08/20/11 251 W - + 2 - 8 American, Not American LaFrance


South Carolina fire historian Grant Mishoe has provided an important correction to last week's posting about "Old Sue," Charlotte's 1902 steam engine displayed and demonstrated on Saturday at the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo. The apparatus was manufactured by the American Fire Engine Company, and not American LaFrance. The latter wasn't formed until 1904. Comments from Grant on both the apparatus and the company: 

[Old Sue] is a 1902 American Fire Engine Company steam fire engine. It was built in 1902 on a Fox boiler. This is not an American LaFrance steamer. ALF did not come into existence until 1904.
Talks [to merge American and LaFrance] were started in 1903, but it was official and [the company was] formed in 1904. It was officially known as American-Lafrance [and was] later changed to American LaFrance.
[The company] was a product of the fallout of the International Fire Engine Company, which was broken up. They took the two biggest names in the company and called it that.
A-L designers were working on a motorized vehicle in 1903. When they became A-L in 1904, two were delivered. They made two more in 1904 and 1905 of this type. They then made one in 1906 and two more in 1907 and 1908. The first Type 5s were not delivered until 1910. I have all the serial numbers and pictures of these rigs.
Though [Charlotte's steamer] was purchased from International Fire, it was still built on an American Fire frame. International was more of a trust, with the individual brands working underneath the umbrella.






  
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