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Historical Fire Apparatus Account
The 1927 Mack is the third truck acquired by the fire museum in 1968. This Mack fire truck is an impressive machine.
Willimantic fire headquarters on Bank Street taken in 1933. The picture shows the department's other apparatus with the two AP Mack's purchased in 1927.
This gives you an idea of how large the massive AP engine is with master mechanic David Worth installing new head gaskets in 2012
With the head off for gasket replacement, you can see the pistons are the size of coffee cans! These Mack engines were a low speed, low compression, high torque machines. Mack engines of this era were almost indestructible and because they developed their maximum power at relatively slow speeds, this was an important factor in prolonging the life of the engine.
This photo shows the truck just after it was purchased by the Willington Fire Department (later renamed Willington Hill Fire Department) ca 1954
The Willington Fire Department's 1956 photo with the new 1955 Ford Lafrance pumper that replaced their '27 Mack
In 1926 Mack introduced a new series of fire apparatus having the AP six cylinder, 150 horse power engine and pump capacities of 750 to 1000 gallons per minute. The "AP" fire engine had four wheel brakes with a vacuum booster for faster and more powerful braking ability.
With the powerful Mack engine, four speed transmission, ballon tires and power brakes the "AP" fire engine had all the features desired by big city fire departments in the 1920's. The "AP" pumper was later called the type 15. From December 1926 to September 1938 Mack produced 285 "AP" trucks 200 of which were used for fire apparatus.
The museum's 1927 Mack has a Hale 1000 gpm rotary gear pump and a 150 gallon booster tank (large for the era). It was built on the Mack 7.5 ton frame with a gross vehicle weight of 21,000 lbs. In 1927 Willimantic purchased two AP fire apparatus from Mack, a 1000gpm pumper and a 75' tiller aerial truck. The pumper served as their engine 1 until it was retired in 1954. Shortly there after the truck was sold for $1.00 to the newly formed Willington Hill Fire Department in Willington, CT. and was their first piece of apparatus. The Mack served Willington Hill until it was again retired in 1956 when the department purchased a new pumper on a Ford chassis.
The truck had two more owners before it was purchased from the Somerville Mfg. Company of Somers, CT in 1968. The mill had purchased the truck for their in-house fire department, however in 1968 the owners of the mill closed the facility and no longer had use for the Mack.
After purchasing the truck in October of 1968 the museum staff spent about a year restoring the truck to what it looks like today. This vehicle is fully operational, the only real problem with the truck is the big gas hog AP engine that only gets one mile per gallon!
Story and photos courtesy of Bert Johanson
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