Tonneau covers are not a new invention. Before gas-powered vehicles were ever thought of, the French would cover the back of their horse-drawn carriage with a tarp to protect the items in the back. The name tonneau is French for barrel or container. As carriages were replaced with cars, the tonneau cover was no longer necessary. But once pickup trucks came into popularity, drivers needed a way to protect their cargo again. Tonneau covers have come back into fashion.