Ernest Holmes, originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee, was asked to help his former business school professor John Wiley in 1916. After Wiley's Ford Model T crashed into a creek bed, Holmes managed to rescue the car with the help of six men over eight hours. It is believed this was the first tow truck ever made — constructed using a 1913 Cadillac chassis instead of a heavy-duty truck.
In 1917, Holmes invented a crane and pulley system which he fitted to an old Cadillac car for towing broken or damaged vehicles back to the repair shop. For extra stability, two outriggers were added. His business then changed focus to producing and selling Holmes Wrecker tow vehicles as an income-generating venture.
Ernest Holmes Sr. was a pioneer in the field of towing. Before he died in 1945, he had patented numerous different designs of tow trucks, as well as other car tools such as lifts, creepers and jacks. This information comes from a Wikipedia article.
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