If Your Company or Town Had a Truck in the Early 20th Century, It Was Probably One of His

March 26, 1863

Truck industrialist George Albert Brockway was born in the village of Homer, New York. He was the son of William Northrup Brockway, who manufactured horse-drawn carriages and wagons. After William was stricken with a debilitating illness in 1888 that brought about his death the following year, George stepped in as the company’s business manager.

The company soon became one of the largest privately owned manufacturers of carriages and wagons in the United States. By 1910, Brockway shifted his transportation focus to motorized vehicles and began to sell trucks built by the Chase Motor Truck Company. In 1912, he went into the truck-manufacturing business himself and became both founder and president of the Brockway Motor Truck Company.

The company, which was based in the city of Cortland (near Homer), became one of the most popular manufacturers of both light- and heavy-duty trucks. Many municipalities owned and extensively used Brockway trucks for a variety of services, including snow removal and road maintenance. “Brockways” were also widely used by the U.S. military and such enterprises as breweries, meat packers, and oil firms.

1923 Brockway Model T

Brockways, which were initially assembled by one-time carriage and wagon builders in Cortland, became easily recognizable thanks to their hood-top vents and other distinguishing features. In addition, these trucks were among the first to include sleeper cabs that made it possible for tired drivers to take a break on the road without having to pay for a motel room or other lodging arrangements. Brockway’s company also manufactured other types of large-sized vehicles, including fire trucks and motor buses.

Brockway retired as his company’s president in 1928 but continued to serve as chairman of the board. He died at his home in Cortland in 1953 at the age of 90.  Brockway’s company remained in operation until 1977.

For more information on George Albert Brockway, please check out http://www.coachbuilt.com/bui/b/brockway/brockway.htm.

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