Schnabel Company Photographs

What’s online?

The Schnabel Company online photographs contain images dating from the 1940s through the 1950s of customized trucks, employees constructing trucks, and Schnabel Company events.

What’s in the entire collection?

The Schnabel Company Photographs include images of finished and unfinished trucks, Schnabel's assembly plant, employees, as well as catalog and sales books for the company.

About the Schnabel Company

The Schnabel Company produced carriages, wagons and trucks for commercial organizations and businesses for over 100 years, continually adapting their product line to reflect the changes in transportation.  The Company was established in 1860 by Austrian born Martin Schnabel as a manufacturer of light carriages and road wagons.  Schnabel built their first facility in Pittsburgh's Strip District neighborhood at 31st Street and Penn Avenue.  In its early years, the company employed over fifteen skilled workers and specialized in made-to-order vehicles, including spring, coach top wagons, and express wagons.  When Martin Schnabel died in 1873, his son, Gustavus A. Schnabel, became president and continued to uphold his father's reputation for manufacturing vehicles of superior quality. 

By 1905, Gustavus changed the company's name to G. A. Schnabel & Sons.  As the company continued to expand and its reputation spread, the company's market gradually extended from Pittsburgh businesses to those in different parts of the region and country.  In order to accommodate the increased business, Schnabel moved their production facility from the Strip District to Pittsburgh's South Side around 1926.  Schnabel's new facility was located at 37-39 South Tenth Street. 

With the advent of the automobile, the Schnabel Company began working with automobile body construction, painting, hydraulic hoists, and equipment for motor trucks.  Since they did not produce the truck's frame or any part of its drive train, Schnabel specialized in adapting trucks produced elsewhere by adding the custom truck body based on the needs of the client.  From the mid to early 1930s through the 1950s, Schnabel continued to expand as a trucking company, specializing in the construction of refrigerated truck bodies.  The company designed aluminum and all-steel truck bodies with refrigerated and insulated interiors that were used by numerous dairies in the region including Meadow Gold and Sealtest. 

Schnabel built trucks for numerous other companies in Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania including delivery trucks for Horne's Department Stores, steel mill body trucks for beverage companies, dump trucks, gasoline carriers and others.  The company ceased operations in the late 1960s.

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