Tow Cradle

Aug 31st, 2012 | By | Category: Jack Schrock's Blog

Even before my time, the Ernest Holmes Company marketed a device that hinged on the tailboard of a wrecker, extended under the vehicle to be towed and captured the front axle in much the same fashion as a forklift. I don’t recall the weight, but this was a robust device and you had to stand clear when flipping it to the ground. Yes, I have a crooked little toe from an experience one day when my dad demonstrated a Tow Cradle for me. The service line was used to raise the device which had a gravity down feature, just like the early underlifts from Europe.

Now this device worked well (I’m told) until the automotive industry introduced independent wheel suspension on the front wheels of most cars. Yes, the Tow Cradle worked well on straight axles but not so well on loosey-goosey wheels, which prompted Holmes to develop and introduce their TS100 Holmes Tow Sling, which also works/worked well but should have been replaced by the “damage-free” wheel-lift. However, some towers just can’t do without their tow sling and many local regs still require a sling for rotation, so it’s enjoying an “after-life” that few expected. And, last time I checked, the industry is now full of knock-offs that attempt to copy the Holmes sling at a reduced price.

Personally, I tore up some fragile front ends (only on rental cars) with that sling but never did any damage with the wheel-lift so I say it’s time for the sling to go into the history books. However, a skilled tower with a tow sling and a stack of lumber can (almost) do damage-free towing every time … (almost).