Wayne Mutza has written his second book on American Fire Apparatus aimed at the scale modeler. This volume covers Aerial Equipment and, from Don Greer’s paintings on the front and back covers to the more than 300 color and black and white images inside, it is a feast for the eye.
The introduction explains that by the late 1800s the increase in multi-story buildings brought on the organization of the first Hook and Ladder Companies. They arrived at the blaze carrying multiple ladders and pike poles, or “hooks”, for pulling down walls and ceilings. American LaFrance purchased the patent for a wagon-mounted ladder raised by a worm gear and fitted with a tiller seat from Daniel D. Hayes of the San Francisco Fire Department. The Hayes Aerial went into production in 1881.
Next is a section covering the early years, with several contemporary photos of horse-drawn aerial units. Then, moving to motorized units, the book follows the development of larger and stronger units, with lots of great pictures of apparatus through the 1930s. Rigs from the rest of the 20th Century are divided by decade. Here you will find hundreds of images of trucks from all over the country, including a few action shots. All are sharp, crisp, well captioned photographs. It’s fun looking at all the beautiful paint jobs from various Fire Departments, maybe even from your home town.
The last section covers the 21st Century, and is again loaded with superb pictures. Paint schemes here include some real works of art, even airbrush fire scenes, flames, and Old Glory. The final picture in the book shows Ladder 163’s Mack Aerialscope/Tower Ladder amid the ruins of the World Trade Center on 9/11.
This is a wonderful book for anyone with an interest in firefighting apparatus. The perfect balance of historical information and awesome photography makes this a must-have for any modeler of scale fire vehicles. And now I’m off to the Squadron web site to order Vol. 1.
Thank you Squadron for the review copy, and for giving us this outstanding book.