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1939 American LaFrance 500 Series Pumper . This is a 1939 American LaFrance 500 Series Pumper. It has a 1000 gpm pump with a three man closed cab and an overhead ladder rack. It is powered by the famous American LaFrance V-12 engine. . The Great Depression took a tremendous toll on fire apparatus manufacturers. No manufacturer was immune from the Depression. In 1926 American LaFrance was the leading manufacturer of fire apparatus with sales of $5.5 million ($68 million in 2011 dollars). By 1934 these dropped by 89 percent to only $592,000 ($10 million in 2011 dollars). Despite the Depression, the 1930s were a decade of incredible innovation in fire apparatus. There were some very visible changes in fire apparatus. Factory installed windshields became standard. Left hand steering became more prevalent and eventually standard. Enclosed cabs and sedan style cabs were becoming common. Shaft drives now were used instead of chain drives. American fire apparatus during the first half of the 20th Century reflected trends in American design. One of the more notable trends was the Art Deco movement. It was characterized by sleek lines and smooth curves. The Art Deco style also was reflected in the architecture of many of the firehouses built during this period. The most quintessential Art Deco fire engine is the American LaFrance 500 Series. It was designed American LaFrance designer John Grybos. The 500 Series had large rounded fenders and rounded body with its bell hidden behind its large front grill. On 500 Series pumpers the ground ladders and hard suction hoses stored out of view inside the body. Some, like this one, had an overhead ladder rack. The American LaFrance 600 Series was an upgraded version of the 500 Series introduced in 1941. Upgrades included improved visibility and various mechanical and cosmetic changes. A total of 1583 units of the 500 and 600 Series were built between 1938 and 1946.

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