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Trucks on Display


Below is a sampling of many of the trucks on display in our Trucking Hall of Fame® Exhibit Hall. When you visit, you’ll find more than what is featured here.

1903 Eldridge

Engine Type:
2 cylinder opposed piston gasoline engine

Transmission Type:
Friction Drive

Truck Information:
This is believed to be the first ever truck manufactured in Des Moines. Resembling an old farm wagon, this truck was built by George Eldridge, a machinist, near the start of the 20th century. Eldridge produced at least one car and three other trucks, years before the first Model-T was built by Ford in 1908. This truck was used to transport various items between Eldridge’s various machine shops. It was retired to a field behind the blacksmith shop where it rested for years until Owen Crist purchased the vehicle some 30 years later. The truck’s solid rubber tires had turned hard as granite, frame had turned to rust, and the wooden spokes had rotted away. Crist spent years restoring the vehicle. Along the way he noticed many unique features of the old Eldridge. One of these features was the friction drive transmission. The transmission has one wheel, driven by the engine, that rubs against another perpendicular wheel. This transfers power to a shaft that drives a sprocket which uses a chain to turn the wheels. This is similar to how a bicycle operates.

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