Rowe Transfer has been moving American industry for 140 years, providing dependable transfer services in the Knoxville area and across the country. As one of the oldest companies in Tennessee, Rowe Transfer has a long and interesting past. In this article, we will discuss the history and founding of Rowe Transfer, the significance of this milestone, the company’s journey, and impressive projects they’ve completed.

The Evolution of Rowe Transfer

As of 2023, the average lifespan of a company is just 19 years. So how has Rowe Transfer overcome this statistic by well over a century? Rowe Transfer has been able to withstand the test of time and achieve such long-term success by adapting, developing, and growing to meet the needs of the current market. From covered wagons to high-tech rigging, let’s take a look at the journey of Rowe Transfer.

The Early Days of Rowe Transfer

The year is 1883. The 21st President of the United States Chester Arthur is in office following the assassination of President James Garfield. Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge is finally complete, and industrialization is on the rise. People are flocking to urban areas for jobs, causing cities like Knoxville to grow rapidly.

With the growing population and increasing production of goods in the Knoxville area, David Rowe saw a need and founded Rowe Transfer in 1883 at the Knoxville Train Station. Rowe Transfer made connections in Knoxville’s industrial network that helped the city thrive. Rowe Transfer moved supplies and products back and forth from the train station to manufacturing plants, factories, and mills via covered wagon. Rowe also provided a valuable service to new residents, moving them and their belongings to their new homes.

Changing with the Times

During the 1900s, Rowe Transfer started moving larger items and covering a wider radius, eventually branching into long distance transfer. Rowe also introduced warehousing services to store their clients’ goods and improve efficiency.

Throughout the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, as the automotive industry grew and new machinery was introduced, Rowe continued to evolve to keep up with the times and provide the highest quality transfer services.

The Extra Mile

There is a lot that goes into moving shipments from point A to point B—logistics, rigging, crating, transportation, and warehousing. Finding separate providers for each of these services, getting estimates, and communicating with several points of contact wastes time and money. Rowe Transfer goes the extra mile and offers all these services under one roof.

Rowe’s turnkey model means that clients only have to deal with one contact and one estimate. Rowe Transfer’s work is extremely dependable because with a single company planning and handling every step of the shipping process, projects flow seamlessly.

Becoming Rigging Experts: Big, Heavy, Challenging Jobs

In addition to their start-to-finish service model, Rowe Transfer has set themselves apart and found great success tackling jobs that other companies are not willing to take on—big, heavy, unwieldy loads that require expert care. They have become the go-to rigging experts for challenging jobs, utilizing high-tech machinery, top-of-the-line equipment, and a team of in-house engineers to rig and move just about anything, from massive factory machines to expensive medical equipment and rockets (yes, you read that right).

Legendary Transfer Jobs

Companies trust Rowe Transfer to safely transport their valuable goods because they have earned their excellent reputation through countless jobs well done. There is rarely a simple job at Rowe Transfer, every load requires meticulous logistical planning, skilled rigging and crating, and careful driving. However, there are some jobs that stand out from the rest. Let’s take a look at a few of Rowe Transfer’s most notable jobs.

The Saturn Rocket

One aspect of space travel that you probably have never considered is how these massive rockets are transported from one place to another down on Earth. During the 1960s, NASA launched the Apollo program with the goal of landing a human on the moon. The Saturn rocket, a 58-foot-long 22-foot-wide 75-ton spacecraft, was part of the third wave of the Apollo program. In 1966, NASA hired Rowe Transfer to transport the Saturn rocket from South Pittsburg, TN, to Tullahoma, TN. They lifted the massive rocket from a barge to a flatbed truck, carefully secured it, and navigated the winding roads of Tennessee. The Saturn rocket never made it to the moon, but Rowe Transfer’s mission was a success.

MRI Building

Hospitals and universities have relied on Rowe Transfer to transport expensive and large medical equipment. These jobs are taken on with special care because the cargo is exorbitantly expensive and serves an important purpose. Rowe Transfer moved a 55-ton MRI building (not just an MRI machine, a whole building) from Johnson City, TN, to Milwaukee, WS. Rowe has provided an invaluable service to the medical industry, moving a wide variety of fragile and valuable machines.

Hyperbaric Chamber

Picture a hyperbaric chamber, now picture a hyperbaric chamber large enough for a Clydesdale horse. Rowe took on the challenge of rigging and transporting a gigantic hyperbaric chamber to the University of Tennessee Veterinary Hospital. Moving this massive cylinder shape machine was no simple task, but Rowe Transfer was up to the challenge. A skilled crane operator took the hyperbaric chamber to its final resting place.

Expanding within the Industry

In recent years Rowe has expanded to form two additional companies, Certified Diesel Solutions and RTI Logistics. We’ve all heard the saying, “if you want something done right, do it yourself” and that’s exactly what Rowe did.

RTI Logistics

Rowe was constantly hearing from other companies within their industrial park about the struggle to find drivers and trucks. Rowe had all the tools they needed to help—an established network of trucks and drivers, logistical expertise, and knowledge of the transportation industry. So, they formed RTI Logistics, a third-party logistics and freight brokerage company. RTI Logistics works with a wide range of industries across East Tennessee, giving them peace of mind that their shipments will get where they need to be on time.

Certified Diesel Solutions

Rowe Transfer has always prided themselves on dependability, so when they started having issues finding reliable maintenance people to work on their trucks, they knew something had to be done. In 2009 Rowe opened Certified Diesel Solutions and employed the best automotive and diesel mechanics in the area to provide care that lives up to the Rowe standard. CDS provides comprehensive tractor trailer service and maintenance for Rowe vehicles, owner-operators, and entire fleets across East Tennessee.

Trust the Veterans of the Transfer Industry

A lot has happened in the 140 years since Rowe Transfer was founded. The company has changed ownership (though only 3 times) and gone through generations of employees. They have proven their commitment to providing the best service to their clients through constant innovation and growth.

Their legacy of excellence is built on decades of hard work, dependability, and a willingness to take on the hardest jobs. As a veteran company, you can feel confident trusting Rowe Transfer with your cargo. Their rigging experts, engineers, logistics pros go the extra mile in everything they do.

Contact Rowe Transfer today for all your rigging, crating, warehousing, and transportation needs.