By 1911, the Mack Brothers Company called itself the “Leading Gasoline Truck in America.” The company had 825 employees, producing about 600 units a year.
Good times and bad ebbed and flowed over the course of the next decades. But Mack is generally given credit for continuing innovations.
Just one example was when a new chief engineer, Edward R. Hewitt, designed a medium-duty AB Mack truck. It became a mainstay of the market from 1930s.
Eventually, Mack became famous for building not just heavy-duty trucks. But also small delivery trucks, buses, fire trucks and others.
t one time, Mack offered the most comprehensive product line of any truck manufacturer (during World War II and in the post-war years).
John “Jack” Mack, founder of the company, did not live to see all of this.
Ironically, he was killed when his car collided with a trolley in Pennsylvania on March 14, 1922.
By 1986 Mack announced that it was finally moving its main production plant from Allentown, PA.
The Allentown plant, built in 1926, was so old that trucks were still spray-painted by hand. Parts had to be moved by forklifts (since there was no robotic technology).
In recent years, Mack stopped doing group tours at its Mack Trucks Historical Museum in an out-of-the-way location behind the Allentown Airport. But individuals are still welcome as visitors to see company history (though since the Volvo Group took over, Mack’s headquarters moved to Greensboro, NC).
Vehicles on display include the oldest Mack product, a bright red, 40-horsepower, 28-passenger sightseeing bus.
Mack today may be even better known for its more modern slogan: “Born Ready” found on most of the various products it sells.
But the Bulldog remains associated with the company. And visitors to the museum today still find miniature bulldog ornaments located behind the security guard’s desk.
By David Wilkening
Gallery of Mack trucks: