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Tank Wagons and Trucks
Tank Wagons
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Early Tank Trucks
Tank Trucks, 1921-1941
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Tank Truck Town
World War II

Tank Truck Town

Warren, Pennsylvania, was dubbed "The Tank Truck Town" in the February, 1970, issue of the National Magazine for Tank Truck Management and Operation. Don Dilworth wrote the article. The name fitted Warren because of the transport equipment developed and manufactured there by a group of local companies. The combined results of their products made up a truck tank with all of its accessories. Crossett Inc., a large regional oil transport company whose main fleet terminal and headquarters is in Warren, completed the tank town picture. Crossett continues today as a very active transporter.

Crossett tank trucks are familiar sights on the roads in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the East. Their headquarters is in Warren, Pa. According to their letterhead, Crossett has functioned as "Transporters of Petroleum Products since 1928". Photo by Ellsworth Sparks, 2002.

Pennco was the main truck tank builder in Warren, having started out with tanks for horse-drawn wagons in the early 1900’s, then to a tank on a truck chassis in 1918 After that date Pennco developed a full line of truck and trailer tanks. Pennco was among the first to fabricate aluminum tanks, beginning in the 1930’s. Another near first for Pennco was the frameless tank trailer (showing that the tank wasn’t held up by the frame). High tensile, stainless, light weight steel then became the main construction material, but aluminum is now used for many petroleum tanks.

Besides Pennco’s tanks, essential tank parts were made in Warren by Betts Machine Co. (Betts Industries, Inc.). Allegheny Valve Co. designed tank emergency valves and Allegheny Coupling Co. designed flued flanges which Betts made along with manifold valves, manhole lids, vapor-proof lamps etc. Thus, Pennco and the above companies in Warren turned out a complete line of tanks, ready to be fitted to a truck or trailer and then to hit the road with a full load. It is easy to see how Warren, Pennsylvania, earned its petroleum transport identity in the 1970’s. G.G. Greene, a metal stamping company in Warren, uses the old Pennco building where they make and repair tank trailers and truck tanks (David Weber, verbal communication). Pennco itself is no longer in business there. Betts Industries continues in full operation and fills an important sector of the truck tank construction industry. The writer recently toured the Betts plants in Warren with officers of the company and saw firsthand the process of manufacturing of truck tank accessories.

In the sense that Betts Industries, G.G. Greene (tank builder) and the Crossett transport company are very active in Warren, the name Tank Truck Town still applies to some extent even though the historically famous Pennco truck tank fabricating company has fallen by the way.

Photograph taken in the Betts Industries, Inc. plant in Warren, Pennsylvania. Richard Betts (President) is at the right. Rodney E. Betts (Vice President) shows a tank manhole cover to Fred Betts (Betts Machine Shop of Rouseville). Daniel J. Leech (Leech Carbide of Meadville) is in the back center. Photo by S.T. Pees, 2002.

© 2004, Samuel T. Pees
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