Great Dane – American Made Historical Timeline Since 1900

Great Dane is committed to the research and development of cutting-edge American made products that stand up to the toughest demands. With industry-leading testing facilities and state-of-the-art manufacturing plants, companies trust that Great Dane products are built to last.

The hard work Great Dane does each day helps American businesses ship their goods to every corner of the country, from clothes and electronics, to groceries and medicine – their trailers carry the important things that families need for their daily lives. 

Great Dane stands ready to provide the premium transportation solutions American businesses need to keep the momentum moving. Right now, they are honored to play a historic role in the vaccine distribution effort as Great Dane trailers carry vaccines across the country.

They are delivering hope and relief to millions of Americans every day – and they need more people to keep up these efforts as they ramp up hiring across the country. They are putting people back to work when many American families need it most.

Take a peek inside the facilities to learn how Great Dane and its over 5,000 employees continue to deliver excellence.

The Savannah Blowpipe Company of Savannah, Georgia is established, manufacturing sheet metal blowpipe systems to collect dust and chips from sawmills, mills and furniture plants throughout the Southeast.

The Savannah Blowpipe Company begins fabricating light structural steel, steel plate products and begins manufacturing flatbed trailers, later expanding to tank trailers.

The company moves to a new location on Lathrop Avenue—a 200-foot by 50-foot space with a 10-ton traveling crane, power tools for cutting and punching, steelwork and blacksmith facilities.

The Savannah Blowpipe Company incorporates as The Steel Products Company.

The Steel Products Company hires expert trailer builder, William Lowndes, and retains his Great Dane trailer name as a symbol of strength and stamina that aligns with the company vision.

The Steel Products Company engineers a lightweight trailer made of high tensile steel to meet the challenges posed by new highway weight laws. This lightweight trailer becomes the company’s principal product, expanding sales from the Carolinas and Georgia into Florida.

In the early 1940s, The Steel Products Company pioneers the refrigerated trailer industry by engineering the first produce van with a wet ice bunker, a gas engine and blower system—followed shortly by the Great Dane reefer, the first factory-finished refrigerated van, known as the ‘Sno-Zone’ Reefer.

The Steel Products Company changes the color of Great Dane’s signature dog oval from black to red.

The Steel Products Company formally changes its name to Great Dane Trailers, Inc.

Great Dane introduces a redesigned line of van trailers built largely of lightweight aluminum, and begins to phase out all structural steel products and focus solely on trailer products.

Great Dane enters the piggyback and container market.

Great Dane announces a $2M expansion program, which increases trailer production 100 percent.

Great Dane purchases an all-platform trailer manufacturing location in Memphis, Tennessee from Arrow Trailer.

Great Dane builds another manufacturing facility in Brazil, Indiana dedicated solely to vans. Within a few years, in 1978, a refrigeration trailer production line is added.

During this time Great Dane installs computer-controlled road simulation equipment in its Research and Development Lab—the only one of its kind still in operation today.

Great Dane Engineering capabilities were greatly enhanced by installation of CADCAM computer graphics.great dane trailers

Great Dane acquires the SuperSeal reefer product line as well as a plant in Wayne, Nebraska from Timpte—giving them the broadest portfolio of reefers in the industry.

During this same year, a Parts Distribution Center was opened in Sparks, Nevada.

Great Dane opens a dry van plant in Terre Haute, Indiana, as well as an adjacent parts distribution center.

The merger of Great Dane Trailers and Pines Trailer creates Great Dane Limited Partnership, the industry’s largest trailer company.

Great Dane updates its branch locations beginning with the expansion of the Little Rock, Arkansas sales office to a full-service branch.

Great Dane celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Still going strong today, Great Dane will be featured at Made in America 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky on October 1st-3rd with other American Manufacturers from across the country. Learn more about Great Dane.

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