Truck society honors Mack and Cummins
Mack Trucks founders John “Jack’’ and Augustus “Gus” Mack were inducted into the American Truck Historical Society’s (ATHS) new American Trucking and Industry Leader Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural class.
Located at the ATHS headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., the Hall of Fame focuses on honoring trucking professionals and their contributions to the industry and society.
Acquiring the Fallesen & Berry carriage company in 1893, Jack and Gus Mack launched the Mack Brothers Co. in Brooklyn, N.Y., and began experimenting with steam and electric vehicles. The Mack brothers produced their first heavy-duty vehicle in 1900, a 40 horsepower, 20-passenger bus. Built for sightseeing, the bus operated in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for eight years before being converted into a truck.
Following strong acceptance and growing demand for rugged, heavy-duty Mack trucks, the Mack brothers moved the company in 1905 to Allentown, in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, and incorporated the new Mack Brothers Motor Car Co.
The early 1900s yielded many Mack innovations, like a truck cab mounted directly over the engine to help improve driver visibility and maneuverability, especially in crowded city settings. Gus Mack also patented a constant mesh feature to protect the transmission’s gears from being damaged by inexperienced drivers.
Mack’s introduced its famous AC model in 1916. Equipped with a chain drive rear axle, the AC model earned its “Bulldog” moniker while supporting the front lines during World War I. That Bulldog image followed the Mack brothers’ products as their popularity expanded beyond the United States to markets with heavy-haul applications and challenging terrain, like the Northwest Territory in Canada.
“The Mack brothers represent many qualities that I admire — entrepreneurial spirit, leadership, a bit of risk-taking, pride in their work and innovation,’’ said Jeff Oldham, vice president for Mack Trucks’ central region.
Other inductees who joined Jack and Gus Mack in the ATHS Hall of Fame were Cummins Inc. founder Clessie Cummins, radio host Dave Nemo, and the Owner Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA).