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Trucking in the modern United States may be the backbone of America, an integral part of consumerism and daily life. But prior to the trucking industry, logistics in this country relied exclusively on horse, wagon and rail.

While rail is still vital in logistics, it is thanks to the Mack brothers that semi trucks are so prevalent today.

Jack and Gus Mack from Brooklyn, New York, first bought the Fallesen and Berry carriage company in 1893 and renamed it Mack Brothers Co. Soon after, a liquidity crisis in the United States forced the brothers to reorganize the business, which saw the two focusing on repairs. This led the company to create its first motorized vehicle in 1900, according to the Mack Trucks Historical Museum: a 40-horsepower, 20-passenger bus.

Contemporary inventions at the time included air conditioning, the first successful airplane and the Model T. For their part, the Mack brothers were set on creating durable, heavy-duty commercial transportation.

It is said that Jack Mack’s inspiration for how to turn the bus into a truck came from a ride in his neighbor’s two-cylinder Winton car. From there, the Mack bus grew into a commercial truck, the beginning of the semi trucks we know today.

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