Tavistock’s Historic Firetruck

If you’ve ever driven through Tavistock or stopped in at our head office, you’ve probably seen the shiny red firetruck on display in the show room. Have you wondered about its history? Here’s some of its story:

Tavistock’s First Volunteer Fire Brigade
Let’s go back a few years before the firetruck to Tavistock’s first volunteer fire brigade. It was established with 21 men in November 1911. The Village of Tavistock installed 16 water hydrants connected to a 40,000 gallon water tank.

In 1912, they purchased a hose reel. (It is on display in our showroom as well). With a fire call, the rubber-clad and booted volunteer firemen would pull this reel to the scene of the fire. It was donated to our company in 1997 for restoration and safekeeping.

The Tavistock Fire Brigade of 1911. Appearing in photo left to right, standing: Arthur Ford, Chief Peter Steinman, Adam Mansz, Frank McDermott, Adam Heinbuch, unknown, unknown, John Steinman, William Schaefer, John Keutsch, Hanas Hahn; kneeling: William Kaufman, Fred Eckstein, Charles Kaufman, Lloyd Klein, George Quehl; sitting: Fred Wright, George Shibley, Henry Appel, unknown, and Jacob Wettlaufer.

The Famous Firetruck is Purchased
The Tavistock Village Council purchased the one-tonne “chemical” firetruck, built by the Lorne Tractor Company of Ingersoll in October 1926, for $1,400. It was a 1926 Ford Model T.

The truck remained in service until August 1950. At that time, the siren, spotlight and firefighting peripherals were removed and the truck sold. It delivered groceries for a time and was used to haul firewood in Kitchener.

The Tavistock 1926 Ford Model T “Chemical” Firetruck and volunteer firefighters.

Purchase and Restoration
In 1989, a Campbellford, Ont. collector advertised the old firetruck for sale in the Tavistock Gazette. Our Board of Directors decided to purchase the truck and it was returned home to Tavistock. A team of local craftsmen and tradespeople started restoring it.

The rusted firetruck prior to restoration.

Presented to Tavistock Fire Fighters’ Association
The restoration was completed in 1990 and the 1926 Ford Model T Firetruck was presented to the Tavistock Fire Fighters’ Association. The truck was  kept in the showroom at our old office.

The restored firetruck is presented to the Tavistock Fire Fighters’ Association in 1990.

Firetruck on Display
In 2016, we opened a brand new head office building in Tavistock with a show room built especially for the firetruck. The truck is still operable and appears in shows and parades. It is maintained by Zehr Automotive in Tavistock.



Feel free to stop by our office any time Monday to Friday 8:30 am – 4:30 pm to view this piece of our local history and other artifacts.


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