Great Dane ‘great’ passes away

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Chris C. F. Hammond, Jr., a trailer industry pioneer and former president of Great Dane Trailers in Savannah, passed away peacefully on Monday, January 3, 2011 at the age of 98.

Hammond made his mark in the truck trailer industry in 1937 by starting as the first trailer salesman for The Steel Products Company in Florida, according to an obit in the Augusta Chronicle.

Great Dane Trailers was a sideline business of the structural steel company at the time and hired the young Hammond to expand sales.

His first sale was for three 30-foot long by 90 inches wide single axle flatbed trailers to haul fruit boxes. The selling price at the time? About $600 each.

In 1943 Hammond was elected as the third president of the Truck Trailer Manufacturers Association (TTMA) and a few years later he was elected president of the National Truck Tank and Trailer Tank Institute.

In 1949 Hammond helped to develop the first true refrigerated trailer manufactured by the company, well-positioning Great Dane for when aluminum began to replace many of the steel in the 1950s when reefers made their mark.

Hammond became president of The Steel Products Company in 1953 and in 1958 the company officially changed its name to Great Dane Trailers, Inc. and phased out its structural steel business.

Hammond retired as chairman of Great Dane Trailers in 1984 but remained active as a consultant until his death.

Hammond and his wife have been major benefactors of numerous charities.

He is survived by his loving wife, Elizabeth Mercer Hammond; three sons and daughters-in-law, nine grandchildren; 12 great grandchildren, and 2 great, great grandsons.

Burial will be graveside at Greenwich Cemetery in Savannah on Friday January 7, 2011.

An online guest book can be signed at

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