The fire department of Nashua, New Hampshire, ordered this 1925 Ahrens-Fox truck to protect the city and its mills along the Merrimack River for several years before taking it out of service.
Extensive renovations have helped keep it in shape. Upkeep on the original engine was completed using a bottom end and block from a 2,000-mile Ahrens-Fox service ladder truck.
Original parts and accessories described in the initial Nashua fire department order were sought out; only two items are lacking from its original components.
The Ahrens-Fox pumpers are easily recognized by the giant chrome sphere pressure-equalizer located above the front-mounted multi-piston pumps. The spheres serve as an air chamber to dampen the pressure fluctuations in the hoses caused by the action of the pump.
Leader of the Band
This Ahrens-Fox truck is thought to have been purchased from the Nashua fire department by bandleader Benny Snyder, a friend of Boston Pops Orchestra conductor Arthur Fiedler. Fiedler himself was a fan of fire equipment. The vehicle still had the “Benny Snyder Orchestra” legend on its hood when a later paint job was stripped and refinished.
Alexander B. Latta built the first steam-powered fire engine in Cincinnati in 1853. Chris Ahrens was an apprentice in Latta’s firm and he later became the owner. The company merged with American LaFrance in 1903. Ahrens’ son-in-law Charles Fox, Ahrens’ sons, and another son-in-law split off from the combined firm and formed the Ahrens-Fox Fire Engine Company in 1910.
Ahrens-Fox built its first motorized fire engine in 1911. By the end of 1912, production of horse-drawn fire apparatus was a thing of the past. A point of company pride was that it built nearly everything in its Cincinnati factory, including the engines. In all, Ahrens-Fox built more than 1,500 pieces of fire apparatus before the company’s long run ended in 1977.
1925 Ahrens-Fox Firetruck Specs:
- 998 cubic inch, T-head, inline six engine
- Dual exhaust valves
- Three-speed manual gearbox
- 1,100 gallon-per-minute pump
- Lacking only two original parts
- Once owned by Benny Snyder of the Benny Snyder Orchestra