An interesting history of Peterbilt, a heavy duty truck history from 1900 to 2000. The company itself was established in 1939.
According to the site, the goal was for the industry was to concentrate on delivering high performance and low maintenance, as well very strong and durable vehicles. The focused to paying off a low operating cost with the driver productivity and high resale value. That was basically what the focus of Peterbilt when it was established. If you will keep reading, you'll find that there is quite a rich history for this company, that actually does begin in 1900 before the trucks even existed yet. There were motor wagons that were motor driven commercial. There was a big competition at the time. But when the steam power was fully in use in the early 1900's those wagon were no longer in a higher demand. People now turned to the railroad system which was much faster and thus a faster service. The rivers and the canals also became highly useful as another mean for transportation. This early technology paved the way to a company called Peterbilt which gradually become a top trucking company since its birth 1939. If you do the math, it is a 71 years old company. I don't know of many companies that still exist after so many decades.
Much more information at:
March 23, 2010