Photo of PACCAR Inc.


  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Environment

For pioneering efforts and industry leadership in the development and commercialization of aerodynamic, lightweight trucks that have dramatically reduced fuel consumption and increased the productivity of U.S. freight transportation.

When you see a tractor trailer on the highways across the United States it’s a good bet it was manufactured by PACCAR Inc. The company, founded by William Pigott in 1905 under the name Seattle Car Manufacturing Co., is a world leader whose light- and medium-weight trucks have revolutionized the trucking industry.

In recent decades, PACCAR has been lauded for designing aerodynamic trucks that have increased fuel efficiency and dramatically increased productivity. Among the well-known truck lines the Bellevue, Washington, company owns are Peterbilt and Kenworth. The company also manufactures parts and lighter trucks.

Pigott, a successful businessman with numerous steel-related ventures, started the company to make steel cars for the logging industry of the Northwest. The company quickly grew, surviving the Great Depression and two world wars, as its product line and services continued to evolve. In addition to the vehicles, the company has been involved in steel fabrication for dams, airplanes, bridges and military ships over the decades.

In 1972, the company took on the PACCAR Inc. name, and a year later closed its steel business. The company had $19 billion in revenue in 2015.

By Bob Warren