Two mechanic brothers, John M. "Jack" Mack and Augustus F. Mack, founded the nation's only century-old truck manufacturer and one that has led the way in innovation. Evolving from a Brooklyn, N.Y., builder of carriages and wagons, Mack Truck Inc., Allentown, Pa., now is a company with annual sales of more than $2.77 billion and annual production of more than 32,000 units.

At World of Concrete 2000 in Orlando, Fla., Mack Truck unveiled a trailer display of company mementos and archival photos documenting just how far truck design and performance have evolved in this past century. The company has also published a commemorative book, Driven for a Century.

The Mack brothers' legacy is now seen on practically every construction site. The brothers teamed up to provide the trucking industry with a number of firsts those early years. In 1905 they introduced their "Manhattan" cab-over-engine vocational model, a design that increased driver visibility and maneuverability on crowded city streets. The Mack Brothers introduced a "constant mesh" feature that prevented transmission gears from stripping. Another Mack innovation allowed drivers to immediately shift from high to low, without passing through intermediate speeds, a design now incorporated by other manufacturers for several years.

In the 1920s Mack engineers pioneered the use of power brakes, air cleaners, oil filters, and rubber-shock insulators used as mounting chassis components. Later innovations included four-wheel brakes, cab air suspension, and fiberglass truck cabs. Mack was the first truck manufacturer to design and build its own heavy-duty diesel engines, establishing the tradition of "balanced design," integration of powertrain and vehicle design to maximize performance, which continues today.

Mack officials are scheduling traveling-display visits to many of their dealers across the country, a view that will fuel every mechanic's creative spirit.