What do the terms "1/2 ton, 3/4 ton and one ton" stand for in regards to pick-up trucks?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Dec 01, 1988

Dear Tom and Ray,
Please explain what the terms 1/2 ton, 3/4 ton, and one ton stand for concerning pick-up trucks. I've never heard an answer to that question that really makes sense.
Gary

RAY: The terms 1/2 ton and 3/4 ton refer to the payload of the truck--that is the amount of cargo you can safely carry in it.

TOM: The term one-ton refers to a popular soup served in Chinese restaurants.

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