Fostoria Cartage, Inc.

Usually I do not present contract carriers as this blog delves into the history of less than truckload carriers, but while researching an ICC volume of motor carrier cases this one was interesting with lots of details. This company was submitting a Contract Carrier Application with the Interstate Commerce Commission in the 1930’s. The application was filed on January 30, 1936 and was submitted for consideration on December 1. Fostoria Cartage was assigned ICC MC 50041 and the details were in a printed report in Volume 1 starting on Page 793. After the ICC hearing the certificate was granted on April 28, 1937 to operate as a contract carrier of automobile parts over irregular routes between Fostoria, Toledo, Fort Wayne and Muncie, Indiana. That’s not the interesting part. Two other carriers mentioned in the report were companies that I had never heard.

Fostoria Cartage began operations in September 1935 to serve Electric Auto-Lite Company, which made auto parts with factories in Fostoria and Toledo, Ohio. These auto parts were then to be shipped to customers in Detroit, Michigan, and Indiana cities of Fort Wayne, Muncie, Kokomo, Anderson and Indianapolis. Fostoria Cartage had a fleet of 2 tractors and 2 trailers. Shipments to Toledo would be between 50 and 60 tons daily.  Before Fostoria Cartage began operations, the Freight was handled by Kramer Motor Freight Lines, Inc. a subsidiary of Huber Motor Transportation Company. Kramer Motor Freight Lines? I had known about Kramer Brothers out of Detroit and wondered if this was somehow connected. Huber Motor Transportation Company? Was this part of Huber & Huber that was a large trucking firm that eventually became part of Smith’s Transfer Corporation? I just had to know more!

At the time, in 1936, Kramer Motor Freight Lines had 15 tractors and 15 trailers in Ohio and 8 tractors and 11 trailers in Michigan that were all purchased for serving the Electric Auto-Lite account. The traffic per week from Fostoria to Detroit averaged 13 to 14 truckloads of about 20,000 pounds each, which seems small today but remember trailers in the 1930’s were less than 35 feet in length. The Fostoria-Detroit shipments represented 50% of Kramer traffic and 1935 revenues were $20,000.

Huber Motor Transportation was based in Tiffin, Ohio and in August 1935 filed an application with the Ohio PUC to operate within Ohio over about 12 routes. The fleet was: 5-2 1/2 tin trucks, 3 2-tin trucks, 5 1&1/2 tin trucks and 15 trailers.

I don’t think the two carriers were connected with the bigger ones that a lot of history buffs remember. But it certainly made for interesting reading in the ICC Reports!

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