The History of Moving Companies

Hiring a moving company is a part of everyday life for both individuals and businesses. Yet not many people are probably aware of how moving companies began and the interesting history of moving services as a profession. Modern moving companies with their big trucks and tractor-trailers are merely an extension of the very first for-hire movers who started out in a more modest way.


The First Long-Distance Moves

Although the first true moving services did not exist until the 1940s, the very first “movers” began in a very humble and practical way. When the West was being settled in the 1800s before the Intercontinental Railroad was constructed, people gathered up all of their belongings and put them into covered wagons specifically made for hauling household furnishings and headed to the West using nothing but horsepower. Wagon trains, which were groups of families moving west, worked together, as it made loading, traveling, and unloading much easier for all involved who worked as a group.

The Intercontinental Railroad and Motorized Vehicles

With the construction of the Intercontinental Railroad, moving personal goods to the Old West became much easier. It did not eliminate the horse and wagon, as that was still a popular local method for people moving to another house or who required moving large, heavy objects. As the automobile was used in the late 1800s, the first “moving trucks” were also manufactured. These vehicles were little more than automobiles with two-axle, two-cylinder engines and a rear bed, much like the horse-drawn wagon.

The Impact of Two World Wars on Moving

During WWI, nearly all motorized vehicles were being used to support the war effort, which delayed the development of actual moving services. There was still a demand for moving services, which left most people moving choices of horse and wagon or shipping via trains. Many who could not afford the cost of shipping large items had to buy or build new furniture when they reached their destinations across the country.

In the early 1900s, a few small transport companies felt that local transport by truck could be less expensive than by train and began to offer public moving services. These were the very first organized moving companies. They did very well, as the demand for service was high. These fledgling moving businesses really boomed after WWII ended, when thousands of young soldiers returned to the U.S. from war. These men returned ready to find jobs, start families, and find homes for their families. This drastically increased the demand for household moving services throughout the entire country.

Moving companies began to spring up everywhere, including some original services that are still in business today. Over time, with increased demand and the availability of bigger and better trucks, the moving industry as it is known today emerged.

Today’s moving companies are very different than those of yesteryear, although their purpose has always been the same. Thankfully, with improved vehicle technology and better transportation methods in general, moving services are more efficient and cost-effective than ever before. So the next time you require a moving company to move a household or business, call a modern-day “covered wagon transport service,” and schedule your move with one of the best professional movers in the area!


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