Though the company was founded by Truckson LaFrance in 1873, the roots of American LaFrance date to 1832 and the manufacture of hand operated fire apparatuses. Steam powered and horse drawn pumpers were next, followed by American LaFrance’s first motorized firetruck in 1907. The company even briefly made automobiles, about 22 of them in 1911 and one Type 8 roadster survives in the Charleston American LaFrance museum. American LaFrance started selling “cab forward” firetrucks starting with the 700 Series in 1947. The cab forward design puts driver’s compartment ahead of the front wheels and engine. This reduced the strain on the front axle but more importantly gave firefighters better road visibility when rushing to a fire. Almost all modern firetrucks today are cab forward designs. This 900 Series open cab American LaFrance pumper served the Stonefort, Illinois F.D. The 900 Series firetruck was introduced in 1958 and stayed in production until 1974.
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