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Tillers and Tractors of the New York City Fire Department


By John M. Malecky February, 2019

Tillers and Tractors of the
New York City Fire Department
By John A. Calderone

Available from:
FSP Books & Videos
188 Central street, Suite #4
Hudson, MA 01749-1330

Price $34.95

This book is soft cover and measures 8 ½ inches by 11 inches. It has 80 pages. It's not often that I review a book by Fire Apparatus Journal because they are done so well that they sell out quickly. But I felt this book was worth reviewing.

It's a well detailed and researched history and collection of tillers of the New York Fire Department which began in 1879. The earliest photo in the book is from 1912 and the last photo is from 2016. A host of well known apparatus photographers, mostly from the New York Metropolitan area, assisted in the compilation of this publication and are acknowledged herewith.

The book is very precise in its history of these trucks, which can only be appreciated by the reader thumbing through the pages. With the exception of some color photos at the beginning, the reader will not encounter another one until page 35, attesting to the fact that much research was done to record the history of the early years.

As the title of the book denotes, it include tractors as well as tractor and trailer units. Through the years, updated tractors had been paired up with older trailers when, for one reason or another, the original tractor had to be replaced.

You will read about the early hesitation of replacing wooden aerial ladders with metal ones. You will also read about the transition from open-cabbed (or semi-cab as they were sometimes called), to closed-cab. Civil disorders dictated the use of plywood to construct roofs on the semi-cab tractors for protection from flying objects. Subsequent orders of aerial apparatus specified closed-cabs starting in the late 1960’s.

Enough of my talk! Purchase the books and enjoy!

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John MaleckySenior Columnist

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