Friday, December 17, 2010

Reader's Digest 1914 Knox-Martin Fire Truck

Reader's Digest offered a series of 1/64 scale die-cast fire trucks as a subscription renewal premium.  This 1914 Knox-Martin was their 1999 offering.  The Knox-Martin was a fascinating fire engine, really just a big ol' tractor with one small wheel in the front, and a set of dual wheels in the rear. What is not apparent from looking at this little toy, is that this is a tractor/trailer combination.  The steam pumper is actually a trailer modified to accept the tractor with the forward end of the trailer resting on a 'fifth wheel'.   There was a long steering column extending from the front of the engine rearward to the driver's seat.  The basic tractor/trailer arrangement could be used as a general purpose utility hauler, log hauler, or in this case hauling a steam pumper apparatus.  Fire apparatus' were expensive and represented a sizable investment for any community and many communities could not afford expensive upgrades.  It was for this reason that many of the old steam pumpers were still used, and  modern upgrades of the time limited themselves to new power trains in one form or another.   The Knox-Martin was quite a large affair which this tiny toy doesn't do justice to. Yet, it's nice to see such an unusual vehicle represented in miniature and so we feature it here for your enjoyment! Bettina & Fritz Berg Enjoy :)