How Michigan, Indiana & Illinois All Had A Hand In Creating School Buses
The School bus is one of the most iconic vehicles our country has ever put together, but personally speaking, I never gave it a second thought about how they first were made, where they came from, or any of its origins. That is of course until I learned that Michigan actually had a hand in its creation. For students in the 19th century who lived past any reasonable walking distance from school, transportation was provided in what was known as a kid hack. the term "hack" cam from a term used to describe certain types of horse-drawn carriages. Basically, they were re-purposed farm wagons, they didn't really offer any kind of shelter or comfort during transportation.
In 1892, the Indiana-based company Wayne Works made the first school car, which was fashioned with perimeter-mounted wooden bench seats and a roof. Though the sides were open, one of the modern school buses most recognizable features got its start with this first design. A rear entrance door was installed so other horses weren't startled while children got on and off the bus, which today remains as an emergency exit.
A Little Help From The Fords
In 1915 the Chicago, Illinois-based company International Harvester built its first school bus and the company and it's successor company Navistar continues to make them to this day. But when The Ford Motor Company introduced its school bus version of a Model T, the game changed completely.
A Ford dealership owner A.L. Luce produced the body for a 1927 Ford Model T school bus, which was the first to be comprised mostly of steel. You can see from the video below that the mostly wooden model of 1921 was quite different, and a sweet piece of Michigan history is still working like a gem.
Colorized Pictures of Early Kalamazoo That Will Blow Your Mind