1910 – Ahrens-Fox®
HME is proud to carry the Ahrens-Fox® emblem on its finest fire apparatus. Founded in 1910 in Cincinnati, Ohio by John Ahrens and Charles Fox, Ahrens-Fox® built its first motorized fire engine in 1911, one year before the end of production of horse-drawn fire apparatus. Ahrens-Fox® fire apparatus were known for their quality, power, durability, and long service life and served many departments, not only in the United States but throughout the world. Today, HME Ahrens-Fox® keeps this great tradition alive, and pays tribute to its legacy with innovative and high-quality fire apparatus engineering that is worthy of the Ahrens-Fox® name.
1913 – Magnus Hendrickson
The HME of today can trace its roots back to 1913, Founder Magnus Hendrickson. Magnus Hendrickson was an innovative designer and manufacturer of custom truck chassis. He was one of the first engineers of his day to see the potential of two rear-axles, along with the incorporation of suspension systems. Today there still remains a division of Magnus Hendrickson’s original company, still bearing the name “Hendrickson”, that continues to supply suspensions for trucks and trailers.
1915 - Ahrens-Fox® in New York City
While it wasn’t the largest fleet of Ahrens-Fox® fire apparatus to serve any one department, 50 Ahrens-Fox® fire trucks served in New York City for six decades, starting in 1915. These Ahrens-Fox® fire apparatus included pumpers, aerial ladders, and an airport crash rig, converted from a pumper, which is thought to be the only Ahrens-Fox® airport crash unit of its kind. Ahrens-Fox® apparatus were engaged in some of the most historic multiple fires in New York's history.
1970’s – Ahrens-Fox® legacy
Ahrens-Fox® produced over 1500 fire apparatus until the late 1970s. The F.D.N.Y. unit best known for its use of Ahrens-Fox® fire apparatus, was Engine Company 65, located in midtown Manhattan. Engine 65 operated every model of Ahrens-Fox® piston pumpers in New York from 1916 until the end of the Ahrens-Fox® era. While the last delivery of Ahrens-Fox® to NYS was recorded in the late 1930s, with the largest delivery of Ahrens-Fox® fire apparatus that was recorded in 1938, Ahrens-Fox® fire trucks were found in service in the city well into the 1950s, and some outside the city in the 1970s. In fact, in the late 1970s, a 1938 Ahrens-Fox® HT model was discovered in upstate Orange County. This historic fire truck was eventually relocated to the New York State Museum in Albany where it’s currently on display with several other pieces of fire apparatus. It is the only surviving example of an F.D.N.Y. Ahrens-Fox®.
1978 – HME firetrucks®
In 1978, the Hendrickson family sold Hendrickson’s various divisions to the Boler Group. Under the management of the Boler, the divisions continued to supply suspension and chassis to the truck industry. In 1985, the Hendrickson Mobile Equipment Division, dedicated to fire truck manufacturing, was sold to Kovatch Mobile Equipment. Kovatch focused their energy on a segment of the Mobile Equipment Division dedicated to building extreme, heavy-duty chassis. Kovatch sold the remaining assets to HME’s present owners. The name Hendrickson Mobile Equipment was retained and eventually shortened to the now more familiar “HME.”
1983 – HME tilt-cab innovation
HME introduced tilt-cab engineering to the fire industry in 1983. The first-ever tilt-cab design function, and the use of cab-forward trucks with their shorter overall lengths and improved maneuverability and handling characteristics, proved to be highly practicable for fire apparatus applications. In addition to improved turning and handling, and the creation of more compact and shorter fire trucks, the design also provided easier and more efficient access to the engine compartment – lowering maintenance time and costs for fire departments.
1988 – HME fire truck chassis
In 1988, HME relocated its manufacturing facilities from Chicago to a suburb of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In Grand Rapids, HME began to design and manufacture a line of fire truck chassis for Grumman Emergency Products, located in Roanoke, Virginia. The chassis HME created for Grumman was a variation of the original VT-100, which eventually became known as the Panther I (aerial), and the Panther II (pumper). Within a three-year period, HME Manufactured nearly 300 chassis for Grumman until the closure of Grumman’s Emergency Products Division.
1992 – HME 1871®
In 1992, after Grumman, HME realized the potential for serving the fire service industry with its own innovative, tough, and durable designs and launched the HME 1871 Series® , a line of custom fire truck chassis. With the 1871 chassis, HME entered the industry as an independent manufacturer and began to market cabs and chassis to apparatus manufacturers across North America and around the world.
2002 – HME SilverFox®
In the spring of 2002, HME took another giant step forward by designing, engineering, and manufacturing a line of complete fire apparatus. HME introduced the SilverFox® and the Ahrens-Fox® fire apparatus lines with the objective of providing quality custom fire apparatus that are easy to maintain, durable, and highly cost effective. This philosophy was reflected in the design approach and materials used in the construction of HME fire apparatus, as well as the integration of new technologies in the design and manufacturing process. The application of advanced engineering and digital technologies allowed HME to design its fire trucks down to the smallest nut, bolt, and screw. Digital blueprints provide precision reproduction or replacement of parts and components as needed – for faster and trouble-free repair and installation in the field, when needed.
2010 – The first compressed natural gas powered fire truck
IN 2010 HME introduced the world’s first 100% compressed natural gas powered fire truck. The HME Ahrens-Fox® CNG is the first fire, EMS and rescue response vehicle powered by a clean emission, compressed natural gas (CNG) engine. This innovative and industry leading fire apparatus meets all present EPA emission standards without the use or addition of exotic filters or exhaust gas treatment devices. While the HME Ahrens-Fox® CNG engine may be innovative and unusual, the quality and capability of this CNG fire apparatus features all the advanced design features, capabilities, and quality engineering found in every HME fire apparatus.