucky Wagon Manufacturing Company
Kentucky Trailer traces its roots all the way back to 1879, when the Kentucky Wagon Manufacturing Company was founded in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to many models of specialty wagons, Kentucky Wagon produced "The Old Hickory" and "The Tennessee," two of the nation’s most popular horse-drawn wagon models. The quality and durability of Kentucky Wagon's products were unmatched, and Kentucky Wagon became the largest wagon manufacturer in the world.
1916: Kentucky Wagon Joins the Automobile Age
Never a company to rest on its laurels, Kentucky Wagon was mindful of changing tides in America’s growing transportation needs. In 1916, Kentucky Wagon began building automobile bodies for the Hercules Motor Car Company of New Albany, Indiana. Kentucky Wagon later bought Hercules Motor Cars' assets and moved its auto production operation to 2601 South Third Street in Louisville, Kentucky--a move that made Kentucky Wagon the first automobile manufacturer in Louisville. At that site--which remained the company's primary manufacturing facility until June 2009--the Dixie Flyer motor car was designed and built. The Dixie Motor Car Company manufactured automobiles, delivery trucks, and the two-seat Dixie Firefly--the only known surviving example of which now resides at Kentucky Trailer’s main production plant in Louisville.
1936: The R. C. Tway Legacy Begins
R.C. Tway, an early icon of the Louisville business community, purchased the assets of Kentucky Wagon Manufacturing in 1936, renaming it the Kentucky Manufacturing Company. Mr. Tway changed not only the company's name but also its direction, focusing on cutting-edge advances for the transportation industry. Tway’s resolute strategy was to make truck drawn trailers, rather than rail cars, the preferred mode of freight transportation. Tway's bold vision set the course for Kentucky Manufacturing Company for many decades to come.
1939 – 1945: The U.S. Government Asked and Kentucky Trailer Delivered
Kentucky Manufacturing was commissioned by the US Government to product flatbed trailers for the U.S. Army.
1945-1990’s: Wartime Production Leads to New Focus on Customization
After WWII, Kentucky continued to manufacture trailers as a means of serving the country's evolving transportation needs. Custom manufacturing on a large scale was a revolutionary concept at the time, and Kentucky Manufacturing excelled by designing and building a wide variety of trailers, including livestock, platform, low-boy, logging, chip, and grain trailers. The focus on customization has continued through today. Kentucky Trailer is the nation’s leading manufacturer of custom moving vans, and its clients in the moving and storage industry include Allied, Atlas, Mayflower, North American, United Van Lines, Wheaton World Wide Moving, and many others. Other specialty-application customers include Frito-Lay and UPS.
April 2001: Kentucky Trailer Opens First Service Facility
Kentucky Trailer opened the doors to its first Service & Reconditioning facility in Louisville, KY. The 15,000 square foot facility had 12 bays and employed 30 trailer technicians and 10 office associates offering complete trailer and truck body repair, reconditioning, and paint and graphics for all models. The facility was later expanded to nearly 20,000 square feet providing additional capacity and improved service.
2003: Trailer Technologies Division Opens Up New Possibilities
In 2003, Kentucky Manufacturing acquired Trailer Technologies, in Walled Lake, Michigan marking our entry into Specialty Vehicles and today provides products for the Commercial, Government, Vehicle Transporter, Mobile Medical and Mobile Broadcast markets.
2006: New Management and Ownership
4th generation R.C. Tway family ownership and leadership transition occurred.
June 2009: Kentucky Trailer Opens Mixed-Model Custom Production Facility
In June 2009, Kentucky Trailer opened the doors to a new 240,000-square-foot facility in the Riverport Industrial Park at 7201 Logistics Drive in Louisville, Kentucky. This new, state-of-the-art plant was specifically designed for mixed-model trailer production and is a LEEDS-compliant facility, marking Kentucky Trailer's entry into eco-friendly trailer production.
2010: Kentucky Trailer Acquires Western Truck and Trailer
Western Truck and Trailer opened in 1963 as a trailer repair facility in Los Angeles, California. Identifying a need for better cargo protection, WTT focused on suspension improvements and aftermarket modifications. In 1987, the business moved to Fontana, California, a growing hub for the trucking industry, to better serve its clients. In January 2010, Kentucky Trailer acquired Western Truck and Trailer, incorporating the facility into its Service Division.
2014: Kentucky Trailer acquires Advanced Mobility & Shelter Technologies and Mobile Medical Field Service Operation
Kentucky Trailer announced on October 28, 2014 the acquisition of Advanced Mobility & Shelter Technologies (AMST) and a complementary Mobile Medical Field Service Operation providing Kentucky with a global sales footprint, a 31,000 square-foot production facility, 38 full-time service professionals and five field technicians that support a 24 hour emergency roadside service as well as service and repair throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.
November 2015: Louisville Based Service Facility Relocates
The Louisville based Service Center relocated to a 60,000 square foot facility increasing capacity from 12 to 20 bays and allowing for additional service and parts sales. The new location also employs up to thirty-six mechanics and with expanded capability to service Vehicle Transport and Mobile Medical units. In addition, this division houses OEM parts functions company-wide.
October 2015: Kentucky Trailer acquires International company, SMIT Mobile Equipment
On October 6th, 2015, Kentucky Trailer announced the acquisition of Smit Mobile Equipment B.V. (“Smit BV”) and Smit Mobile Equipment (UK) Ltd. (“Smit UK” and, together with Smit BV, “Smit”). Based in the Netherlands, Smit BV is an established, global provider of specialty trailers and mobile solutions to the medical sector, including mobile and relocatable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), and positron emission tomography–computed tomography (PET/CT) products. Smit UK is a service organization located in the United Kingdom. Combining the capabilities of Smit and Kentucky Trailer strengthens the overall commitment of the company to the mobile medical market and advances the goal of delivering exceptional custom design, build and service solutions for the specialty trailer, custom transport and mobilized business markets. Together, the two sectors will offer comprehensive global solutions to our original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and mobile medical imaging service provider partners worldwide.
February 2016: Advanced Mobility by Kentucky Trailer Expands
Additionally, Advanced Mobility - Monee, IL, opened a new 75,000 sq. ft. facility in University Park, IL, expanding its finish, calibration and reconditioning capacity. Products and service include mobile equipment trailers and specialty vehicles for healthcare systems world-wide. This facility employs 62 technicians and 19 office associates.
November 2016: Kentucky Trailer announces acquisition of select Bussman Medical & Research Assets
On November 16, 2016, Kentucky Trailer announced the acquisition of select Bussman Medical & Research (Bussman) assets. Based in the Netherlands, Bussman specializes in the design and construction of modular solutions for the healthcare industry with products that include standard and hybrid operating theatres, endoscopy units, dialysis units, maternity suites, pharmacies and more.