Who were the first movers? Well, we can trace it all the way back to the times of cave people—when nomads would travel from location to location. But going that far back would take too much time. Let’s focus on the industry and all its advancements throughout history. The evolution of the modern moving service is fascinating, to say the least. Take our word for it and read on.
The Early Stages
The early settlers of the Western world couldn’t even think about moving in the span of a day or two. They didn’t imagine using a motor vehicle or even an airplane. The idea of flight was a concept reserved for birds. They used what was at their disposal—a wagon and horse. That was the extent of their modern technology.
The beginning stages of the moving industry started in the early 19th century with the covered wagon. The covered wagon was the first and only means of transportation when settlers considered venturing out to a new location and starting over. The covered wagons shown in old Western films are the exact ones these settlers used to transport and protect their belongings.
The Conestoga wagon and the Prairie schooner were the two most common covered wagons.
- The Conestoga wagon, named after the Conestoga River in Pennsylvania, hauled heavy and difficult materials for short distances.
- The Prairie schooner was a much smaller and lighter wagon, pulled by only two horses, and built for long-distance travel.
Depending on the destination, the journey could last weeks before arrival. Travelers needed to account for the horses needing to break and the lack of sunlight. Once the sun set, resting for the night was safer than keeping on.
And then railroads came into the picture, and they made traveling more efficient and safer. The construction of the intercontinental railroads made moving personal goods in the West easier. But it didn’t eliminate the need for horses and wagons. The method was still popular locally, and it worked better for those moving heavy and cumbersome objects.
Builders completed the first passenger train in 1830. The evolution of the transportation industry birthed the modern moving industry. From 1830 to 1860, trains dominated the means of travel in the US. Consumer companies used trains to transport goods. One local company would transport them, and another one would unload them. It was an efficient exchange, and families caught on to it.
If families wanted to relocate without paying for a costly wagon, they would take the train. This was ideal because, on top of not needing a wagon, they also didn’t need to purchase horses if they didn’t already have their own.
Eventually, gas-powered motors came on the scene. World Wars I and II played a major role in this area. During WWI, the military needed nearly all motorized vehicles to support war efforts. Additionally, the need for mass manufacturing expanded the number of paved roads across the US, making road transportation more practical and cost-effective.
The motor vehicle made its debut nearly a decade after the war began. In 1919, Ward B. Hiner founded the Red Ball Transit Company, utilizing a fleet of motorized vans. The company still exists today with a specialization in interstate moving.
Soon after, more companies saw the genius in this idea and realized that local transport by truck could be less expensive than train and began to offer public moving services. The industry consisted of only a few individual companies operating independently.
By 1928, a group of independent moving companies formed an alliance called Allied Van Lines. It was the first moving company network to form in the US.
With the moving industry’s growing popularity and promising profits, the government had to make an appearance to ensure things didn’t get out of hand. In 1933, President Roosevelt introduced a series of domestic programs known as the New Deal.
The act stabilized pricing for moving services, protecting the industry from the still-powerful railways. It also prevented larger companies from offering volume discounts, allowing smaller companies to continue to compete.
By 1948, the Reed-Bullwinkle Act made it almost impossible for new companies to enter the industry and get a certification. In 1980, President Reagan and Congress deregulated this act and passed both the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 and the Household Goods Transportation Act of 1980, allowing new companies to enter the market.
After those two acts, the moving industry boomed bigger than ever. New companies joined the market, and homeowners had many options to choose from. What was once only a few hundred companies quickly became thousands. The 20th century was rocky for moving companies, but it made things easier for the 21st century.
There’s now an environment for healthy competition. Those two acts helped to establish industry developments like replacement value protection, discounts, and service-based contracts. Companies saw possibilities and realized they could offer their customers services beyond moving.
At Capitol North American, we are experts in the field of moving and storage in Las Vegas. If you don’t have enough room to store all of your items or need to find a waiting space for them, we can provide it for you.
The 21st century’s modern technology has brought the moving industry to a whole new level. The internet, smartphones, and social media have revolutionized the industry for the better. The relationship between companies and customers is stronger now than ever before.
Customers can look up a company online and vet them before choosing one to move their valuables. They no longer have to rely on only a few in the area because that’s all there is to offer. Paved highways, motor vehicles, and deregulations contributed to this, and the possibilities are still endless. There’s no telling what’s in store for the moving industry in the future.
The evolution of the modern moving service helped to establish our company, and we are happy to be here in service of you and your needs. For more information, visit our website.