A look at the transporters built by Pittsburgh’s Mayer Body Corp.
Photos from collection of Angelo Van Bogart
Little detailed information relating to Mayer Body Corp. and Mayer Truck Equipment of Pittsburgh, Pa., is floating in cyberspace and in reference books, but these photos testify to the company’s industrious nature. The company was apparently in business from 1917-1966 and was located at 204 Auburn Street. There, it built, finished and fitted its own bodies on various truck chassis, presumably under its Mayer Body Corp. wing. It also finished and fitted bodies of other manufacturers to truck chassis, presumably under its Mayer Truck Equipment banner.
Apparently, the company was prolific at photographing its work, and in addition to these images, more than 3,000 photographs and negatives of Mayer’s work are also on file at the University of Pittsburgh Library archive. However, written word of the company’s history is limited to the notes typed on the back of many of its images. Despite the lack of Mayer corporate information, many of those photos provide the details behind each truck build, presumably to illustrate and detail the available products to potential customers.
For truck hobbyists, the volume of images preserving Mayer corporate history is seemingly matched by the variety of bodies the company fitted during the 1930s. From dump bodies, to ice cream boxes to moving truck bodies and bakery containers, it appears many Pennsylvania-based companies trusted the work of Mayer to build, paint, letter and install the containers those businesses used to carry their precious cargo.
If you have a Mayer-bodied vehicle, or can provide additional information on the Pittsburgh company, please write to: Old Cars Weekly, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mayer Body Corp. mounted its semi-deluxe ice cream refrigerator body on this Chevrolet, which it called a 3/4-ton 1936 Chevrolet chassis with a 112-inch wheelbase (we believe it’s actually a 1935 EB 1/2-ton Chevrolet). The body behind the cab held 120 gallons of ice cream, and Mayer also noted the body, cab, hood and fenders were painted cream.
The “DryIce” ice cream refrigerator body on this 133-inch wheelbase 1938 Chevrolet was longer but narrower than in 1935, and held just 75 gallons of ice cream, although space was also provided for dry goods. The body was built of “auto body steel” and it featured a curb-side door and a rear door to empty the ice cream compartment.
Mayer Truck Equipment painted and mounted the two- to three-yard SL-11 Heil steel dump body on this 1935 Ford truck chassis. The dump body featured a double-acting tailgate, full-length mudboards, two side braces on each side and a SL-1 Heil hydraulic hoist.
A duo of red Diamond T Model 211 chassis for the George S. Daughterty Co., “packers and distributors of quality canned foods” in Pittsburgh and New York, wear semi-deluxe panel bodies by Mayer Body Corp. The Mayer body on each 135-inch-wheelbase Diamond T was 8 feet long, 4-feet 7-inches wide and 5 feet high on the inside with a French-type round-edged roof design to match the sleek look of the stylish Diamond T cab. Like the cab, the body of each was well appointed with a rear end gate, screened safety glass lookout window at the front and a dome light inside the body.
This K-34 Dodge chassis, circa 1936, wears a semi-deluxe panel body on the rig’s 162-inch wheelbase. Among the body features Mayer Body Corp. noted were the wheel housings and rear guards, double full-length rear doors and an interior dome light. The combination Dodge truck and Mayer body were employed by Koppers Stores, which had its Depression-savvy logo — “Make your coppers count at Koppers” — painted on the side of the body.
Built for the Carnegie-Illinois-Steel Corp.’s Irvin Works, this 1937 GMC Model T46-S wears a Model SSC-11 steel dump body and 5L Heil hydraulic hoist installed by Mayer Truck Equipment. The dump body was constructed of 8-gauge steel with a double-acting tailgate and a length of 144 inches, width of 84 inches and 24-inch-tall sides with bracing. The rig featured full-length mudboards and dark green paint on the cab and dump body.
Before it could cross a puddle or a rock could chip its dump body, this circa-1936 Mack Jr. Model 20-MA was photographed with a freshly installed dump body. The Model SL-11 steel dump body was presumably made by Heil, also the supplier of the rig’s SL-1 hydraulic hoist, but painted and mounted by Mayer Truck Equipment. This truck rode a 139-inch wheelbase and would have had a 209-cid six-cylinder good for 72 hp. According to the doors, this Mack Jr. serviced the taxpayers of Cumberland Township.
Mayer Body Corp. supplied little information about this 1936-’38 White, built for Rennekamp Supply Co., a manufacturer of concrete blocks. These impressive trucks were “modernized” with “smart streamline styling” by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky and a “aero-type instrument panel” that added “to the de luxe appearance of the cab.” During this period, from 1936-’38, Packards, Pierce-Arrows and Cadillacs weren’t the only vehicles to be fitted with V-12 engines, as White trucks had 505-cid V-12 engines of 143 hp in some models.
About 40 years after Autocar was established in 1897, and about 30 years after the company started building trucks in 1907, Mayer Body Corp. fitted a mammoth dump body to an equally large ca.-1937 Autocar chassis. The body builder didn’t supply any information to accompany the image of the giant dump truck, but given its large size, you can bet this monstrous rig toiled under heavy loads the length of its life.
Just because the cargo area was box-shaped, Mayer Body Corp. didn’t refrain from adding some style to the body. Behind the cab of this ca.-1938 GMC is a slightly angled body with rounded edges and a pair of speed lines that slice the flanks of the body. The classy carrier hauled Kraft Phenix Cheese for the Tip Top Cheese Co., presumably operated by L.A. Sagone.
Tejan Coal & Supply of Emsworth, Pa., hauled coal and coke in this late-1930s Mack truck with large sidewalls on its body. This flashy, Allentown, Pa.-built truck was fitted with front tow hooks and a hydraulic hoist. It remains an impressive example of a heavy hauler with home-state pride.
The city of Morgantown, Pa., or W.Va., took delivery of this D-35 International with a Model #12 steel dump body of 7-gauge material sometime between 1937 and 1940. The dump body was 108 inches long, 72 inches wide and had 12-inch-tall side panels and used a double-acting tailgate elevated with a GH-576 Galion hydraulic hoist. The six- cylinder-powered truck rode the 149-inch wheelbase and was painted Battleship Gray with black letters and the number 33 on its cowl.