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By the time the Mack Brothers Company was founded in 1900, John Mack had spent nearly a decade experimenting with his own design for a “motorized wagon.” Therefore, they were able to build and sell the company’s first successful vehicle – not a truck, but a 40-horsepower, 20-passenger bus. The Mack bus ran a route in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for eight years before being converted into a truck.
From that first bus in 1900 until 1960, Mack built more than 22,000 buses. Among the types of bus Mack produced were school buses, as well as transit, suburban and inter-city buses. Mack buses were also used as “mobile post offices, sheriff’s units, medical x-ray vehicles and for track x-rays in subway systems.”
In 1910 Mack manufactured its first motorized hook-and-ladder fire truck for the city of Morristown, New Jersey. For the next 80 years (until 1990) Mack manufactured and sold an array of fire apparatus for fire departments across the U.S. and around the world. Some of the larger cities that used Mack fire apparatus were Boston, Chicago and New York.
In 1956 Mack bought the tooling works of the Ahrens-Fox Fire Engine Co. Mack brought the Ahrens-Fox designed Mack C Model cab-forward fire engine to market. This design, modified and updated many times, is still a mainstay of American fire departments. In 1967 Mack brought to market the CF model fire engine. It was a cab-forward variation of the F model, which featured a cab-over design.
Mack produced the first diesel-powered fire truck, which was purchased by the city of Hamilton, Bermuda in 1960. In 1965 Mack built a “Super Pumper System” for the Fire Department of New York. The system included a super pumper truck (a fire engine that carries hoses, tools and pumps water), a super tender (also known as a tanker, transports water to a fire) and three satellite (smaller) tenders. The Super Pumper System fought its fire on August 12, 1965. The system answered 2,200 fire alarms during its career; it was “retired” in 1982.
From 1929 until 1944, Mack produced 2,601 semi- or full trailers that could be pulled by its trucks (as well as other manufacturers’ trucks, of course). Full trailers were of two styles, non-reversible or reversible. Non-reversible trailers had a solidly fastened rear axle arrangement with a draw bar on the front end so that the trailer could be drawn in one direction.
A reversible trailer has axle arrangements similar at each end. Either end could be fastened in a stationary position while the draw bar could be fastened to the other end of the trailer. In this way, either end could be the front of the unit.
Mack Trucks also built off-highway or mine trucks from 1926 to 1979. These trucks ranged from 15- to 100-ton capacity. The Mack AP model was the company’s first off-highway vehicle. From 1926 through 1938, Mack manufactured 285 of these units. Mack built 1,275 LR model off-highway vehicles during the 1943-1964 period. The LV model came next; it was built from 1948 through 1961; 515 were manufactured and sold. From 1960-1979 the M Series was manufactured; Models varied from a capacity of 15 tons to 100 tons.
As noted in the main article, Mack produced a variety of specialty trucks for the military during World War II. As part of President Roosevelt’s plan to arm the Allies (prior to the U.S. entry into the war), Mack produced several hundred NR4 and EXBU models for the French and British forces in 1939 and 1940.
Many consider the NO models, which were specifically designed and manufactured for the military as Mack’s most important contribution to the war effort. The NO was a 7.5-ton 6×6 truck; more than 2,000 were built between 1940 and 1945. The NO transported the 155-millimeter “Long Tom” field gun. In addition, more than 700 NJU (5- to 6- ton 4×4 truck models) were delivered to the U.S. Army by 1942.
Mack also produced more than 2,600 power trains that were used on tanks. Mack’s bus factory in Allentown was converted for war use; Vultee PBY Catalina flying boats were built there; as were parts for the BT-13 Valiant trainer and B-24 Liberator bombers.
From 1905 until 1930, Mack also manufactured built railroad cars and locomotives. Then from 1951 through 1954, Mack manufactured 10 forward-control diesel rail cars.
From 1940 to 1953 Mack manufactured and sold marine engines. Its “Mariner” engines were built for use in a range of vehicles – from yachts to pilot and work boats.
For nearly 120 years, no matter what type of vehicle or engine Mack has built it has been “Built Like a Mack Truck” and every Mack Truck is “Born Ready.”