Firetruck History
1925 American LaFrance Type 75
This ``triple combination`` (Hose, pump, ladders.) truck served Massena, NY. The Type 75 was a very popular model for American LaFrance. It was targeted at cities who had enough daily alarms to justify the expense of a ``custom`` built rig. (As opposed to smaller towns that would adapt a ``commercial`` truck chassis like Ford.)

Fire truck manufacturing remains a relatively low volume business. By the time this truck was built, left hand controls had been standardized in the automotive business. Yet American LaFrance – unable to justify the retooling required to modernize that aspect - remained right hand drive. Salesmen for the company, unwilling to concede an outdated design, claimed that the driver would more easily spot water hydrants from this position.

The nickname for this truck, Stella, refers to the beer required during the process of making it road worthy.


This truck is chain driven. Drive shafts of the period were considered inadequate for the stress of this service. Chain drive also provided more ground clearance.

The engine is a testament to the humble state of engineering during this period. Although the six cylinder design had a capacity of over 1000 cubic inches (providing inspiring torque!), it only produced about 100 horsepower.

This truck is capable of attaining 100 KPH. The rear wheel only brakes are more of a notion, than practical. No sane driver would test the limits of such a design!