American-LaFrance may be the greatest name in the history of fire apparatus. No firm has had more influence on the design of modern fire apparatus than American-LaFrance.
The story of American-LaFrance goes back to the 1832, when John F. Rogers began building hand-tub fire engines in Waterford, New York. In 1834 Lysander Button purchased Rogers’ business and eventually Button merged into the American Fire Engine Company in 1891. In 1900 the American Fire Engine Company and the LaFrance Fire Engine Company both became part of the International Fire Engine Company. When the International Fire Engine Company went bankrupt in 1903, the American-LaFrance Fire Engine Company, Ltd., of Elmira, New York, emerged in as its corporate successor.
After World War Two, American-LaFrance introduced its most iconic product, the 700 Series. The 700 Series featured a true cab-forward design with a pleasant curved face. The cab-forward design had significantly better visibility and better maneuverability than conventional engine-ahead designs. Over the next decade, other companies followed the lead of American-LaFrance and started to build their own cab-forward apparatus. In 1955, American-LaFrance dropped the hyphen from the corporate name.
The SPAAMFAA Archives has an amazing collection containing tens of thousands of images of fire apparatus. Ultimately we have lofty goals of cataloging, indexing, scanning, and digitizing everything electronically, with copies of most of the illustrative material cross available for personal-use. In the meantime you can a selection of these images on our SmugMug gallery:
John Peckham compiled and published a comprehensive list of American LaFrance registration numbers. This data, was gathered from a number of different factory lists and files, plus other outside sources and/or individuals.
The SPAAMFAA Archives has extensive collection containing fire apparatus Owner and Operations Manuals. Thank you for your patience as we work to get these manuals scanned, and edited into downloadable PDF files.
Plymouth, MI, 48170
2281 Victoria Ave.
Windsor, ON, N8X 1R2 Canada
201B Ruth Rd.
Harleysville, PA, 19438
3505 St Francis Way
Estes Park, Co. 80517
PO Box 537
McLoud, OK, 74851
Cell (405) 815-7186