The tow truck was invented in 1916 by Ernest Holmes, sir of Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was a garage worker who was inspired to create the invention after he was forced to pull the car out of a creek using blocks, ropes and six men. An improved design led him to manufacture wreckers. A museum in Chattanooga called the international towing and recovery hall of fame and museum features restored antique wreckers and displays related toys, tools, equipment and pictorial histories of the tow truck industry.General usage of vehicle rowing, hook and chain are looped around the vehicle frame or axle, which is drawn aloft by a boom winch to rest against a pair of heavy rubberized mats so the customer’s vehicle can be towed on its other axle. Slings are not used much today because they can scratch the bumpers of cars. But they are sometimes used for Car Recovery Reading that has been in an accident or it has one or two of the front or rear wheels missing or for pickup trucks and other vehicles that have steel bumpers.
Wheel lift evolved from the hook and chain technology to produce a large metal yoke that can be fitted under the front or rear wheels to cradle them, drawing the front or rear end of the vehicle clear of the ground by a pneumatic or hydraulic hoist so it can be towed. This apparatus generally picks up the drive wheels of the vehicle i.e. the front wheels if it is front wheel drive, the rear wheels if it is rear wheel drive, touching only the tires. Flatbed also called a Rollback or a Slide, the entire back of the truck is fitted with a bed that can be hydraulically inclined and moved to ground level, allowing the vehicle being towed to be placed on it under its own power or pulled by a winch. Integrated also referred to as a Self Loader Snatcher, Quick Pick or Repo Truck boom and wheel lift integrated into one unit. Used in light-duty trucks to repossess vehicles or move illegally parked vehicles.
Most have controls for the apparatus inside the cab of the tow truck to make quick pickup possible without the inconvenience of exiting the truck to hook up the vehicle. Heavy-duty trucks are also manufactured with integrated lift.Tow trucks are usually operated by private businesses, except for major highways and toll roads, where the road authority may operate the tow trucks for that stretch of road. Businesses who operate a large fleet of vehicles, such as school bus companies or package delivery services, often own one or several tow trucks for the purposes of towing their own vehicles. Government departments with large fleets. Many tow companies have the capability to store vehicles that have been wrecked or impounded by police agencies. In these circumstances, police agencies notify a contracted towing provider to secure the vehicle and tow it to a storage lot. The tow company will sometimes prevent access to the vehicle until the law states the owner can claim it (usually after any fines are paid).Nearly all tow companies charge a fee for storing vehicles.