Preserving a Legacy

Talbert Manufacturing, Inc.
Written by Jessica Ferlaino

Talbert Manufacturing, Inc. was founded in 1938 by Austin Talbert, a man who brought innovation and customer service to the forefront of the heavy haul trucking industry by addressing the needs of his customers time and again. By manufacturing trailers and equipment that set the standard for safety and performance, the name Talbert became synonymous with quality.

These same values continue to fuel the longevity of the Talbert Manufacturing brand in the present. The company, now celebrating 85 years in operation, has the next generation of leadership but the same commitment to building exceptional equipment and relationships with its customers in mission-critical sectors, as well as the dealer network that supports them.

Setting the standard for 75 years
Talbert Manufacturing has numerous well-engineered trailer designs to its name, many of which were industry firsts, but it is the removable gooseneck trailer that remains its crowning achievement. This year, the removable gooseneck trailer is celebrating 75 years of protecting equipment and saving lives and it continues to be a source of pride.

Troy Geisler, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Talbert explains, “The removable gooseneck changed the landscape of heavy haul for the best.” This lightweight, simple, yet durable trailer design improved safety for the equipment, the cargo, and the operator, which set the industry on a new trajectory.

The removable gooseneck was the start, but Talbert didn’t stop there. The design evolved throughout the years with the non-ground bearing hydraulic detachable gooseneck introduced in 1962, an innovation that would improve clearance and stability, and thus safety, when loading and unloading. Previously, the trailer would sit upwards of fifty inches off the ground for rear loading, but this angle was steep and risked tipping without warning. Talbert’s travelling axle and hydraulic tail series decks can be lowered to ground height or raised to shipping dock height to mitigate these risks.

In 1970, Talbert raised the bar with its new, patented Hydroneck design that offers greater customization options to balance weight distribution without having to rely on pre-set weight and height limits. The Hydroneck is featured on both the double drop series and the lowboy series. Alternatively, end users rely on Talbert’s ratchet neck design which includes safety pins to secure the gooseneck. This model boasts five or seven pre-set heights that are customizable to any application’s requirements and lend to improved ease of loading and unloading.

Twenty years later, Talbert designed and patented its mechanical removable gooseneck trailer, a lighter weight option to the hydraulic model that is ideal for double drop trailers and longer-distance trucking routes where the load is on the truck for several days until it is unloaded on a smooth, flat surface.

From the mechanical detachable removable gooseneck to the hydraulic detachable and non-ground bearing iterations that were developed throughout the years, to being the first to use high-strength heat-treated (T1) steel and the first to design and incorporate air suspensions, self-steering axles and load-dampening spreader bars, Talbert Manufacturing’s trailers and equipment have continued to push the limits in size, strength and performance.

“When it comes to our trailers, there’s so much to consider outside of the type of neck or trailer weight capacity. That’s why each trailer is built to the needs of the operator,” Geisler explains. “Each trailer we build and each innovation we come up with focuses on balancing operators’ needs when it comes to productivity and safety.”

85 reasons to celebrate
A business surviving for 85 years is no accident. What makes it possible at Talbert is the wealth of expertise contained within its ranks. Some employees have been with the company for upwards of 40 years, which offers a depth of industry knowledge of the trucking industry and the continuously evolving regulatory structures that vary state to state and country to country.

“It’s a great honor to work for Talbert Manufacturing because of how we are received out in the marketplace, how proven our trailer is, the design, how reliable it is, and then also the longevity of Talbert staff,” says Geisler. “It’s not easy work; it’s not without its challenges but it’s nice to work for a company that puts its best foot forward.”

Behind Talbert Manufacturing’s talent and experience, upholding and reinforcing its success is a reliable network of dealers to which Talbert provides support to ensure the needs of its end users and the industry are being met. What is more, despite its longevity and success, Talbert Manufacturing does not rest on its laurels. The team continues to find new ways to address the needs of customers while improving the safety and efficiency of a trucker’s day-to-day activities through innovative trailer design and exceptional performance.

“We try to put them in the best possible fit for their needs,” says Geisler, and out of this desire to meet the customer’s needs comes innovation which supports the ultimate goal: “To preserve Austin Talbert’s legacy.”

What’s next?
It is clear that Talbert Manufacturing, like its equipment, is built to last. In the past eight decades the company has faced countless challenges, chiefly the recent pandemic, yet it continues to overcome to fulfill orders. It does so by keeping one foot in the past and one foot in the present to preserve the Talbert legacy while modernizing and growing the company.

“We find a happy medium: we listen to the voice of the customer and adapt to those changes, all the while just keeping it simple and preserving how Austin Talbert created Talbert—all of the innovations that have come from Talbert, including the safety standards,” explains Geisler.

As to the ‘current normal,’ and what the future holds for Talbert, he says, “We don’t subscribe to the fact that this is what the world is going to manifest to. We’re going to go back [to the way things were]—maybe not 100 percent, but we are ready for this current normal to evaporate and get back to work.”

For Talbert, the pandemic served as an opportunity to grow from the inside. The last two years have been dedicated to self-improvement and capacity-building at its two locations in Indiana and North Carolina to ensure that when the market returns to strength it can compete with other major players from around the world, for parts, customers, and market share.

The plan moving forward is to grow whenever possible, but for now Talbert Manufacturing continues to identify ways to improve, ensuring that it continues to design and manufacture the best solutions for its customers to remain competitive as a North American leader in specialized heavy-haul solutions.

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