1. #1
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    Default History?- Open top rigs-Why?

    Maybe some of the old timers have some good answers for my twin four year old nephews' questions that have gotten me thinking myself.

    Why did open-top rigs last as a standard for so long? Did they give arriving units such a better view to be worth the safety risk and the exposure to the elements?
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    Smile Open Cab Rigs

    Do you mean open jumpseat area cabs, or the whole cab being opened front and back?

    The good ol' days of riding the opened jumpseat Mack CFs are long gone. When you left the station you could feel the cold night air. You stood up so you could gear up enroute. As you turned the block, you could smell the fire. It was quite an experience. When returning, wet and tired, you would hug the hot engine cover to stay warm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captain7
    Do you mean open jumpseat area cabs, or the whole cab being opened front and back?

    The good ol' days of riding the opened jumpseat Mack CFs are long gone. When you left the station you could feel the cold night air. You stood up so you could gear up enroute. As you turned the block, you could smell the fire. It was quite an experience. When returning, wet and tired, you would hug the hot engine cover to stay warm.
    Talking full open tops. I see them being nice in Southern California, the Desert Southwest, Hawaii and Florida, but most of the country just seems like a tradition that over stayed it time. Was size up upon arrival that much easier or was it just a tradition thing? Riden the semi open jumpseat/back step, see that mostly as a convienance for the builders and a little bit for the space to stand while gearing up, can see where the apparatus evolved to that, but what is the deal with the fully open tops on some rigs into the early 80's?
    Last edited by DennisTheMenace; 05-15-2006 at 03:28 PM.
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    I have been told by more than one person that spotting apparatus was a major factor in continuing to use open cab apparatus long after closed cabs became commonly available. Some towns continued to order open cab aerials and closed cab engines so that the driver on the truck could see where they were going to throw the stick when they arrived at a fire.

    I'm sure that tradition also played a factor in this. I know from what I saw in the 1960's and 70's (and I've been told this was true in other locations), it was unusual for firefighters to ride inside closed cab apparatus when it was in service. Cincinnati had a fleet of engines with an aisle up through the hose bed and a bench seat under the canopy. It was a rare occurance to see anyone riding on the seat. The engine crews stood in the aisle the majority of the time.

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    I think that it was mostly due to the "times" ..............very very few manufactures made any closed cabs. Also it wasnt until the 1950's that ALF dickered with the "cab forward" design. We had 2 open cab ALF engien when I first got on .......and they were something..............also warn engine covers good in the winter.......BAD in the summer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace
    I see them being nice in Southern California, the Desert Southwest, Hawaii and Florida,
    You do know that it rains in Fla...alot.
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    I was stationed in upstate New York and the Chief of the career dept of the city that was next to the base had all open cab apparatus until he retired in the late 70s'.

    He believed it kept the men tough. Blizzards and -20F definitely had an effect.

    The department started buying apparatus with closed cabs upon his retirement.

    The city council would not buy police cars with air conditionng either. It was a "waste of taxpayer money". The person who took care of the traffic lights got an air conditioned vehicle based on the need to "cool circuit boards" on hot days to keep the signals working.

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    There was an enclosed cab option. Seagrave was building the Safety Sedan pumper for Detroit in the 1930s. All the members and equipment were out of the weather, although the back of the rig was open. There was a walkway down the center of the hosebed that led to a benchseat. The city stopped buying them in the early 1960s, and had canopy cab apparatus just in time for the members to be exposed to the riots of the late 60s.

    "In an effort to preserve the historical heritage of fire fighting and to give fallen firefighters a fitting tribute the Detroit Fireman’s Fund has undertaken the restoration of a 1937 Seagrave Sedan Pumper. Traditionally firefighters that died in the line of duty were carried to their final resting place on fire apparatus. Modern day apparatus and government regulations often do not allow for this ritual. As with so many cherished customs, this one is in danger of disappearing. The 1937 Seagrave will easily conform to today’s stringent guidelines.

    Seagrave Pumper History

    This pumper was originally put into service on July 1, 1937 as DFD Engine No.13.

    It was sold for scrap by the city in July 1967.

    An avid collector Jimmie Dobson donated the 1937 Seagrave in March 2004. “Before I’m gone, I want to share it with people who will have it on the road for a long time, “ said Mr. Dobson.
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    I was told by an old jake that some administrators thought that fire trucks should not be too comfortable, otherwise FF's would just ride around all day, simular to the police AC issue I guess.

    I've heard some great stories of chipping the ice out of the cab of open ladders in the dead of winter. I'm glad we don't have to deal with that anymore.
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