In 1914, Detroit blacksmith and carriage maker August Fruehauf and his employee Otto Neumann were approached by Frederic Sibley, a local lumber manufacturer who was looking for a way to transport his boat. But instead of moving the boat with a horse-drawn wagon, Sibley wanted Fruehauf to rig Sibley's Ford Model T to tow the vessel.
Fruehauf removed the back seat of Sibley's Model T and installed a hitch mechanism for a trailer above the chassis. Fruehauf's invention, dubbed the "semitrailer," was the start of a new industry. Four years later, he founded Fruehauf Trailer Co., which grew into the largest semitrailer manufacturer in the world.