Sitting outside the old firehouse of my youth, watching the parade, I was struck by the sameness of the modern fire apparatus. Except for a few older trucks, regardless of chassis or the name on the cab, they all seemed to look like they came from the same styling page; boxy clones of someone's idea of what a fire truck should look like. Other than the placement and size of the radiator grille and warning devices, they were nearly identical. Only the modern ALF cab looked a little unique.
It made me realize I was lucky enough to witness the great designs of the past, while they were still active and they all had their own "personality".

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I remember being able to look at any piece in the city and know who it was. Even engines made by the same company still had their own unique look. No it's just cookie cutter manufacturing.

Just like today's automobiles. No 'personality"!  I, too, remember the ALFs, Seagraves, those great old Macks, Pirsches, Maxims and more!

Today's apparatus are like giraffes!  They are designed by a committee! They used to be designed by the builders and manufacturers. Now most are merely "assembled" from pre-fabbed rolling chassis, contractor-supplied pumps and basic flat sheet metal cabinetry. No more custom-made coachwork, manufacturer's pumps (and some even made their own motors!) and unique markings/gold leafing.

Plus most of those old workhorses lasted in service for several DECADES vs. the 5-15 years of today. Something to be said for craftsmanship and workmanship!  In fact there are STILL some in service today in parts of our country and many more continue in front line service overseas! 

Many of those older apparatus had features that are considered "cutting edge" today! Such as fully enclosed crew cabs, fully enclosed pumps and even fully enclosed cabinetry!  Manufacturers such as Seagrave and American LaFrance brought out these features back in the 1930s! 

Over the years many FDs developed a loyalty to particular brands because those manufacturers could build truly custom apparatus to the buyers' specs. Now we buy apparatus like cars, picking from predetermined lists of "options/option groups" to attempt to match our requirements. 

A lot to be said for some things from the "good old days".

My dept uses only Darley pumps since the Darley factory is right in our city but has a wide range of chasis manufacturers. One is an International and the rest are different brands. The ambulances are all Fords. 2 with Horton bodies and the other 2 are Road Rescue. Another city in the area is the same way. It seems like no one in my area even is staying with one company or design.

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