Friday, June 23, 2017

1912 electric truck, damn, it's big! It's a CT electric, the Commercial Truck Company of Philadelphia from approximately 1908 to 1927. That double steering wheel is the unique identifying visual aid. This one was saved by a publishing company for silent early morning delivery up to 1962

The Commercial Truck Company operated in Philadelphia Pennsylvania and produced large electric trucks from approximately 1908 to 1927.

They sold twenty-two electric powered vehicles to Curtis Publishing, two of which were used to haul coal to fire boilers for plant operations.

The other twenty were randomly used daily to haul paper and to distribute magazines such as Jack and Jill, Ladies Home Journal, and The Saturday Evening Post. These vehicles slipped silently into the streets each day in the early morning hours never awakening their customers. These trucks received the best of care being serviced in the Curtis warehouse after each use and were charged approximately six hours per day.

This truck was Old Number 8 and one of the first delivered to the publishing company.

 The Model F-5 flatbed was rated at five tons but regularly carried in excess of ten tons, well beyond its stated capacity. Each wood spoke wheel has its own motor and used a solid-rubber tire that lasted for an extremely long time. Unloaded, the truck could travel at 12 miles per hour, which was two miles over the speed limit at that time.

There are less than 15 of these electric trucks left in the world and very few have been restored because of the complexity of the electrical system.

Steve remembered that he'd posted a photo of one of these on Shorpy years ago

COMMERCIAL TRUCK ELECTRIC (1912) from Dark Burn Media LLC on Vimeo.

those 2 groove wide solid tires reminded me of this beast of a gas electric:
from last year

Thanks Steve!


  1. I did the Restoration of the truck. Difficult to drive at first, no brakes.

    1. Damn! Compliments to your skills and perseverence! What caused you to undertake the restoration, and what was the most difficult thing to do or part to get?