The Brockway Story is
continued from page 1
next day's edition of the same paper (June 17, 1938 Syracuse Herald)
announced that Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Frederick H. Bryant was
considering yet another modification of the Brockway reorganization
“Brockway's Reorganizing Plan Studied -
Proposal Gives Bigger Share to Holders of Common Stock
“A modified plan for reorganization of the
Brockway Motor Truck Corporation, which attorneys say will provide a
more equitable share to common stockholders, was under consideration
Friday by Federal Judge Frederick H. Bryant.
“The company's plant in Cortland was the
scene of a $250,000 fire early Thursday (June 16, 1938) resulting in
destruction of between 36 and 40 trucks, and a testing and storage
building. It was said the loss was covered by insurance.
“Details of the modification were
in Federal Court Thursday afternoon. It was indicated an agreement; on
the plan would be reached by the next hearing which is to be held at
Malone Monday morning.
“The modified plan would give preferred
stockholders stock purchase warrants allowing them to buy one share of
common stock of the new company for each five shares of preferred block
held by the old corporation.
“It would grant to holders of common stock
of the original company stock purchase warrants entitling them to buy
one share of common stock, of the operating company for each 10 shares
of the old corporation at $20 a share.
“The new company would be authorized to
issue 260,000 shares of common stock, with 20,500 shares reserved for
stock purchase warrants.
“Attorneys said the reorganization plan
offered by the creditors' committee would have disregarded common
stockholders. Creditors would have received 97 per cent of the stock
and preferred stockholders three per cent.”
Depression of 1938 saw Brockway's sales decline, with only
1,303 deliveries compared to 1,695 in 1936. To help publicize the
Brockway president George S. Piroumoff penned the following article
which appeared in the September 19, 1938 issue of Automotive
“Cites Statistics on Commercial Car Use
“Brockway Head Holds Vehicles Essential
“Statistics calculated to show that life
America, from a practical, utilitarian standpoint, would come to a
virtual standstill if industry were denied the use of commercial motor
vehicles have been presented by George S. Piroumoff,
president of the Brockway Motor Co., Inc. The company is one of the
manufacturers of motor vehicles, parts and equipment which will exhibit
at the Fifth
Annual National Motor Truck Show at the Port Authority Building in New
York, November 11-17. This is being held in conjunction with the
National Automobile Show.
“In support of his statement, Mr.
points to the report of 25,000 fleet owners of eight or more trucks who
in January of 1938 were operating a
total of 901,484 vehicles. So widespread is the use of motor vehicles,
the report indicated, that people in every type of enterprise are
“Largest fleet operators are the Federal,
state, county and municipal governments with 1,546 bodies using 222,780
motor trucks. First ranking among large
fleet operators in private industry goes to the oil and gasoline
companies with a total of 15,558 trucks in operation. Standard Oil Co.
of New Jersey stands at the top
in his field with more than 12,000 commercial motor vehicles in use.
“In the smaller fleet category, the
moving and hauling businesses rate of outstanding importance with
156,945 motor trucks being operated by 5,522 concerns. Public utilities
are next with 1,250 railroad, gas, electric, water and
telephone companies operating 70,972 vehicles.
“Food almost would not be available were
not for commercial trucks. Transportation of baked goods and candy
occupies 57,035 carriers; hauling of butter,
eggs, milk and dairy products uses 54,046 trucks; 38,454 trucks are
used by chain stores, truck farmers, independent grocers and fruit and
vegetable dealers, and hauling of meats and fish account for 17,583
reorganization, coupled with an upturn in the economy, resulted in a
return to profitability, with 2,158 deliveries - an increase of 30%
over 1938 - the February 27, 1940 issue of the
“Brockway Profit $212,358 Against $3,347
“Cortland, Feb. 27, - A net profit
$212.353 in 1939, as compared with a profit of $3,347 for 1938, is
reported fay the Brockway Motor Company, Inc. Last year, it is
announced in the report, was the company's first full year of operation
since the reorganization of the old Brockway Motor Truck Corporation in
“The net profit for 1939 is $1.013 per
on the 209,500 shares of $10 par value common stock outstanding on Dec.
31, 1939. An initial divident of 25 cents per share was paid in
“The net sales were $5,986,054, as
with $4,683,364 in 1938. The balance sheet as of Dec. 31, 1939,
shows total current assets, including cash and notes and accounts
receivable of $2,619,325, amounting to $3,900,136. Total current
liabilities were $690,147.
“The new truck sales in 1939 were 2,158
units as compared with 1,658 units in 1938. It was also announced that
the company operates direct factory-controlled branches in 20 cities.”
continued to produce small numbers of purpose-built school bus chassis
into the 1940s. Most of the firm's cowl and chassis were shipped by
rail to mid-west bus builders such as Lima, Ohio's Superior Body Co.
and Richmond, Indiana's Wayne Works although two Central New York
builders, Rex-Watson in Canastota and Penn Yan Bodies in Penn Yan are
knonw to have constructed some Brockway buses. Only one operational
pre-war Brockway bus is known to survive,
wheelbase 1941 school bus formerly used by the Virgil, New York School
District and recently restored by Green Island, NEw York's Peter Grimm.
With the sudden outbreak of War, Brockway
converted its plant over to the production of war materiel,
specifically the Model B666 (B for Brockway), 6-ton, 6x6 truck
chassis, which was
based on the Corbitt Model 50SD6's originally manufactured by
Henderson, North Carolina's Corbitt Company. Brockway had constructed
trucks in the first 3 months of 1942 when the factory was converted
over to manufacture of the 6-ton prime mover, whose production
on April 1 of that year.
Although Corbitt had developed the rugged
they lacked the production capacity to construct the vast numbers
required (10,000 in all), and the Government split the
contract among five manufacturers; Brockway, Corbitt. F.W.D.,
of the 50SD6/B666 included gasoline tankers, shop vans, communications
vans, cargo trucks, fire-crash tenders (F-666), revolving
crane carriers (C-666) and specialized
self-contained chassis (B-666) for hydraulic bridge erecting cranes
(G-547), with Brockway
concentrating on the chassis of the latter four models.
From 1942 to 1945, Brockway constructed
6x6 variants, which included 1,166 (Model G547) bridge erector
(White and F.W.D. produced the remaining 1,909 of 3,075 produced in
total). The Army Corps. of Engineers designed a
self-contained bridge erection system that not only transported the
bridges steel and rubber components,but included the 4-ton
hydraulic crane needed to unload and place the 45" wide steel treadways
and a unique twin boom arm that helped unroll and place the heavy
inflatable rubber pontoons upon which the bridge was laid. The
wheelbase chassis included a
25,000-lb front winch and extra-large air-brake tanks that also served
to inflate the
rubber pontoons before they were placed in the water. The bridge
erector's Model M-IIA hydraulic beds were supplied
by both the Daybrook
Hydraulic Corp. of Bowling Green, Ohio and the Heil Company of
Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Brockway, White, and F.W.D. supplying
only the cab and chassis.
remaining 2,017 B-666 series
chassis were equipped as
platforms for revolving cranes (Model C-666) manufactured by
the Quick-way Power Shovel Co. of Denver, Colorado (a total of
2,225Quick-way Model E cranes were built during the conflict
); fire-crash trucks (Model F-666 Class 155) bodied by the
American-LaFrance Co. of Elmira, New York; and
basic cargo trucks (Model B-666). Chassis destined to carry Quick-way
cranes featured a half- cab only, with the massive boom arm resting
besides the driver. Most of Brockway's C-666 cabs featured a
collapsible windshield and removable canvas top, although some
fixed-roof variants are known to have been produced.
In 1943 Brockway purchased the old Cortland
Natural Gas plant for $20,500 in order to expands its wartime capacity.
May 8, 1943 issue of the Syracuse Herald Journal:
“Brockway Motor In Cortland Will Expand
“Cortland, May 8 - The Brockway Motor
Company has completed arrangements for the construction of a new
building which will containe 22,000 square feet of floor space. The
property is located on the south side of Central Avenue adjoining their
present showroom. The new structure is made necessary through war
contracts, and construction will begin at once.
“The properties purchased for the building
include the Bush Cabinet Company on Central Avenue, which has been
used as a warehouse, and that of Haword J. Allen of 113 Central Avenue.
“Officials of the company would not say
whether the expansion would increase the number of employees working at
On January 2, 1944, the
War Production Board
(WPB) authorized the making of one million trucks for domestic
military, municipal and civilian use with Brockway commencing
some pre-War models on March 1, 1944 – sales were limited to 'qualified
essential users' and each purchase had to be approved by a local
representative of the WPB.
Supplies of new trucks were more plentiful
in 1945 and on August 20, 1945 military requisition of new vehicles was
completely. Truck production for civilian use tripled from 1944 to
1945 although production in the latter year was still less than half
During 1945 Brockway introduced
what would prove to be one of their most popular models, the
Model 260 tractor which included an all-new 572 cu. in. 6-cylinder
Continental engine. A sleeper cab became a factory-built option in 1946
and the 260 series would continued in one form or another into the late
Brockway production for 1946 would total
4,212 trucks, a number that rivaled fiscal 1928 (not including Indiana
Truck), the firm's highest year to date. 1947 was a banner year for
Brockway, with a profit
of $2.26 million on sales of $24.5 million, however the saturated
post-war truck market reduced both sales (2,919) sales and
profits in 1948, the March 18, 1949 issue of
the New York Times reporting:
“Brockway Motor Company Inc. - For 1948:
income, $1,275,355 on net sales of $20,338,601, contrasted with
$2,262,564 on net sales of $24,436,220 in 1947. Amnnual meeting of
stockholders will be held in Cortland N.Y. on April 12.”
Brockway had an on and off
in the Canadian market, selling a few trucks in Montreal in the 1930s,
lapsing until another effort was launched in 1939. Small numbers were
exported after the War, and Canadian
transport historian Rolland Jerry
visited the Cortland
plant several times in the postwar era, reporting that the trucks were
assembled where they
stood, there being no assembly line in the usual sense. He observed the
department where the cabs were assembled and reported one of the
areas was final inspection where remaining problems were fixed and
exhaustive road test.
From 1946 to 1948 Brockway, Dodge, Ford and
Mack supplied 250-300 bus chassis to Mercury
Aircraft Corp.'s recently acquired
Penn Yan Bus Bodies division, which were marketed under the trade name
'Mercury.' The bus building business was originally located on Liberty
St. in Penn Yan, which was partially destroyed by fire in 1941, after
which it was converted over to manufacture of cargo bodies for military
2 1/2-ton trucks. At the end of the War Penn Yan's owner,Willard
Wetmore, sold the plant equipment and trade name to the Mercury
who relocated the operation to Hammondsport, NewYork, the hometown of
aviator Glenn H. Curtiss.
Buses, Penn Yan Bus division, the firm constructed approximately
all-aluminum school bus bodies
using aviation tools and techniques. In 1948 Karl
Mercury's former sales manager, purchased the firm's equipment and
remaining contracts and moved the entire operation back to Penn Yan,
where he reorganized it as Coach
and Equipment Mfg. Corp., a firm that survives today.
Manufacture of the cab-forward Metropolitan
chassis resumed after the War in two versions, the standard wheelbase
M146 and the long wheelsbase
M152, both of which were discontinued in 1949 due to a lack of orders.
Post-War Brockways were fitted with a
massive wrought iron grill guard
that made the truck instantly recognizable from a distance. The
grill featured 33 vertical bars at the top, and 52 shorter curved bars at the bottom (not counting the
framework) which were shaped like a waterfall to cover the valley
the front bumper and the front fenders. The guard prevented large
objects (aka deer) from
getting lodged in the radiator or behind the front bumper. In 1952 a
introduced with only 17 bars on the top and 18 bars below (not counting
framework). Between late 1955 and 1960 a
significantly smaller guard was utilized that featured 4 wide
horizontal bars affixed to two vertical channels that were affixed
directly in front of the radiator housing
behind the front bumper.
During the 1948 Israeli War for Independence
(aka Arab-Israeli War), a number of Brockway cowl and chassis were
purchased by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) for military use based on
reputation of the pre-War Brockways they had requisitioned for military
In 1948-49 Brockway introduced an optional
with a fixed three piece wrap-around windscreen called the model 50.
option on all cabs at that time was a door with exposed wooden
molding, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘Queen Anne’ today.
moldings looks applied, in reality the door skin has been cut away
exposing the wood
door frame inside, although the small piece mounted on the cowl is
cut-away. Later cabs offered applied cast
moldings, as the exposed wood on early models allowed moisture to enter
the composite doors,
which rotted out from the inside.
By 1950 Brockway had a firmly established
dealer network with 20 independant dealers and 35 factory
branches, most of which were concentrated in New York,
Pennsylvania and states located on the Atlantic
The US Army used a number of
ex-WWII Brockway B-666-based bridge builders and C-666 crane platforms
the Korean Conflict. One pair of bridge-builders
were used by the Treadway Bridge Co. of the Army's 58th Engineer
to span a heavily-defended river crossing at
the southern end of the Chosin Reservoir near
the village of Koto-ri (now in North Korea). It's
likely Brockway supplied some new vehicles to the US Military during
the Korean conflict, but their civilian production remained unaffected
new models being introduced between 1950 and 1952, mainly in the 100
and 200 series, which were all equipped with Continental
gasoline engines, Fuller transmissions and Timken axles.
The end of the Korean conflict
brought a year-long recession during which time Brockway sales and the
firm's share of the domestic market
diminished to where it controlled a meager 0.2% of total US truck sales
(including light trucks). Tragedy also struck during the year
when the firm's founder, George
A. Brockway died on August 17, 1953 at the age of 90. Especially sad
was the fact that the rest of his family (his wife Mary and two sons;
Russell and William N. Brockway ) had predeceased him, save for a
single grandson, (Wm. N. Brockway III who was born to Charlotte and Wm.
N. Brockway II in 1920) the August 19, 1953 issue of the Syracuse
“George A. Brockway Funeral Is Today
“CORTLAND — Funeral services for George A.
industrialist and philanthropist, who died Monday night at his late
home, 19 W.
Court st., will be at 2 P. M. today at the late home. The Rev. Dr.
Lankier, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, will officiate. Burial
will be in
Glenwood Cemetery, Homer.
“Mr. Brockway, known as a leading
industrialist, and founder
and former president of Brockway Motor Company, Inc., Cortland, and was
widely known for his contributions to civic, educational and charitable
“He was born March 26, 1863, at Homer, son
of William N. and
Edith Hine Brockway. He became an associate of his father In the 1860's
manufacture of carriages at Homer, known as the W.N. Brockway Carriage
“When his father died In October, 1889,
George A. Brockway
carried on as business manager. The business expanded rapidly and soon
one of the largest privately owned concerns for the manufacture of
“In 1912 Mr. Brockway organized the
of Cortland. He retired in 1928 but continued to serve as chairman of
board. During the war years the Brockway company supplied its full
capacity of units
for the armed services.
“During World War II they manufactured
quantities of the
famous Class "B" military trucks and Brockway developed a heavy duty
chassis for pontoon bridge building equipment, heavy cranes and
“Mr. Brockway was a former president of
Homer National Bank
and president of Cortland Water Board. He was also president of the
trustees of Cortland County Home for Aged Women; vice-president and
First National Bank of Cortland and vice-president and director of
National Bank; one of the founders of the Cortland County Hospital and
vice-president for many years. He also organized the Brockway
income from which he used to help persons of moderate means in the town
“Mr. Brockway was cited in 1944 in Who's
of America for
giving libraries to the University of Miami and to the village of Miami
Fla.; an infirmary to the Cortland County Home for Aged Women; a
the American Legion of Homer and funds for a Student Union Hall to New
State University Teachers College at Cortland.
“In 1929 he purchased 118 acres on West
established the Willowbrook Ayrshire Farm, devoted to breeding of
“Married to the late Miss Leffingwell
May 15, 1889,
the couple had two sons, G. Russell Brockway, who died In 1937, and
Brockway, who died in 1945.
“Mr. Brockway was a member of the
Cortlandville Lodge F. and
A. M., Cortland Country Club, Century Club of Syracuse and the
Club of Miami, Fla.
“Since 1899 Mr. Brockway spent his winters
at his Miami
Beach home and his summers at 19 W. Court st., Cortland.”
In his eulogy the Rev. Dr. Ralph
Conover Lankier stated that Brockway, “produced
the good in life as well as the goods of life.”
In January of 1954 George S. Piroumoff
retired for health
reasons and Harry O. King, the firm's principal shareholder, was
elected president of the Brockway Motor Co.,
Born in Chicago, Illinois on March 6, 1890, Harry
Orland King was a corporate turnaround specialist and financier, who
his career in the plumbing supply business and for a short period of
time served as treasurer of the Maxfer Truck & Transfer Co. and
Phoenix Trucks Makers, two short-lived Chicago truck manufacturers. In
the late 1920s he went to work for the Bassick Co., a Bridgeport,
Connecticut-based manufacturer of brass and iron casters and hardware,
eventually becoming vice president and general manager. He also served
as president of the Magazine Repeating Razor Co., the manufacturers of
the Schick razor. His experience in the ferrous metals industry earned
him a position as Deputy Commissioner of the National Recovery
Administration in Charge of Ferrous Metals during the Roosevelt
administration. By the late 1930s King had become quite wealthy and
purchased a controlling interest in the Manhattan-based Munson
Line Inc. (formerly Munson Steamship Lines) from its founder Carlos P.
Munson in 1939. As Munson president,
he and its sympathetic board of directors purchased a controlling
interest (54% as of Dec. 31, 1941) in Brockway using
$1,665,519.77 of the Munson Line's liquid assets. He later
married Arizona's US Congresswoman, Isabella Greenway (2nd marriage for
both of them), and during the Second World War
headed the Copper Division of the War Production Board, which
coincidentally provided Brockway with a number of lucrative military
During Piroumoff's tenure as Brockway
president, King trusted him to manage the company, which remained
profitable into 1954 when Piroumoff retired, after
which King assumed Brockway's top position. During Piroumoff's last few
years at the helm Brockway's annual sales had
tumbled to pre-war levels and King,
who had no interest in running the firm other than to salvage his
looking for a third party to either purchase the firm outright or
buy out Munson Line's controlling interest.
That fall King located an
party, the H & B American Machine
Co., a large manufacturer of machine tools for the textile industry
with plants located in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Chicago, Ill.; Indianapolis,
Los Angeles, Calif. On November 4, 1954, H & B made a $5.5 million
lease - purchase agreement with
Brockway, the November 4, 1954 issue of the Canandaigua Daily Messenger
“Brockway Motor Co. Sold To H & B
“New York (AP) – The H & B Machine
machines and tools, has purchased the Brockway Motor Co. Inc., which
from New York City and Cortland.
“H & B announced yesterday that the
incorporates a five-year lease by the company of Brockway’s Cortland
a purchase option subject to agreement of Brockway’s stockholders Nov.
Cortland. H & B has plants in Chicago, Indianapolis, Brooklyn and
“Jacob Saliba, executive vice president of
become president and general manager of the Brockway Motor Co. division
of H & B. Harry O. King is now president of the Brockway firm,
“The announcement said: ‘No change in the
of Brockway is contemplated, and the H & B officers express the
hope that the entire organization of Brockway Motor Co. will remain
& B had second thoughts and withdrew
their purchase offer in December and King resumed his search for
another buyer. In August of 1956 both firms announced they were suing
each other, with Brockway charging 'breach of contract' and H & B
alleging 'general damages.'
the early 1950s the Sanitation
Department of the City of New York employed a large number of Brockway
trucks equipped with Roto-Pac self-packing sanitation bodies
constructed by Corona, Long Island's City Tank Corp. In 1954 the City
of Philadelphia Department of Street sand Sanitation ordered a similar
fleet of Brockways to be used in conjunction with 184 Roto-Pac refuse
collection bodies they had purchased, many of which served double-duty
as snow plows during the winter. A City Tank display ad in the June
1954 issue of the American City providing details:
“Philadelpia Orders 184 Roto-Pac Units
“City Estimates 600,000 lbs. More Refuse
Collection Per Day!
City of Philadelphia has just ordered 184 Roto-Pak refuse Collection
Units. This order was based on a 2-year comparison between
escaltor-type compaction and rear-door compation. On the basis of daily
test runs during the past 2 years, the officials of the City of
Philadelphia estiamate that the escalaor-compactor type of refuse
collection unit will carry 600,000 pounds more refuse per day than
rear-door compaction vehicles.”
had begun working on their first
all-steel truck cab in 1953, hoping to replace the composite sheet
wood-framed cabs they had been using since the mid-teens, and by 1955
all new Brockways were fitted with all-steel units with 3-piece
windshields, which were advertised as the 'All-Steel, Safety-View
That year also marked the debut of the firm's first Diesel engine,
which was supplied by Continental, their favored engine supplier at the
time. Brockway employees also elected to join the United Automobile
Workers union, the January 29, 1955 issue of the Syracuse Herald
“Workers Chose U.A.W. in Cortland
“By a vote of 104 to 48, production and
maintenance workers of Brockway Motor Company. Cortland, chose the
United Auto Workers C.I.O. as the collective bargaining agent
yesterday in an election sponsored by the Nationl Labor Relations Board.
“Francis X. O'Melia, area director of the
auto workers, announced that meetings would begin at once to negotiated
for collective bargaining contracts as soon as certification is made
with the N.L.R.B. in Washington.
“O'Melia further states that this will
up a new organizsation field for the U.A. W.-C.I.O. in the
southern tier section.”
During the next few months Brockway entered
into talks with the White Motor Company of Cleveland, Ohio, who had
recently purchased Sterling (in 1951) and AutoCar (in 1953) but
discussions broke off that July. Brockway's engine supplier,
Continental Motors Corp., was the next firm to express an interest, but
they too got cold feet and backed out of the discussion in August.
Mack Truck, which had recently been
taken over by the Northeast Capital Corporation, a holding company
headed by Christian A. Johnson, was the next firm to express an
interest in Brockway, the August 9, 1956 issue of the New York Times
“Mack To Buy Brockway Motor, Merging 2
Oldest Truck Makers
“Mack Trucks, Inc. and the Brockway Motor
Company, two of the nation's oldest heavy-duty truck manufacturers, are
planning to unite. P.O. Peterson, president of Mack Truck, and H.O.
King, president of Brockway, announced that an agreement has been
signed whereby Mack will acquire the Brockway business.
“Subject to approval of Brockway
stockholders at a meeting this fall, the consolidation woulde make it
the largest independent heavy duty truck manufacturer in the country.
“While the terms have not been complete,
transaction is understood to involve a cash purchase, the amout of
which was not given.
“News of the acquisition, issued for
publication today, was reflected in the price of Brockway Motor's stock
which sold at 35 bid, 37 asked in the over-the-counter market
yesterday. On Tuesday the stock was traded at 33 1/2 bid, 35 1/2 asked.
Mack Truck on the other hand was off 1/8 point, closing at 37 on the
New York Stock Exchange.
“The agreement calls for outright purchase
of Brockway's inventory. In addition, the Brockway plant and
manufacturing facilities at Cortland, N.Y., together with its owned
branches, will be rented by Mack with a two-year lease option to
purchase. Leases on rented branches will be assumed by Mack.
“The announcement enphasized that Mack
maintain the Brockway organization in its present form, operating it as
a division of Mack Trucks, which will continue to manufacture and sell
Brockway trucks and products.
“Mack Trucks, whose assets on last Dec. 31
totaled $194,988,105 reported its 1955 net income at $7,815,783 on
sales of $194,317,035. Its sales for the first half of this year
reached a record $126,609,541, a gain of 51 per cent over a year ago,
while earnings were at a new high of $5,754,031 or $3.05 a share.
“Brockway, which was first formed in 1875
a carriage maked, had assets aggregating $12,823,276 last Dec. 31. It
earned $524,605 in 1955 on sales of $14,055,387, and 1956 volume is
estimated to be running 15 per cent ahead of last year.”
Apparently Harry O. King was not 100%
certain that the Mack deal would proceed and three weeks later, the
August 29, 1956
edition of the Syracuse
reported that Brockway was still in negotiations with White Motor
“Brockway and White Motor Co. have entered
into a tentative
contract under which Brockway holdings would become part of the White
organization. The contract has been approved by the officers of the
companies, but still is subject to the vote of stockholders.”
The following month (September, 1956) Mack
purchased the C.D.
Beck Co. of
Sidney, Ohio, a manufacturer of
custom-built inter-city buses that is covered in great detail in
this encyclopedia, the 'Industry in Review' column of the October, 1956
issue of Bus Transportation reporting:
Intercity Bus Making Field
“A New Bus
Manufacturing Giant was created last month with the announcement that
Mack Trucks, Inc., has purchased the intercity bus manufacturing firm
of C. D. Beck & Co. Long restricting its bus manufacturing to local
transit-type buses, Mack embarked on this venture, said President P. O.
Peterson, to be able to “Compete for additional bus travel business”
sure to come with the advent of the superhighway and toll roads.
have been Mack's mainstay ever since it first started building buses .
. . This new merger removes another manufacturer from the bus making
scene, but in the long pull the purchase will benefit…
“No sooner was
news of the purchase announced than Greyhound, one of the largest
customers for intercity buses, let it be known at the convention of the
National Association of Motor Bus Operators that it had ordered 34 new
buses from Mack. Beck, one of the smaller manufacturing firms which
pioneered many of the innovations that have since become standard, will
be operated as a division of Mack.
that Mack will begin producing intercity buses immediately through the
facilities of the Beck plant at Sidney, Ohio. However the 34 vehicles
ordered by Greyhound will not be intercity vehicles, but will be Mack
C-59 models, transit-type buses costing $23,019 each.
“These new buses
will go to Pacific Greyhound, which has extensive commuter operations
in the San Francisco-Oakland, Calif., area, and to Richmond Greyhound
Lines. Pacific Greyhound will receive 30 buses. Richmond, four.
Greyhound has long been a customer of General Motors ... in fact, was
named a co-conspirator in the government's anti-trust suit against GM.
This new order, according to Greyhound boss Arthur S. Genet, “would, in
the past, have gone to General Motors.”
Greyhound is currently preparing a "multi-million dollar suit against
GM for alleged failures in Scenicruiser buses." In addition to the bus
manufacturing facilities of the Beck company, Mack also acquired the
C.D. Beck Realty Co., and also a large plot of land adjacent to the
Beck Plant. The latter purchase, said Peterson, will permit future
expansion of facilities.
“At the helm of
the new division will be H. R. Fouss as manager. He is presently
general manager of the Beck firm. C. D. Beck & Co. was organized in
1931 and has specialized in over-the- road buses, just the reverse of
the Mack company. It pioneered the modern-day deck-and-a-half bus, a
vehicle which became better known to the general public through
Greyhound’s Scenicruiser, manufactured by General Motors. Only last
year Beck unveiled its semi deck-and-a-half bus, lighter in weight, a
little less deluxe and a less costly version of the Scenicruiser.”
The September 1956 issue of Canadian
Transportation reiterated the details of the pending Mack-Brockway
“Mack Trucks Set To
Acquire Brockway Trucking Business
“P. O. Peterson, President of Mack Trucks,
Inc., and H.O. King, President of Brockway Motor Company, Inc.,
8 that an agreement has been signed whereby Mack Trucks, Inc., will
the Brockway truck business.
“Mack will take over all of Brockway's
manufacturing, sales and service facilities under terms of a special
agreement, and will carry on the business as a separate division of
Mack Trucks, Inc.
“The agreement calls for outright purchase
by Mack of Brockway’s inventory. In addition, the Brockway plant and
facilities at Cortland, N.Y., together with the Brockway-owned
branches, will be rented by Mack with an option to purchase. Leases on
rented branches will be assumed by Mack.”
On September 15, 1956 the New York
Times announced that the deal between Brockway and Mack had been
approved at a meeting of Brockway stockholders and the transfer would
commence on October 1st,1956:
“Brockway Deal Approved
“A special meeting of Brockway Motor
Company, Inc., stockholders at Cortland, N.Y. has approved transfer of
the company's truck manufacturing business to Mack Trucks, Inc. The
transfer is expected to take place Oct. 1.”
The agreement between Mack and Brockway, as
filed with the New York Stock Exchange, follows:
“On August 7, 1956, the Company
agreement with Brockway Motor Company, Inc. (herein called
subject to the approval of Brockway's stockholders, to purchase on
1956, certain of Brockway’s assets, principally consisting of service
production parts inventories, branch sales and service station
including its trade-name. Brockway manufactures trucks in the
as Groups 5, 6 and 7 in relatively small volume, assembling them from
components purchased from others. Its total sales for 1955 were about
“The purchase price is to be based in part
on the book value
of certain assets purchased in part on the lower of cost or market of
inventories as adjusted. It is estimated that the aggregate purchase
be between $2,000,000 and $3,000,000, depending on the value of
the date of acquisition. Payment of the entire purchase price will be
of the Company's general funds. Under the agreement, Mack will
lease Brockway's plant
and plant equipment at Cortland, N. Y., and its eleven owned branches
period of four years, with mutual cancellation privileges after two
the case of the plant and the plant equipment and after one year as to
branches. The annual rentals will be $100,000 for the plant, $50,000
plant equipment and $150,000 for the branches. Mack also has options to
purchase, at any time during the term of the leases, the plant for
approximately $600,000; the plant equipment for approximately $375,000,
rentals thereon theretofore paid by Mack; and any or all of the
a price based on the number of branches purchased and the purchased
to be about $1,600,000 if all of the branches were purchased
separately). Mack has
also agreed to assume such of Brockway’s eighteen branch leases as the
is able to assign; the annual rentals of all 18 branches aggregate
$125,000. A copy of the agreement is filed as an Exhibit to the
Per the preceding agreement Brockway became
an autonomous division of Mack Trucks, Inc.
on October 1, 1956. Mack was the nation's oldest continuous
of motor trucks,
having built their first motor vehicle, a sight-seeing bus, in
1900. Like Brockway, Mack started out as a New York State
carriage and wagon manufacturer, Fallesen & Berry, whose Brooklyn
plant was taken over by Augustus F., John M. and William C. Mack in
1893. In 1905 production moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania where the
firm manufactured trucks, buses, fire apparatus and trolley cars. In
1911 they merged their operations with that of
the Saurer and Hewitt Motor Truck companies, reorganizing as the
International Motor Truck Co.
When the United States entered World War I
1917, Mack (and Brockway) became a full-time builders of Class B
Liberty trucks for the U.S.
military and in 1922 was renamed Mack Trucks Inc. For the next three
decades Mack, White and International dominated the heavy truck
industry in the United States, and in the early 1950s Mack and
White started buying up their smaller competitors, which resulted in
Mack's acquisition of Brockway which during the late 1950s strengthened
their postion in the market, which they went on to dominate.
two firm's manufacturing techniques were oceans apart, Mack utilized a
modern assembly line while Brockway built their trucks to order,
assembled where they
stood, with the parts being transported to the truck - the same method
Brockway had used since they were founded in 1912.
With Harry O. King gone, Mack vice-president
James E. (Jack) Cambria
became Brockway's vice-president and general manager. Mack's earnings
for fiscal 1956 rose 55% with unit sales rising a record 31%. Also gone
were the unpopular Continental Diesel engines, which were replaced by
reliable Cummins power. Mack made the wise decision of keeping
Brockway's parts procurement an entirely separate operation and during
the next 20 years, no major Mack components, eg: engines,
transmissions, axles, would be fitted to any Brockway motor truck,
although the cabs and basic design of the firm's 1963 COE came from
A large part of Mack's marketing and
national prominence was related to the firm's 'Bulldog' mascot, which
had been introduced back in 1932. In 1957 Brockway set about getting
their own mascot, which was suggested by the son of Brockway employee
Bill Duncan. While watching the Sgt. Preston of the Yukon television
program, young Jim Duncan suggested that the show's canine co-star, an
Alaskan Malamute named 'Snow King' might make a suitable mascot.
Brockway management agreed, and a stylized 'Huskie' became the
firm's very first hood ornament, first appearing on a 1958 Brockway
Model N-260TL. Although they are visually very similar, the
Alaskan Malamute and the Siberian Husky are two distinct breeds (the
Malamute is considerably larger), although it's hard to argue that
'Husky' is far better-known and easier to pronounce, as to its
incorrect spelling 'Huskie' it's anybody's guess.
One month after their contract expired
(October 18, 1958),
the United Auto Workers Union threatened to strike at five Mack Plants
(including Brockway), the November 21, 1958 United Press Wire reporting:
“Mack Truck Strike Threat for Nov. 28
“New York - (UPI) - The United Auto
Workers Unio has served notice that it will strike at midnight next
Friday, Nov. 28, unless a settlement is reach with Mack Trucks Inc.
“UAW negotiators for 6,500 workers at Mack
Truck plants in five cities have scheduled another meeting for Monday
in their contract negotiations. A joint union-company statement
Thursday said progress has been made but the union said it would strike
if agreement was not reached by deadline time.
“Mack Truck plants affected are in
Plainfield and New Brunswick, N.J.; Sidney, Ohio; Cortland, N.Y.
and Allentown, Pa.”
A settlement was reached after an all-night
bargaining session on Sunday, Nov. 31 and on Monday morning, December
1, 1958 both parties announced that the walkout had been averted.
By that time Brockway advertising centered
around their 'BBC' or
'bumper to back of cab' dimensions, which they claimed were the
shortest in the industry. The Huskie Model 258 advertised it
was 'only 87" from bumper to back of cab'.
a $12 million dollar payment to Brockway stockholders, Mack completed
its takeover of Brockway in late
On May 15 of that year James E. (Jack) Cambria announced the
introduction of Brockway's all new line of
"Huskie" motor trucks, the firm's first all-new model since 1935.
Easily identified by their squared-off 'Step-Aside' FRP (Fibreglas-reinforced-plastic) front fenders
mascot , the same basic design would survive into the late 1970s.
During the year Brockway received an $800,000 contract to supply the US
Air Force with 94 of the new 'Huskies'.
In the May 5, 1960 issue of The New York
Gay Talese wrote about a year-long trip four volunteer firefighters had
recently made from Argentina to Manhattan in a 1925 Brockway Firetruck:
“4 Argentines Here In Fire Truck
“Year's Trip in 1925 Hook-and-Ladder to
End Upstate by Gay Talese
“Fifteen months ago in Argentina, four
footloose firemen with a yen for adventure hopped into their 1925
hook-and-ladder truck, pointed it northward and began to putter toward
New York at a thirty-mile-an-hour clip.
“Today, 17,000 miles and three blowouts
laterm thye will leave for Cortland, N.Y., the last leg of a journey on
which they have spent all their money, irritated their wives and been
discharged as firemen.
“Originally the four firemen had told
wives that the goodwill tour of United States fire departments would
last four or five months. On the tour the ARgentines also planned to
trade their Brockway truck for a newer model at the Brockway truck
plant, which they believed to be in New York City.
“But things happened en route. PEdro
Centrone broke a rib saving a fallen child in Guatemala, he said.
Leonardo Antico, the only fireman with a driver's license, said he had
broken his finger fixing the motor. And then there was the fire in Los
“'We saw this house on fire,' Senor
recalled yesterday. 'And people started yelling, 'Ah bomberos,
bomberos' - firemen, firemen! We put the fire out and everybody was
happy. But when they saw the sign on our truck they asked, 'How come
the firemen from Argentine get here before the firemen from Chile?'
“It was while they were speeding through
Louisiana at fifteen miles an hour (2 miles an hour uphill) that they
exhausted the $650 each had brought along. So they accepted fifts, oil
and gas, from fire companies along the way, and they hunted and fished
“They arrived, unshaven and battered in
Manhattan last Thursday. They began to look for Brockway. But they were
told that Brockway was still farther, in Cortland.
“Brockway officials, however, had learned
about the trip and they sent a representative, George Snyder, into
“'I've been instructed to escort them to
Cortland and help them financially,' Mr. Snyder said. 'The trip down
from Cortland took me five hours in my car. But the trip back with this
fire truck will take us two days.'
“'In Cortland they plan a party for the
firemen, and I think they'll give them a newer fire truck for this one,
which is desirable as an antique.'
“"The cops may stop us on the way up to
Cortland though. Have you noticed that these guys drove all the way up
here with an Argentine license plate that expired in 1953?'
“The Argentines plan to return to their
town of Boca, a suburb of Buenos Aires, this week. The new fire truck
will probably be shipped. They hope to borrow money to fly.”
United Press Newsire noted that the fireman had completed their
17-month, 17,000 mile trip from Buenos Aires to Cortland on May 7, 1960:
“17,000-Mile Journey Ends For Firemen
“Cortland, N.Y., May 7 - (UPI) - Four
volunteer firemen from Argentine arrived here today at the end of a
17,000 mile journey to trade in their 1925 fire engine on a new model.
“The men, a butcher, locksmith, building
engineer and a chauffeur, left Buenos Aires Jan. 1, 1959 for the
Brockway Motor Company here, where the fire truck was originally
purchased. A three-day celebration including a parade and a fishing
trip was planned, before the men return to South America.
“Albert Bonillo, Pedro Centrone, Felix
Dimango and Leonardo Antico visited 11 countries, 10 states and the
District of Columbia during the good will tour marking their company,
the first volunteer fire company in Argentina.”
marked Brockway's 50th anniversary and the firm's 'Huskie' mascot was
plated gold to commemorate the occasion. The Cortland firm also
announced a large $1 million dollar contract to produce prime movers
for the US Air Force and Navy.
Mack had kept a
hands-off approach in regards to the engineering of Brockway trucks
until 1963 when the Cortland subsidiary released a COE
(cab-over-engine) model, which was based upon the Mack 400-series Model
F COE. Brockway's COE was available as a 50" BBC 4- or 6-wheeler; a 72"
BBC 4- or 6-wheeler with a 22" bunk; or an 80" BBC 4-or -6
wheeler with a 30" bunk. The Mack-based sleeper cabs included
custom, deep-spring mattresses with interior lighting and ventilation
controls within easy reach:
“The Brockway Model 61A ‘Cab-Napper’:
“From bumper-to-back of cab, the Brockway
‘Cab-Napper’, even with the same spacious bunk dimensions, is 6 inches shorter than
conventional tractors. The unique engine mount and cab-forward design provides the
answer to heavy-duty hauling that requires maximum trailer length with a sleep
“The Brockway Model 61J ‘Siesta-Cab’:
“Built to the traditional dimensions of
the heavy-duty motor tractor, this new sleeper cab combines top driver comfort with highest
efficiency and economy. It’s the first choice in a sleeper cab where
bumper-to-back of cab dimensions are not a critical factor in operation.
“Insulated Engine Compartment:
“To maintain the same standards of easy
accessibility and maintenance, Brockway combines the Step-Aside fenders
with this fully insulated engine compartment in the cab-forward model.
It opens up or dismounts to make the rear portions of the engine as easily
accessible as the forward section.”
Under Mack's control Brockway continued
cater to their traditional customers, which were clustered in New York
State, Pennsylvania and the Atlantic Seaboard. Despite occasional ads
in the industry trades, Brockway sales continued to decline in the
early Sixties, tumbling from a high of 1,206 units in 1963 to 1,047 in
Brockway dropped the decades-old 100
series of light trucks
in 1965, replacing it with a new line of Huskies, the Model 300 series,
whose advertising touted its short 'BBC' (bumper to back of cab)
dimensions. Introduced during 1965, the popular series offered
customers a choice of a short- (90" BBC) or long- (117" BBC) hood cab
which were designed to accomodate a wide variety of powerplants, which
were easily accessible via Brockway's distinctive 'swingout' front
fenders. The 300 series also featured the firm's all-new FRP
grill surround, a distinguishing feature that helped identify a
Brockway from quite a long discatne away.
Sales of the new 'Uni-Matched' Series
particularly the Model 358 and 359 helped boost Brockway's 1966 sales
by 25%, which outperformed it's parent company's, which were up only
15% over the previous year. The 359 offered a greater choice of
powerplants, such as the Detroit Diesel 12V71 12-cylinder or Cummins
903 8-cylinder, as its cab was mounted 8" higher than the 358's.
Plagued by a chronic shortage of working
capital, Mack's directors began entertaining merger prospects in 1967.
The first prospect, their long-time rival, White (now known as White
Consolidated Industries), was deemed too similar to Mack, and rejected
in March of 1967. The second suitor, the Los Angeles-based Signal Oil
and Gas Company, the west coast's largest independent petroleum
producer, was deemed more suitable and on August 18, 1967, Mack became
a Signal subsidiary via an $82 million exchange of stock.
the agreement, Mack retained complete
autonomy, which continued into 1983 when the Signal Companies
(reorganized in 1978) spun off Mack, doubling their initial investment.
The structural organization of Mack remained the same with Zenon C.R.
as president of Mack although James E. (Jack) Cambria was elevated to
executive vice-president of Mack, his postion as general manager of
Brockway going to another vice-president, Robert J. (Bob) Matthews.
At that fall's American Trucking
Convention, which was held in Chicago, Illionis from October 15-18,
1967, Brockway introduced two additional 300-series models, the Model
(set-forward front axle)
and the Model 361
(set-back font axle), which were available with a choice of single or
tandem rear axles and a 'BBC' measurements of 90" or 117".
1968 marked the
introduction of Huskidrive, a powertrain which combined a 248 h.p.
6-cylinder Cummins NHCT-CT (Custom Torque) Diesel with a 5-speed
transmission and 2-speed
(5.05/3.70) rear axle, the later being controlled by
a below-the-dash-mounted power/cruise switch. A Huskidrive
equipped Brockway was readily identified by the dual Huskie mascots
setting atop the hood.
'Overdrive', the most popular trucking
magazine of its day, christened Brockway as "The Most Rugged Truck in
World!' in its May 1968 issue, and during the next decade would feature
numerous Brockways inside and on the cover.
Diesel engines were a factory option for 1970, a year in which Brockway
unit sales increased 22% over the previous fiscal year (1969) and an
ambitous factory expansion program ( P.E.P. -
Program) debuted, the January 24, 1970 issue of the Syracuse
announcing the dedication of the project's first facility:
“Brockway Dedicates New Cortland
“Cortland - Robert J. Matthews, vice
president of Mack Trucks Inc. and general manager of Brockway Motor
Trucks, Friday formally
dedicated the company's new office and factory facilities on Central
“Construction was begun early in 1969
first step in a major Brockway-Cortland expansion program. Matthews was
joined by Zenon
C.R. Hansen, president and chairman of the board of Mack Trucks Inc.,
Cortland Mayor Morris A. Noss, both of whom were instrumental in
Brockway to remain in Cortland during the recent period when the
here was in question.
“Following a toast to the future
the state's only major heavy-duty truck manufacturer, Matthews unveiled
a mural in the
reception room of the new office. The mural depicts the origin and
Brockway Motor Trucks with its founder, George A. Brockway, as the
figure in a montage of past and present Brockway products and
“Brockway and his associates built the
Brockway truck at the site of the new building in 1912.
“A bronze plaque in the outer lobby of
new building was unveiled, by William A. Duncan, Brockway public
relations and advertising
manager, noting that the new structure is on the site of the factory
Brockway in 1911 from the E. Ellis Omnibus and Cab Co. The original
erected in 1850 by the Omnibus firm. It was demolished in 1963.
“Brockway became an autonomous
Mack Trucks Inc. in 1956.
“Donald B. Cameron, assistant to the
manager, said the new facilities contain a total of 40,000 square feet
Purchasing, planning plant engineering, personnel and traffic
departments have been
shifted to the new office building, which contains a reception area and
interviewing offices. F.M. Ambler, director of operations, also will
office in the new building.
“The new factory area will be devoted
receiving materials and components and is expected to facilitate
production with more
efficient feeding of materials to the assembly lines through improved
“Cameron noted that the new factory
of the structure contains indoor loading docks and truck wells as well
as a five-ton
“At the dedication, Matthews said, ‘We
lot to many people in Cortland for encouraging us to remain here and we
certainly owe a
lot to Zenon C.R. Hansen who has had the best interests of Brockway at
during the time he has headed our parent company.’
“In addition to Hansen and Noss, other
dignitaries attending the dedication were L. A. De Polis, senior
executive vice president of
Mack Trucks; John McNeil, past president of the Cortland County Chamber
Commerce; Robert Biviano, newly installed chamber president; Ralph
executive secretary of the chamber; Vern Niederhofer, president of the
Co.; Edward Suben, chairman of the City of Cortland Planning
John Larkin, president of the Common Council, and Floyd Wood, oldest
Brockway employee, who joined the organization in 1913. The dedication
followed by a luncheon at Shamrock Inn.
“The new plant was thrown open to all
Brockway employees and their families and guests Friday evening with a
full program of
entertainment and a catered meal. Two Country and Western shows were
inspection tours were conducted throughout the plant.”
By late 1971, the second building in the
program was completed, with construction of the third well underway.
1971 also saw the introduction of the Model 527 Huskiteer, a
cab-forward truck designed for heavy-duty use in confined surroundings.
In 1971 Brockway truck cabs were custom
reduction as well as impact protection. They would also develop an air
system in which the air brake was separate from other accessory uses.
It had a
constant 60 psi, despite failure of any other accessory.
Further cementing its popularity with
Brockway truck users, Overdrive magazine published a feature article on
Brockway in its May, 1971 issue, which was later reprinted as a sales
brochure entitled 'Brockway—The Most Rugged Truck In The World!'
The article also pictured one of a small run of custom-painted trucks
built for Brockway's Puerto Rican distributor in 1970 which were fitted
with gold-plated radiator shells identifying them as 'Borinquen
and '72 were banner years for Brockway, with over 2,000 trucks per
annum, the highest number since the postwar boom of 1946-1949.
Unfortunately the 'Energy Crisis' of 1973 and the ensuing depression of
1974 hit the truck manufacturing industry hard.
High interest rates and high operating
costs, prompted fleet buyers to put new purchases on hold, and by
mid-1974 new orders had come to a crawl. Timing couldn't have been
worse for the introduction of Brockway's new 700-series which included
an enlarged radiator, and an all-new
driver's cab supplied by Toledo, Ohio's Sheller-Globe Corp.
Many 700-series trucks were fitted with a forward-tilting FRP
hood which was made available in two different lengths to accomodate
Unfortunately new models did not
result in increased sales and the Brockway plant experienced a number
of short-term layoffs during late 1974 and early 1975. However an
accumulated backlog of 1,500 orders brought 68% of laid-off workers
work in April of 1975. In July of that year Brockway's overseas
sales department landed a
575-piece $22 million contract, increasing the percentage of employees
called back to 85%, the July 19, 1975
issue of the Syracuse Herald Journal reporting the good news:
“Cortland firm to sell 575 Trucks to
“CORTLAND - Robert J. Matthews,
manager of Brockway
Motor Trucks here, announced Friday that successful negotiations were
last week for $22.6 million in truck sales to Iran over the next four
“The new orders call for approximately
to be built and shipped before Nov. 1, 1975. The deal was consummated
by Roy J.
Sherry, Brockway vice president of marketing and assistant general
and Sherry returned from overseas last week with final confirmation for
and shipping the initial orders.
“The Cortland truck manufacturing
has completed the first phase of the export commitment already and the
first shipment of
100 units is on a ship headed for its destination. Another 75 units
completed and on the water before Aug. 1.
“The 175-unit order is made up of 124
trucks and 51 tractors. The configuration and specifications for the
balance of the
575 truck order for Iran is being completed. Additional orders are
the new Brockway distributor in Iran monthly, as the company
completes and ships scheduled orders.
“A growing backlog of domestic orders
resulted in the April 21
recall of 68 per cent of employees laid off in February. With the new
orders, 85 per cent of the peak Brockway work force is now on the job,
Matthews indicated that all workers will be recalled as soon as raw
are received and production schedules permit.
“While Brockway has an ample supply of
on hand, certain special components for foreign orders had to be
purchased and received
at the factory before full production on the new orders could commence.
At the start-up
of business last Monday, Brockway increased its production by 120 per
five trucks a day to 11.
“In crediting Sherry with being
in securing the
export business, Matthews said, ‘Roy Sherry has worked tirelessly in a
land amid fierce competition to bring all this to a successful
Sherry spent many weeks in Iran during
period and set up Iran-Brockway, the new distributorship that was
responsible for the present 575-vehicle order. Sherry said, ‘When we
influx of export business to the gradual upturn of domestic orders,
will be busier than it has ever been in the modern truck-building era
right after World War II.’
“‘During the next few years, Brockway
to increase production
capacity to 25 trucks a day, a figure never attained before in the
of the company,’ he said. ‘Because plans in the past few years have
been made to
triple our production, we are now geared and ready to handle a full
domestic orders as well as the new export business,’ he said.
“It now appears exports will account
large percent of Brockway
production this year. Despite the apparent slump in domestic heavy-duty
sales, Brockway production reportedly will compare favorably with that
of the early
1970s when the company was in one of its greatest growth periods.
“Emphasizing that all the new foreign
business obtained is commercial
and not military, Sherry also announced that, in addition to
distributors have been acquired in Europe, Africa and South America.
“Both Matthews and Sherry pointed out
network of new distributors, both home and abroad, is being translated
business. At present, Brockway finds itself in an advantageous
position. In the
past, the company's distribution was concentrated to a great extent in
the eastern half of the United States, leaving
a large portion of this country open for growth as well as the overseas
“During the present economic slump,
is able to maintain
its production and bolster its sales through an accelerated program of
expansion both home and abroad.”
The Sept./Oct. 1975 issue of the
Brockcaster, Brockway's in-house newsletter,
that September 1975 was the largest single month in the company's
terms of both dollar volume and number of trucks delivered.
By that time Brockway's factory branches numbered only nine, although
the number of independent distributors had gradually increased during
the previous decade and now numbered 91.
Mack's continuing shortage of working
capital meant there was very little to be shared with Brockway. Most
the firm was the implementation of USDOT (United States Department of
Transportation) FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard) No.
which mandated that all
trucks manufactured after March 1, 1975 must include anti-lock
air-brake systems that met minimum performance, equipment and
dynamometer test requirements to ensure safe braking performance
normal and emergency conditions.
FMVSS-121 created havoc in the industry
because of the lack of technology available
to implement compliance. Customers were unwilling to pay for complex,
expensive systems and put off their purchase of new trucks until after
either the systems were improved, prices came down, or the anti-lock
requirement was repealed.
In March of 1976 Brockway inferred that
shutdown was due to FMVSS No. 121, stating they had been forced to
inventories, and were shutting the plant down to allow new
up. To get around the statute, Brockway introduced a 'glider kit' which
included only a
hood, front fenders, radiator, and front axle - FMVSS No. 121 only
applied to complete motor trucks.
That July, Brockway won a substantial
from the New York State Department of Transportation for a fleet of
plow trucks, based on the Model 776, a new model introduced to
commemorate the country's Bi-Centennial.
As expected the implementation of
FMVSS No. 121 caused sales of heavy trucks to drop off exponentially
and the manufacturers took
the USDOT to court. The industry group won the case and the anti-lock
of FMVSS-121 were repealed in 1978, however it was too late for
During the summer of 1976 Mack
and the Cortland UAW local (No.68) entered into labor talks as the
union's contract was slated to expire at the end of the year. Local
68's president, Geno
Patriarco, lost his re-election bid and talks between the UAW and Mack
Brockway's U.A.W. #68 and Mack management after Geno Patriarco wasn't
wildcat strike erupted after lunch on a Monday at the Cortland plant
1977, the January 24, 1977 issue of the Syracuse
“Union Gives Resounding No
“Cortland – Meeting at St. Anthony’s
afternoon, members of United Auto Workers Local 68 voted 367-8 by
to reject an offer by Brockway Motor Trucks for extension of the
contract, which expired in October. The local has about 380 members.
“Following the vote, local president
‘We will go back to work Monday. We will be going into continued
with management, probably the first of the week.’
“About 365 Brockway Union employees
out of work at
noon Thursday and picketed the plant Thursday afternoon and Friday.
“Now owned by Mack Trucks Inc.,
Motor Truck Co., is
for sale, according to announcement last month by company Vice
“The 80-year-old company, formed by
Brockway, in the
truck industry of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s was one of the big three,
also included Mack and White trucks.”
Union members went back to work, they returned to the picket lines on
February 8, 1977, and on March 30, 1977 Mack/Brockway management
announced the plant would be shut down for good within 10 days, the
same day's issue of the New York Times reporting:
“Brockway To Close Plant Producing
“Brockway Motor Trucks of Cortland,
where some 370 members of the United Auto Workers union have been on
strike since Feb. 8, announced that the plant would case operations
within 10 days. The plant, a division of Mack Trucks Inc., employs 600
persons in the production of heavy-duty trucks.
“The Signal Companies Inc., Mack
parent company, said it expected a net loss of about $4 million from
the discontinuance of Brockway. In 1976, Mack Trucks as a whole earned
$23.8 million on sales of $11.03 billion.”
decided to keep the plant open a little while longer during which time
they entered into negotiations with Steven J. Romer, the
chairman of Solargen Electronics Ltd., for the purchase of the Brockway
April 21, 1977 issue of the Syracuse Post-Standard contained the
statement from Mack’s corporate vice president Richard Mann:
“Mack Trucks Inc. today signed a
intent to negotiate for the sale of Brockway Motor Trucks of Cortland,
to Steven J. Romer, New York City attorney and president and chairman
Solargen Electronics Inc.
“Negotiations will be conducted during
remainder of April with a prospective closing date of June 1.
“Mack on March 29 had announced plans
production at Brockway and to liquidate the assets.
“Mr. Romer said he anticipates
be back in production by June 1, and that he intends to manufacture
line of heavy duty Diesel trucks as well as a line of electric cars in
existing Brockway plant.
“My hope is to retain as many Brockway
employees as are willing to stay.”
subsequently made a trip to Cortland
to look over the property and evaluate its balance sheets, and the
strike was officially terminated on April 29th, 1977. However the UAW
workers wouldn't return to the plant as Romer's
deemed unreasonable and the purchase agreement fell through, the
May 3, 1977
issue of the Syracuse Post-Standard reporting:
“Mack Trucks Inc. Monday announced
is proceeding with the liquidation of Brockway Motor Trucks I Cortland
as a result of
its inability to conclude an agreement to sell the division to Steven
Romer of New York City.
“Mack April 2 announced the signing of
letter of intent to negotiate the sale of Brockway to Mr. Romer.
“The negotiations have not been
and have ended. It now appears that liquidation is the only means of
“On March 29, Mack announced plans to
production at Brockway and liquidate assets, but later suspended
after agreeing to negotiate with Mr. Romer.”
Four or five trucks that sat partly
assembled in the Cortland plant were relocated to the Elmira factory
completion and a dedicated Brockway parts depot was established in
An order for 45 Brockway U762TLtractors
Miami's Inter-American Transport Co. awaited completion when the plant
closed down. Destined for use in hauling cane sugar in Iran,
requested that Mack/Brockway ship all the parts required to their Miami
warehouse where a small crew of Brockway managers and supervisors
assembled the trucks over the course of several months. The very last
Brockway, an AU-762-TL, equipped with a Detroit Diesel 12V71
engine, 15-speed Roadranger
55,000-lb rear axles was completed on June 8, 1977, 102 years after the
very first Brockway made its way onto the streets of Homer, New York.
2014 Mark Theobald for Coachbuilt.com with
to Doreen K. Bates, (Central New York Living History Center), Mindy
Leisenring/Hailley Miller (Cortland County Historical Society) and
Appendix 1: Breakdown of Brockway Models
numbers (courtesy of Thomas Millard Jr.)
Model Prefix - Engine Manufacturer Cross
Model Number - Engine Designation Cross
Model Suffix - Designation Cross
Reference - Pre-Mack only
|Twin Carburetors (eg.
||Twin Carburetors with Setback Axle (eg. 154TS)
||Down Draft Carburetor (eg. 154WD)
Model Suffix - Designation Cross
Reference - Post-Mack only
|Single Axle Tractor
||Single Axle Cargo or Straight
|Tandem Axle Cargo or
|Tri Axle Cargo or
|Tandem Axle Tractor
Appendix 2: Model Year - Serial Number
(courtesy of Thomas Millard Jr.)
|serial number range
|1921 to 1922
|5300 and up
||7561 and up
||9200 to 11649
||11650 to 20499
|1926 to 1927
|20500 to 22499
|22500 to 28999
|29000 and up
|3400 and up
|4768 and up
|5640 and up
|6613 and up
|8293 and up
|9926 and up
|11943 and up
|14072 and up
|15877 and up
|20069 and up
|23053 and up
|23975 and up
|25073 and up
|27791 and up
|32311 and up
|36926 and up
|40000 and up
|41500 and up
|44000 and up
|45800 and up
|49850 and up
|50400 and up
|52000 and up
|53000 and up
|54000 and up
|55500 and up
|56200 and up
|57600 and up
|58600 and up
|60000 and up
|61000 and up
|63000 and up
|63200 and up
|64800 and up
|66200 and up
|68200 and up
|69000 and up
|71200 and up
|73600 and up
|75700 and up
|78800 and up
|81000 and up
|85000 and up
|88200 and up
|90800 to 92293
Appendix 3: 'Assembled' vs.
The fact that Brockway was in fact an
served as the basis of a lawsuit the firm filed against the City of New
York in mid-1931. The suit was covered in great detail by E.K. Titus in
December 12, 1931 issue of Automotive Industries:
Litigation Tangles New York Truck
Matter of ‘Assemblers’ vs.
One of the liveliest and most
debates in recent years is being staged in New York City.
"Manufacturers" and "assemblers" of trucks, on opposite
sides of the rostrum, have been using affidavits for ammunition.
Affidavits, representing the
some of the most
distinguished figures in the automotive industry, probably make the
encyclopedia of opinions on the relative merits of the two methods of
production ever collected.
The prizes being contested for are
of dollars New
York City is expected to spend on trucks during the next few years. The
immediate issue was award of contract for nine motor-driven brooms.
Motor Truck Corp., as a taxpayer, was suing the City of New York, and
of the Sanitary Commission, in an effort to secure modification of the
specifications for this equipment, to admit assembled trucks.
Supreme Court Justice Salvatore
Nov. 27 handed
down an opinion declining to issue the temporary injunction restraining
department of sanitation from specifying a "manufactured" truck.
Taking this course on condition that the case be set down for immediate
on Dec. 7.
He declared, however, that the
presented "powerful and almost irrefutable arguments to sustain its
contention of abuse of discretion resulting in probable waste."
The disputed clauses in the
‘3. (a) That the chassis furnished by
on this contract shall be the product of a manufacturer who meets the
‘d. That the manufacturer of the
in operation a
factory adequate for and devoted to the manufacture of the motor or
transmission, front and rear axle, which it proposes to furnish in the
‘h. That the manufacturer of the
been engaged in
the continuous manufacture and advertised sale of motor trucks for at
Under the conditions, declared Joseph
for Brockway, the charter of the city is being violated, because these
conditions are arbitrary and do not afford full opportunity for open,
competitive bidding, but limit the bidders to a class, causing the
price to be
maintained in excess of the open market price.
Not more than four motor-driven broom
qualify for submission of bids and the acceptance of bids thereunder,
notwithstanding the fact that there are more than 30 motor truck
would be capable of furnishing proposals to the City of New York.
The specifications, the attorney held,
to exclude Brockway, and unless they were modified, he declared, there
a ‘fraud on the taxpayers.’
When bids were opened, it was found
prices had been offered: Four Wheel Drive Co., $8,350, terms 2 per
Motor Co., $7,082, terms net; Russell Snow Plow Co., $7,025.50, terms 2
cent; N. P. Nelson Iron Works, $6,350, terms net. Award was delayed.
Later Brockway filed for the record a
Dickenson, secretary-treasurer of the Russell Co., stating the company
have bid under the low bid had it been able to order an assembled
Dickenson said the 20 snow brooms bought by the city from his company
and equipped with Brockway chassis, were giving good service.
Major Emil Leindorf, who has charge of
for Brockway, in a supporting affidavit, said:
‘I have discovered by checking 5-ton
the Commercial Car Journal, a Chilton Class Journal publication, and
important periodical in the industry, that only four truck manufacturers could qualify, and then they would
have difficulty in meeting in toto the specifications set forth by the
‘The requirements for bidders will
necessarily cause the
bids to be higher,’ said Robert F. Black, president, Brockway, ‘and it
enable the bidders to control the prices between them. Deponent
believes that an injunction should issue out of this court, restraining
defendants from carrying into execution any plan or device with respect
aforesaid purchases, and directing the defendants to issue a call for
to furnish motor-driven brooms to the City of New York, which shall
manufacturers on a basis where competition will be open and free, and
will derive the benefit of the low market therefrom.’
$2,500,000 Order Involved
While the immediate object of
suit was to open
specifications on the nine brooms to assemblers, the larger issue
purchase of 500 dump trucks with covered bodies at an estimated cost of
$2,500,000. The Department of Sanitation had this sum available. It
spent before the end of 1931, or revert to general city funds.
The result of the suit, moreover, was
expected to affect
specifications for some of the other millions of dollars worth of
New York City buys in the course of a year. In addition, purchasing
many other cities might incline to follow New York's lead. The
in this case will be, therefore, of great importance.
Early in the year, the Sanitary
spent a million
dollars for 205 Autocars. While there were a number of bidders, the
authorities stated their specifications had called for a ‘manufactured
In July, Dr. Schroeder held a hearing
the $2,500,000 worth to be bought later. The tentative specifications
distributed called for a ‘manufactured’ truck.
Representatives of practically all the
leading producers attended
the hearing. Most remained silent. An unattached engineer from the
Queens and several association people spoke. As a result, Dr. Schroeder
indicated he might modify the specifications. It was while the
representatives were awaiting final specifications on the $2,500,000
the department, seeking bids for the comparatively insignificant lot of
motor-driven brooms, specified a manufactured job. Brockway's suit
Justice Cotillio heard the arguments
The avalanche of affidavits followed. On the side of the
were those of A. F. Masury, chief engineer of Mack Trucks, Inc., and
Scaife, consulting engineer for White Motor Co.
The arguments of the ‘assemblers’ were
affidavits by H.W. Alden, chairman, of Timken-Detroit Axle Co.; Martin
Pulcher, president , Federal Motor Truck Co.; William R. Angell,
Motors; W. Ward Mohun, assistant sales manager, Willys-Overland, Inc.;
B. Clark, president, Clark Equipment Co.; L.P. Kalb, former chairman of
Truck Standards Committee of the Society of Automotive Engineers; R.G .
Stewart, vice-president and chief engineer, Stewart Motor Corp.; C.A.
chief engineer, Diamond T Motor Car Co., and Charles Balough,
Hercules Motor Corp.
All of the assemblers' affidavits were
submitted after and
were replies to the affidavits of Mr. Masury and Mr. Scaife. Mr. Masury
‘Your deponent states that from his
experience in the
automotive industry he has found that an assembled motor truck or
not give satisfactory service as a vehicle of conveyance or
the reason that the units thereof (motor, transmission, axle, etc.) are
unstable quality and quantity, often rearranged, switched, and
order to meet a price. In other words, an assembled truck is not a
unit of machinery.
‘The companies producing assembled
are transient in
life, often unstable financially, and in most instances insolvent, thus
the purchaser of an assembled truck in a year or so with orphan
equipment. This means that individual repair parts have to be made up,
one at a
time, to fit into the units which have gone completely dead, subjecting
purchaser of an assembled truck to the practice of 'pirating of parts,'
the selling, under false representation, of inferior parts.
‘In order to service the assembled
the purchaser thereof
is not dependent upon a reputable manufacturer who has a constant
repair parts on hand, but is forced to go into the open market to
miscellaneous parts dealers the necessary repair units. These repair
dealers have no interest in the trucks themselves, but are simply
selling these inferior parts for a price measured simply in dollars and
necessarily raises the cost of repairs to a very high figure.
‘The makers of assembled trucks in
do their business
through dealer organizations, instead of through factory branches,
which is the
practice of truck manufacturers; thus a purchaser of an assembled truck
a responsible business organization of stable character through which
his trucks, i.e., the ability to furnish repair parts at minimum cost
‘It is well known in the automotive
that a maker of
an assembled truck has to buy his units as they are made and
the unit manufacturer, and he has no control over the changes in
specifications which the assembler may see fit to make in order to meet
demands of the trade.’
Mr. Scaife, consulting field engineer
the White Motor
Company, said in part:
‘It is my opinion that a manufactured
superior and will give greater satisfaction from a user's standpoint
assembled truck. A manufactured truck is engineered to give uniform
in all of its component units, such as engine, transmission, axles,
steering gear, etc., due to the coordinated engineering calculations
the time of the vehicle's design, proved by extensive experimentation
testing, extending over a period of years.
‘It is very difficult to incorporate
feature of balanced
engineering into an assembled truck, due to the principal units being
and manufactured by different engineering groups. As all engineering is
compromise, it would be practically impossible for each one of the
groups represented in an assembled truck to produce a completely
Many of the affiants replying to Mr.
and Mr. Scaife
held that the distinction ‘manufacturers’ and ‘assemblers’ was
and that this method of distinction might well be discarded in view of
that even the ‘manufacturers’ purchase certain component parts of their
Mr. Clark of Clark Equipment pointed
that his company
had manufactured major parts for trucks for 19 years. He denied that
assemblers were ‘transient in life’ or ‘unstable financially.’
‘Statistics prove,’ he continued,
while in the early
days of the industry most trucks were of the so-called
type, the tendency in recent years has been toward trucks designed and
units produced by specialists in the manufacture of such units.
‘A vehicle builder who would close his
to the advance
in the art of producing the component parts would soon find himself
vehicle with obsolete parts.
‘To build and design bodies and to
trucks is a
full-sized job for any company. If, in addition to this task, a truck
undertakes to compete with scores of large companies which devote their
to design, construction, improvement and manufacture of component
indeed the truck builder has undertaken more than he can accomplish.
‘The reason that the great bulk of
trucks are built
to use purchased units is not only because specialized units are
superior but also because they are cheaper.
‘These facts account for the rapid and
during recent years toward what is improperly designated as an
‘As evidence of the trend that has
during the past
ten years, it is to be noted that the percentage of the total trucks
by the two builders who have advertised their adherence to the
principle of ‘building
under one roof’ has been steadily declining. For instance, in 1920
manufacturers produced 12.9 per cent of the total trucks produced
Ford); in the first nine months of 1931, they produced only 2.8 per
‘Thus in a decade the total truck
obtained by the ‘built-under-one-roof’
builders has fallen to 22 per cent of what it was in the beginning ; if
production be included (Ford not being a built-under-one-roof truck ),
figures are still more unfavorable to these two builders.’
Mr. Pulcher ‘most emphatically’ stated
units of the assembled
motor trucks now being sold by responsible manufacturers are not of un
quality, and he knows of none that are rearranged, switched, or
replaced to meet
any price, as is set forth in the affidavit of A. F. Masury. This
that the companies producing assembled vehicles are not ‘transient in
nor does he believe them to be ‘often unstable financially.’ They are
not, in most instances, insolvent.
‘The deponent cites the following well
responsible companies which sell so-called assembled trucks and
Harvester Co., Reo Motor Co., Chrysler Motor Corp., and General Motors
‘In the opinion of this deponent the
of the Continental
Motor Co. are at least equal to any other motors, and the axles of the
Timken-Detroit Axle Company have long sustained a position in that
field as good as those of any other company. Their integration in a
truck is a guarantee
of its efficiency, its economical manufacture, and its continued
‘The deponent Masury states that
truck makers do
their business through dealers, and intimates that the purchaser of
trucks does not have a responsible business organization of stable
through which to service his trucks. In respect to this assertion,
to be said, except to call attention to the fact that there are,
country, large numbers of dealers in trucks and motor cars, whose
as individuals, in many instances, approaches that of the manufacturer
of the vehicle
Mr. Peirce of Diamond T referred to
statements of Mr. Scaife
that during the war he was a member of Class A Design Committee for
of Mr. Masury that he is chairman of the Ordnance Advisory Committee of
S. Army and a member of the U. S. Army Quartermaster's Advisory
‘The U.S. War Department, represented
Mr. Peirce continued, ‘has decided to adopt as standard for trucks for
of men and munitions during peace and war, trucks of the assembled
type. . . .’
Mr. Peirce of Diamond T stated that
Trucks, Inc., and
the White Motor Co. have been changing their policies with respect to
of all of the parts which are used in their trucks in the past few
are today buying some parts from parts manufacturers which they
themselves. This affiant is informed that Mack Trucks, Inc., and White
Co. today purchase from parts manufacturers and in many instances from
manufacturers as the Diamond T purchases its parts.’ Mr. Peirce cited
wheels, and universal joints, as examples.
‘The Diamond T Motor Car Co.,’ Mr.
been in business for 26 years, and has been under the same management
‘Affiant further states that the cost
assembled truck is much less than that of a so-called manufactured
Mr. Alden of Timken-Detroit expressed
belief that the
qualifications of companies seeking to supply the city of New York with
equipment might well be considered under the following four headings:
and material resources; experience gained over a period of years;
production of high quality material, and service.
Mr. Alden's Comments
Following are extracts from Mr.
comments under each of
1. ‘As the producer of so-called
trucks has at his
command the entire unit manufacturing resources of the country, these
financial resources are far in excess of those of any individual
manufactured trucks. The capital and surplus of the Timken-Detroit Axle
alone is $16,288,833.67.
2. ‘The unit manufacturer does not,
has, and never can
produce a line of ‘canned’ units which are just sold off the shelf. In
the unit manufacturer has had more varied experience on which to design
build units than has anyone individual truck manufacturer.
3. ‘As the unit manufacturer has had
concentrate on one
line only, and as competition among unit manufacturers has forced
and prices down, he has had to fortify himself with the best of
4. ‘The Timken-Detroit Axle Co. has,
over 20 years, sold
continuously to some producers of assembled truck s.’
Mr. Alden expressed his conviction
there was no more
danger of pirating of parts with one than with the other classification
trucks, and that ‘of course it is wholly within the control of the
‘Many producers of so-called assembled
continued, ‘have been in existence just as long as some of the
manufactured trucks. The latter have no monopoly of brains or
Mr. Angell's Facts
Mr. Angell, president of Continental
affidavit to a fact -by-fact statement giving details of the history,
condition, service facilities, etc., of the company.
He pointed out that his company has
conducted its business
since 1902; has successfully designed, manufactured and sold upward of
internal combustion engines; maintains and operates two large plants at
and Muskegon, Mich., and furnishes quick service at 38 parts stations
various parts of the United States.
Mr. Balough, president of Hercules
that ‘the experience of large fleet operators, many of whom have
fleets of both classifications of trucks, are a matter of record, and a
analysis will undoubtedly prove that the specialized truck built by the
so-called truck assembler has given equally as good satisfaction as the
Most if not all of the ‘manufacturers’
trucks, he said,
buy their ‘carburetors, ignition apparatus, universal joints, springs,
at least their component parts - wheels, and many other units and parts
interference to the idea of proper coordination.’
Mr. Stewart declared that "from his
as a motor truck engineer, designer and manufacturer, he considers many
statements of said Masury biased, misleading, and at variance with his
He pointed out that ‘even Mr. Masury's
company purchases its
frame rails or frames from the Parish Mfg. Co., universal joints from
Spicer Mfg. Co., Roller bearings from the Timken Roller Bearing Co.,’
Mr. Stewart disputed Mr. Masury's
were transient in life, pointing out that some of them were organized
15 to 25
years ago, Mr. Stewart also outlined in different language a number of
arguments of other affiants.
Mr. Mohun of Willys-Overland held that
buying parts from ‘outside component parts manufacturers of reputable
made for ‘better material and quality at lower prices.’
December 12, 1931