History and Overview

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 a few years of experimentation, American-LaFrance started production of motor fire apparatus in 1910.  In the teens, American-LaFrance quickly developed a full product line that included pumpers, ladder trucks and a variety of specialized apparatus.   

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.

In 1985 the company left New York and production was moved to Virginia.  The company operated under a few different corporate owners over the next three decades.  During this time sales and market share steadily declined until 2014, when the company filed for bankruptcy and went out of business

American LaFrance Photos

from the SPAAMFAA Library & Archive​

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:

https://spaamfaa-archives.smugmug.com
 

Build and Delivery Lists

Peckham’s American LaFrance Search
Registration No.
Type/Style
Order No.
Shipment Date (yyyy-mm-dd)
City, State
Country
All text fields
Resources

Hard copies of truck data (J. Peckham’s volumes) are available from Matt Lee.Contact Candy Bennett or Ken Soderbeck for additions or corrections to the database.

Additional note for Commercial Chassis:
Brockway/ALF build sheets and production records are on microfilm and on file at the MACK Truck Museum in Allentown, PA. Mack Truck Museum will copy build sheet, if available, for a nominal donation.

Service and Operations Manuals

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.

Mail – Personal Check
Send a check, made out to “SPAAMFAA – Lee Soderbeck Memorial Fund” :

SPAAMFAA

Annual Dues Renewal – Check or Credit Card
Make a contribution to the “Lee Soderbeck Memorial Fund” as an “add-on” when submitting your annual SPAAMFAA DUES RENEWAL FORM.

All of these gifts will go into a restricted fund designated strictly for use by the SPAAMFAA Archives and Library.

Other Resources

American LaFrance (Pre-1950)

Matt Lee
11463 Morgan
Plymouth, MI, 48170
734-459-3967

American LaFrance (Pre-1950)

Walter McCall
2281 Victoria Ave.
Windsor, ON, N8X 1R2 Canada
519-252-0238

American LaFrance (Pre-1950)

Hal Fillinger
201B Ruth Rd.
Harleysville, PA, 19438
215-513-7572

American LaFrance (Pre-War)

Doug Klink
3505 St Francis Way
Estes Park, Co. 80517
970-577-1953

American LaFrance (Post-War)

PO Box 537
McLoud, OK, 74851
Cell (405) 815-7186
stevenbloftin@yahoo.com

American LaFrance (Pre-1950)

Ray Bennett

American LaFrance (Pre-1950)

Larry Zotti

American LaFrance (Pre-War)

Damon Cackley

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