ON THE BOOK SHELF
By John M. Malecky October, 2017
Buckboard Fire Apparatus
The Original Cab Forward
By Anthony G. Buono
FSP Books & Videos
188 Central Street
Hudson, MA 01749-1330
E-Mail: support @fire-police-ems.com
This book is soft cover, measuring 8 ½ inches by 11 inches and has 243 pages. The author did a fantastic job of research to put this history together. Though I am an apparatus buff so to speak, I am not very learned in antiques, but I was very impressed in reading this book.
What I did not know is that the term “buckboard” was never used to describe any fire apparatus when these particular trucks were being built. The name was coined by Walter P. McCall, who in the opinion of many (including myself), is a famous historian of apparatus, most notably American LaFrance. He likened this design to the buckboards of the cowboy days when these wagons were used for transportation and the hauling of supplies.
The book is not broken down into chapters, but into topics and the different brands of apparatus that used the design. The author went to great lengths and detail to give the reader the most accurate information about these histories. There are over 300 references listed on the pages and eight pages of bibliography. Much of these are from a host of apparatus experts from SPAAMFAA.
The photos are all black and white, and there are plenty of them. Many major cities are represented and I was even surprised to see a photo of an aerial ladder tuck from my hometown of Bayonne, NJ on Page 192. All of the coverage of the manufacturers are like short stories in a sense and it makes an easy read because none of them take up a lot of pages.
It is safe to say that most of these manufacturers are not around today and that there are a few of the buckboard trucks in the hands of museums and perhaps private owners. So for readers that are up in their years, the book may bring back fond memories, and for the young readers, it will take them down through history, illustrating how fire departments of yesteryear used the best they had to fight fires.