- Special Feature -

Mack Fire Apparatus

A Tribute to the Bulldog of All Fire Trucks


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Mack Fire Truck History


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By Britton W Crosby
Original Post March 2001 - Updated March 2005 - Re-launched April 2020
xx  Mack photos on this page


The appreciation for Mack fire trucks is often based on their quality of workmanship
and the classic design of the many different fire trucks built by Mack over the years.

The "gold standard" of fire trucks is demonstrated by this classic and beautiful
highly polished chrome radiator and bull dog on a former Montreal, Quebec
"B" model Mack ladder truck.

This feature displays a collection of some of the many great Mack Fire Trucks that
have served over the years. Enjoy!

Mack Fire Apparatus Pages

01 - Mack History 02 - Name & Logos 03 - Mack Bulldog
04 - Mack Style 05 - Early Macks 1911-1930s 06 - Mack "E"1936-1950 
07 - Mack "L" 1940-1954 08 - Mack "L" 1940-1954  09 - Mack "B"  1953-1966
10 - Mack "B" 1953-1966 11 - Mack "C" 1956-1967 12 - Mack "C" 1956-1967
13 - Mack "CF" 1967-1990 14 - Mack "CF" 1967-1990 15 - Mack "R" 1966-1990
16 - Mack "MB/MC" 1972-1987 17 - Mack Other Chassis 18 - Mack Ladder Trucks
19 - Mack Aerial Scopes 20 - FDNY Macks 21 - Providence Macks
22 - Cape Cod Macks 1 23 - Cape Cod Macks 2 24 - Cape Cod Macks 3
25 - Macks in Action 26 - Mixed Macks 27 - Mack Favorites

- 01 -


Mack Fire Trucks
Possibly America's most famous manufacturer of fire apparatus,
Mack Trucks of Allentown, Pennsylvania began building fire trucks around 1911.
Over the years, these beautiful fire engines, bearing the trademark "Bull Dog",
proved to be as tough and reliable as the saying "Built like a Mack Truck" indicates.
Thousands of these classic apparatus served over the years.
Mack stopped making custom apparatus in 1990 to the dismay of Mack fans.
This is a tribute to some of the Macks I have admired had the pleasure of photographing.


  Mack Fire Trucks

The Famous Mack Bull Dog.
Mack trucks earned a reputation for being tenacious as a bull dog during WWI.
The bull dog began showing up on the side of Mack hoods around 1922.

 Mack Models and Years Produced
 Early Years.............................1900-1914
 Model "A" Series...................1914-1938
 Model "AB" Series................1914-1936
 Model "AC" Series................1916-1938
 "Early" Model "B" Series....1927-1941
 Model "E" Series...................1936-1950
 Model "L" Series...................1940-1954
 Model "A" Series...................1950-1953
 Model "B" Series...................1954-1966
 Model "C" Series...................1956-1967
 Model "MB" Series................1963-1978
 Model "MC" Series................1978-1987
 Model "MR" Series................1978-1987
 Model "R" Series....................1966-1990
 Model "CF" Series..................1967-1990
 Mid-Liner MS Series...............1979-


The Bulldog radiator cap of an early 1930's Mack "Early B series" pumper.
Photo Springfield 1997





Jack, Augustus, William, Joseph, Charles

The Mack Fire Trucks story began with several Mack brothers who worked
together in Brooklyn, New York  

John "Jack" Mack had begun working for a carriage and wagon manufacturing
firm in Brooklyn, NY in 1890.

In 1893 Jack and his brother Augustus "Gus" Mack bought that factory.

In 1894, a third brother William, who had previously operated a
wagon manufacturing company in Scranton, Pennsylvania joined
Jack and Gus building wagons and experimenting with steam and
electrical motor vehicles.

The brothers former the "Mack Brothers Company" in 1902
and set out to build the most durable and powerful heavy duty trucks in the world.

A fourth brother, Joseph joined them in 1905 as the headquarters and
main production plant moved to Allentown, PA.

The fifth Mack Brother, Charles, joined his brothers in 1910.


About 1900

By 1900, the "Mack Brothers Company" had established a company set on building
the most durable and powerful trucks and engines in the world. 
The development of motorized vehicles was still in its early years.

One of the first successful vehicles they built in 1900 was a bus. 
The early Mack slogan became
 "The first Mack was a bus and the first bus was a Mack." 
Mack continued building thousands of buses for decades.

The Mack brothers went on to build a wide variety of vehicles including buses,
railroad cars, locomotives, and commercial style trucks of all types for years.

From about 1904 to 1910, many of the Mack trucks were known by the
trade name of "Manhattan" at the time.

The Manhattan name was dropped and after 1910,
all Mack trucks would carry the "Mack" nameplate on the side of the hood.



 The first Mack fire truck was built in 1910.
It was a motorized hook & ladder truck, for the city of Morristown, NJ.  

Mack would continue to build many types of fire trucks between 1911 and 1990. 
The reliability, durability, functionality, and design of Mack fire trucks
made them the "gold standard" for many years.


Mack built many different trucks over the years.
The company used a variety of methods to identify the various types of vehicles.
Different models, series, styles, and versions were often identified by letters
or groups of letters and numbers for specific productions.
The "Bull Dog" symbol came along in 1922.


Mack Model "A" Series
 1914 - 1938
  One of Mack's first truck styles was the Model "A" s
Some early fire trucks were built on the A series.

Mack Model "AB" Series
 1914 - 1936
  One of the first standardized Mack trucks was the  Mack model "AB" s
which was a chain driven medium duty truck that was built until 1936.

Mack Model "AC" Series
1916 -1938
 In 1916, Mack introduced the Mack Model "AC" series trucks.
The AC was also chain driven and had a very distinctive look.
As the story goes, during WWI, a number of Mack AC trucks were used
by the US government, and internationally by the British government.
It was the AC that gets the credit for having the "tenacity of a bulldog"
which at the time was also the symbol of Great Britain.
The Model AC Macks were built until about 1938.

The "Bulldog" Symbol
In 1922, Mack adopted the Bulldog as its corporate symbol.
From that time on, all Mack trucks have had a metal bulldog attached
to the cab of its trucks

Mack Model "Early B" Series
1927 - 1941
 Mack introduced a number of "Early Model B Series" trucks in 1927.
Models including the BJ and BB trucks had a different look than the AB/AC models.
These trucks were produced until about 1941.

Mack "Bulldog" Hood Ornament
The now famous "Mack Bulldog" hood ornament was conceived in 1932
and went on to become a trademark on all Mack trucks to come.


The Mack Model "E" Series
1936 - 1950
 Mack introduced its "Model E Series" trucks in 1936.
One of the identifying features of the "E" was the single piece
glass windshield which earlier Macks did not have.
The E series came in conventional cab styles and cab-over-engine styles.
The E had rather distinct fenders, round headlights between the fenders
and the hood, and a grill that had a slightly backward slant.
The Model E grills came in a variety of styles over the years.
The Model E was a popular fire truck between 1936 and 1950.

The Mack Model "L" Series
1940 - 1954
In 1940, Mack introduced the Model "L" series trucks.
The cab and windshield of the "L" was wider than previous cabs.
 The 2 piece glass windshield was relatively perpendicular to the hood.
The L had a distinctive fender style with a distinct space between the hood
and the fenders, some distinct headlights, and a more straight upright style grill
from the Model E series which preceded it.
The Model L was used for fire trucks until about 1954.

The Mack Model "B" Series
1954 - 1966
The very popular Mack Model "B" Series came out in 1954.
The "B" also has a double glass windshield, but it is noticeably
at more of a slant than the "L" windshield.
The B was a heavier duty truck, with a significantly changed design
with the rounded fenders filling in the gap between the fenders and hood on previous
models, headlights installed in the fenders, and an upgraded grill design.
Some of the first "Thermodyne" diesel motors were introduced with the
B models including the first diesel fire truck, a 1960 B85F Pumper
delivered to Hamilton, Bermuda.


The Mack Model "C" Series
1956 - 1967
 The "cab forward" style fire truck cab known as the Model "C" series
came out in 1956.  There were both open and closed cab versions.
The cab style was bought by Mack from Ahrens Fox that first introduced
the "Cincinnati" style cab with the engine located behind the front seat.
The cab forward had a rounded cab look.
The Model C replaced the very popular long run L series.
Model C fire apparatus became the new standard and were built
until 1967 when the CF cab came out.

The Mack Model "MB" Series
1963 -1978
 Mack introduce the Model "MB" series cab which was used for a variety of
purposes, including use for fire apparatus. It was a cab over style
that worked well for shorter apparatus needs.

"Super Pumper System"
1965 - 1982

 The FDNY had been using Mack fire apparatus for many years.
The concept of a "land based fireboat" had been looked at for some time
and around 1962 the FDNY began working with Mack to develop what would
eventually become known as the "Super Pumper System."

One of the busiest days in FDNY history, April 20, 1963, known as "Black Saturday"
saw the city battling multiple drought caused conflagrations which ravaged sections
of Staten Island. Severe water supply problems resulted in many companies unable
to fight fires due to lack of water.

In 1965, Mack Trucks, Inc. delivered the "Super Pumper," a Mack "F" series tractor
drawn pumper capable of over 8,800 gpm at 350 psi.

Mack also delivered a second piece of the system was known as the "Super Tender."
The "F" tractor trailer tender carried approximately 2,000 feet of 4.5" hose and was
equipped with a huge 8" Stang monitor mounted behind the cab, capable of a 10,000 gpm
powerful stream that could reach 600 feet. It was stabilized by hydraulic outriggers.

The Pumper and Tender were housed in a firehouse in Brooklyn.

The system included 3 "Satellite tenders" built on Mack C chassis.
Each was equipped with 4,000 gpm  6" Stang monitors and 2,000 feet of 4.5" hose.
The 3 Tenders were assigned to various parts of the city and assisted in laying hose
and operating large powerful streams on fires.

The Super Pumper System was around for "The War Years" (1970-1980)
as "The Bronx Burned" along with much of Harlem, Brooklyn, and other sections
of the city.  The Super Pumper retired in 1982 after 17 years of service and
over 2,200 major battles.



Mack Model "R" Series
1966 - 1990

 Mack introduced the Mack Model "R" Series to replace the long serving B model.
The R model also had an easily recognized style and would be used for many
fire trucks over the years through 1990.


Mack Model "CF" Series
1967 - 1990

The Mack "CF" (Cab Forward) series cab was introduced in 1967.
It replaced the "C" series cab in use since 1956. 
The CF cab had a little more squared off look than the C.
The powerful Mack "Maxidyne" diesel motor was also introduced in 1967.
The Mack CF would continue to be the standard for
fire truck cabs until Mack stopped building fire trucks in 1990.

Mack Model "MC" and "MR" Series
1978 - 1987

 The Mack Model "MC" and "MR" series trucks replaced the MB cab
in use since 1963.  The chassis and cab style made popular by refuse and
other trucks, was also very popular with fire trucks for years.
They would be built from 1978 to 1987.

Mack "Mid-Liner" Series
 A lighter duty Mack "mid-Liner" chassis was introduced in 1979
with a definite Renault influence and style. It was used for some fire apparatus.


During the late 1970s and 1980s, Mack experienced some financial challenges.
The result over the next decade was the introduction of the Renault and Volvo
influence over the corporation and truck production.

By 1990 Mack stopped building its custom fire apparatus
which had been the gold standard for some 80 years. 

Many of the Mack fire trucks built over those years have been preserved and
are still as "tenacious" as they ever were.

This feature displays some of those great Macks and what made them special
to many firefighters over generations.



- AB -





- AC -


The Mack Model "AC" series was built between 1916 and 1938.
It was chain driven. These AC Mack trucks earned the company the
reputation for being reliable, durable, and tough as British "bull dogs"
while serving in Great Britain during WWI.
This Baltimore fire engine was in a parade 1990s.

The Mack AC hood grill was very distinctive.
This style Mack was built from 1916 to 1938.


- Early B -

The Mack "B" Model was built from 1927 until about 1941.
This 1931 Early Model B Mack pumper belonged to Easton, MA.
At Lynnfield June 2010

Mack was one of the first truck builders and they got their name out there
in a variety of ways including on the radiators and hoods of their trucks.
Easton, MA 1931 early Mack.
Photo Lynnfield 2004.

The Easton, MA Mack
1931 pumper.
Note how the headlights are mounted in front of the radiator
on a bar bridging both front fenders.
Early Macks would not have the famous Bull Dog logo
until 1932.

The Mack radiator of the 1927 Edgartown Mack pumper.
Since the Bull Dog didn't become a Mack symbol until 1932,
this one was a later addition.
July 2007

The Mack radiator of the 1927 Edgartown Mack pumper with a more appropriate radiator.
Sept 2018




- E -


Mack introduced its Model "E" series in 1936.
The Model E would be produced until about 1950.
Model E trucks had single piece glass windshields.
Headlights are mounted in the space between the rounded fenders and the hood.
The radiator grills of various styles of the Model E varied depending
on the year and series.

This "Little Mack" is about a 1940 Model E.
It radiator has several distinctive triple band cross members protecting
the grill of the radiator. The Mack name plate is also mounted on the radiator.

This"Little Mack" was often seen at the Lynnfield, Mass Muster held each June.


Mack built their Model E series vehicles from 1936 to about 1950.
The Model E is identified best by the windshield which is a single piece
of glass. The grill of the E changed over the years quite a bit making
for some interesting and beautiful varieties of this Mack model.
The 1938 Model E of East Greenwich, RI.
June 2014 in RI

The Mack nameplate displayed on both sides of the hood of this
1938 Mack "E" model Type 75 of the East Greenwich, RI
RI Muster June 2011


The "E" Model Mack hood and grill had a slight backward slant to it.
1938 Mack "E" 600 gpm / 100 gals Pumper
Patchogue, LI, NY
June 2016 Long Island.

Agawam, MA
1941 Mack Model 55
A different look to the grill, without the cross members.
Long Island June 2016

The Mack "E" series had a variety of grill styles.
This 1948 Mack "E" pumper was from Northport, NY.
It had a 750 gpm pump and 200 gallon water tank.



- L -


The Mack Model "L" series was produced from 1940 until about 1954.
The "L" series features a 2 piece windshield, a substantial radiator grill,
and front wheel fenders with a defined dip towards the hood.
Headlights are mounted in the area between the hood and the front fenders.

Centerport, LI 1944 Mack "L" model pumper
750 gpm/100 gallons
June 2016

Centerport, Long Island
June 2016

The Mack "L" double glass windshield.
Lynnfield 2010

The hood could be folded up on the "L" to enable better cooling
of the motor while pumping.
At Rhode Island 2014

A Mack "L" on display at the 2019 Muster in Wilmington, MA

The pump of the Mack "L" pumper.

1950's Mack "L" Model hood of a Boston Engine.

Classic Mack "L" Pumper.
Parade in Baltimore 2007.





- B -


The Mack "B" Model was introduced in 1953 to replace the long serving "L" model.
The Model "B" would be used for many fire apparatus until 1966.
The B also has the 2 piece glass windshield but with a less prominent divider.
The most recognized difference is how the larger fenders now meet the hood
and the headlights are mounted within the fenders. The radiator and grill are
substantial and often chromed with the Bull Dog sitting centered atop the radiator.

Mack "B" of Peabody, MA
Lynnfield June 2010


Framingham Mack B Engine 1
At Wilmington 2019

Mack B-85 Thermodyne Pumper
June 2019




- R -


The Mack "R" chassis was introduced in 1966 to replace the Model "B".
The Brewster Fire Department on Cape Cod bought this "R" in 1974.
It had a 1250 gpm pump and 500 gallons of water.
It was a work horse for many years.

The more traditional Mack "R" chassis kept the engine ahead of cab style.

This 1983 Mack "R" belongs to Mastic Beach, Long Island.
June 2016




- C -


The Mack "C" Model cab forward style pumper was introduced in 1956.
Mack purchased the rights to this style cab from Ahrens Fox.
The cab allowed crew members to ride seated facing backwards within
the cab on either side of the engine box.
The classic looking Mack C would be built until 1967.

Mack C - Parade in Linhurst, NJ 1997


Mack "C" Pumper
Lynnfield 2010

The Mack logo on the front of the Model "C"

The Mack Model C was produced with open cabs as well as closed cabs.
Many departments, still used to the open cabs continued to buy them in the
more powerful, more modern, and larger apparatus.

The Mack cab forward "C" model.
Engine 13 at Harrisburg, PA Muster 2002

Diesel motors allowed for more powerful pumps.
A Mack C pump panel.
Tri-State 2010




- MB / MC -


Mack came out with a cab over chassis known as the "MB" Series in 1963.
The "MB" was built until about 1978.

An updated version known as the Mack "MC" was introduced in 1978
an continued to be built until about 1987.

Brewster bought this 1979 Mack MB Heavy Rescue
built by Saulsbury. The Heavy Rescue served Brewster from 1995 - 2005.


The "MB" cab style.

The "MC" style Mack cab was an upgrade of the MB cab.

Brewster Engine 234
1980 Mack "MC" cab with the pumper built by Pierce.

Cape May, NJ
Mack "MC" Heavy Rescue
Nov 2015




- CF -

Mack introduced the "CF" Model cab in 1967.
The Mack CF has a more squared off cab than it's "C" predicessor.
The distinct style cab would be used by thousands of fire apparatus
of all types until about 1990.

Rhode Island
June 2011

Access to the Mack CF "Jump Seat" was easy and allowed
quick deployment of personnel dressed and wearing SCBA
ready to go to work.

The Mack CF
Walpole, MA Engine 3
June 2011


The Mack "CF" could be made as fancy as a department wanted.
Taking the basic cab and adding some chrome or lighting or paint
can make a truck unique to its community.

Long Island June 2016

The history of Mack custom fire apparatus is long and well demonstrated
by thousands of classic looking and hard working custom fire trucks built
over 9 decades, and beyond.
This feature illustrates some of these apparatus over the years.

Liberty Hose Company 1
is located in Lindenhurst, Long Island, NY.
June 2016




Some of the historical facts and information referenced in this feature
came from a wonderful book called...

Mack Fire Apparatus
A Pictorial History

Harvey Eckart 1990


Mack Fire Apparatus Pages

   01 - Mack Fire Truck History
   02 - Mack Name & Logos
   03 - Mack Bulldog
   04 - Mack Style
   05 - Early Macks    1911-1930s
   06 - Mack E Series 1936-1950
   07 - Mack L Series 1940-1954
   08 - Mack L Series 1940-1954
   09 - Mack B Series 1953-1966
   10 - Mack B Series 1953-1966
   11 - Mack C Series 1956-1967
   12 - Mack C Series 1956-1967
   13 - Mack CF Series 1967-1990
   14 - Mack CF Series 1967-1990
   15 - Mack R Series 1966-1990
   16 - Mack MB/MC Series 1972-1987
   17 - Mack Other Chassis
   18 - Mack Ladder Trucks
   19 - Mack Aerial Scopes
   20 - FDNY Macks
   21 - Providence Macks
   22 - Cape Cod Area Macks 1
   23 - Cape Cod Area Macks 2
   24 - Cape Cod Area Macks 3
   25 - Macks in Action
   26 - Mixed Macks
   27 - Mack Favorites


~ Page 1 ~
Mack Fire Truck History

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