Justus Childs was born in Woodstock, Connecticut on September 21, 1809 to
Dolphus and Chloe Jackson Child, and came to Paris, Oneida County, New York
in 1831. He resided east of Cassville on the stone road, and was an
extensive farmer — his farm being one of the "model farms" in town.
He was a direct sixth generation ancestor of Benjamin Child, who came to
America from England about 1630 and died in Roxbury, Mass., in 1678. A
valuable family genealogy, published in 1881 by Reverend Elias Child, of
Utica, New York gives the unbroken lineage of his descendants, many of whom
were prominent in civil, commercial and military life.
He married Betsey Budlong, the daughter of Joseph Budlong, Esq., of
Bridgewater, N.Y., on Sept. 21, 1834 and to the blessed union were born 6
children: Sarah Louisa Childs. (b. Nov. 18, 1835 – d. Oct. 20, 1870); Joseph
Morris Childs (b. Apr. 17, 1840); Wallace Budlong Childs (b. July 8, 1842-d.
1870); Orlando Justus Childs (b. July 25, 1844); Kate Elizabeth Childs (b.
July 10, 1848); and Charles Henry Childs (b. Dec. 26, 1854).
In 1843 Justus served a single term in the State Assembly and in 1857 was
elected Supervisor of the Town of Paris for a single term. During the
interim he established himself in the manufacture of agricultural implements
in the city of Utica, Oneida Co., N. Y. The business grew on his hands to
large proportions, taxing his energies to an extent which seriously impaired
his health. In the prime of manhood and amid business activities, he fell
into a decline which terminated his useful life on May 24, 1868, at the age
The Utica Observer carried the following tribute following his passing:
"He was gifted with superior intelligence and an excellent constitution;
and was characterized by active habits and large business capacity, with
marked public spirit. Always one of the most prominent citizens of his town,
he was repeatedly its Supervisor, and also represented his district in the
State Assembly. In all the relations of life, as well as in an official
capacity, his conduct was distinguished by integrity, conscientiousness and
good judgment, and his death will be lamented by all who knew him. He leaves
a large family, among whom are Messrs. J. M. and W. B. Childs, of Utica, and
a large circle of friends, to mourn his loss."
Joseph Morris and Orlando Justus Childs, were the immediate successors of
their father in the firm's Fayette St. factory, taking over management of
the firm when their father fell ill soon after the start of the Civil War.
Wallace Budlong Childs decided against it, electing to attend Hamilton
College, Clinton, N.Y. where he pursued a law degree, graduating in 1864.
Unfortunately his career was short-lived as he passed away in 1870, just two
years after his father.
Charles H. Childs, the youngest of the four Childs brothers, joined the
firm after the death of his father and for the next decade the three
brothers carried on a successful business in both the wholesale distribution
and manufacture of numerous agricultural products.
1867 ad – Oneida County directory
"THE ORIGINAL AND ONLY PREMIUM Buckeye Mower & Combined Self-Raking
"Awarded the HIGHEST PREMIUMS, both in Mowing and Self-Raking, at
the most important field trials ever held in any country.
"OVER 130,000 NOW IN USE. 30,000 SOLD IN A SINGLE SEASON.
"The success if the BUCKEYE as a SELF-RAKER is unparalleled. Very
important improvements have been added for the season of 1870.
"Manufactured by Adriance Platt & Co., for J.M. Childs & Co., Utica, N.Y.
An Agricultural Store in Utica
"We are about to fill a large store with all kinds of first-class Farming
and Agricultural Implements, Seeds, Fertilizers, &c, &c.
"Persons in want of any farming tool will please call on us and make
their own selections. Send for a Circular. J. M. CHILDS & CO."
In 1871 a line of mowers distributed by Childs was awarded a bronze medal
at the State Fair by the New York State Agricultural Society. A description
from the catalog follows:
"Graham, Emlen & Passmore, Philadelphia, Pa., by J. M. Childs & Company,
Utica, N. Y.; the Philadelphia lawn mower; three sizes hand machines; No. 0,
10 Inches cut, price fifteen dollars; No. 1, fifteen inches cut, twenty-five
dollars; No. 2, twenty inches cut, thirty five dollars; two sizes for
horse-power; No. 2 ½ , thirty inches cut, seventy-five dollars No. 3,
thirty-six inches cut, $150."
1872-1873 Broome and Tioga County Business Directory:
"The Buckeye," J. M. Childs & Co., proprietors, office 10 and 12
Lafayette Street, Utica. It is hardly worth while to discuss the merits of
this celebrated Mowing and Reaping Machine, at this late day. So perfect and
complete was the Machine as originally invented, that its principles have
never been changed. Improvements in parts, it is true have been made, as
experience showed them to be requisite. When it is understood that
notwithstanding the great number of machines thrown upon the market for
public favor, more than 130,000 of the "Buckeyes" have been sold, it will be
universally conceded that the majority are in favor of this as a labor
saving implement. We will not attempt to detail its merits, but would
recommend the reader to call and inspect the machine for himself, or send
for a circular to J. M. Childs & Co., Utica. Messrs C. & Co., also keep on
hand a full assortment of Agricultural Implements, such as Threshing
Machines, Fanning Mills, Horse Rakes, Cultivators, Plows, Cider Mills, &c.,
"J.M. Childs & Co: Manufacturers and dealers in all kinds of farming
implements : 12 and 14 Fayette Street, Utica, N.Y. : Call and see the best
steel plow, and largest variety of implements in the state, 8 page catalog
printed by Curtiss & Childs, steam job printers, 167 Genesee St., Utica,
"The VICTORIOUS 'Wisner' IMPROVED was awarded the Gold Medal at the Great
National Field Trail near Philadelphia, Pa., 1874, Also AMERICAN INSTITUTE
MEDAL, Same Year.
"The Horse Rake and Mower are important Implements on the Dairy Farm.
When the Revolving Rake was first introduced, it seemed that perfection had
been reached in the way of gathering hay; but soon the Sulky Steel Tooth
Rake put in an appearance, crowding out the former, and now the "WISNER,"
steps in and is bound to supersede all others. The Inventor, J. E. Wisner -
of Friendship, N. Y. (owner of one of the finest Dairy Farms in Western N.
Y.), Is a practical farmer, and has invented a Rake that is self-operating—a
slight pressure of the foot engaging both wheels for discharging the hay,
and yet either wheel works independent of the other, so that It will operate
equally well while turning to the right or left, making it the most perfect
Rake in the world, and its success is unparalleled in the history of
"J. M. CHILDS & CO., UTICA, N. Y., Are General Agents for the "WISNER"
SELF-OPERATING RAKE, BUCKEYE MOWER, and Dealers in First-class Agricultural
Implements and Farming Tools, keeping the largest and best assortment in New
York State. Correspondence solicited."
On Dec. 10, 1874 Orlando J. Childs married Ella A. Jones, daughter of
Jonathan Jones, a well-known distributor of dairy equipment located in
Utica, N.Y. Soon afterward he sold his interest in the family firm to his
brothers, entering into a partnership with his brother-in-law, Frank Jones,
under the name of Childs & Jones, successor to Jonathan Jones &
Co., embarking on a successful career as dealers in dairy apparatus and
general hardware at 84 Genesee St., Utica, New York.
The withdrawal of Orlando from the family firm caused a reorganization of
J.M. Childs & Co. with J. Morris Childs the senior, and Charles H. Childs,
the junior partner.
The 1883 Oneida County Directory included the following Childs entries:
CHILDS CHARLES H. (J. M. Childs & Co. 12 to 18 Fayette), r Butterfield
CHILDS J.M. & Co. (J. Morris and Charles H.) Buckeye X Mower and Reaper
and agricultural implements, 12 to 18 Fayette. See adv't page 28.
CHILDS J. MORRIS (J. M. Childs & Co. 12 to 18 Fayette), r 3 High
CHILDS ORLANDO J. (Childs & Jones, 84 Genesee), r 140 John
CHILDS & JONES (Orlando J. Childs and Frank L Jones) dairy apparatus,
hardware, & c. 84 Genesee, vat shop 30 Meadow.
A chromolithograph advertising card dated 1884 depicts a woman riding a
hay dump rake pulled by a tiger, text as follows: "Wisner's Tiger Sulky Hay
Rake, 'the King of Rakes' manufactured for J.M. Childs & Co., Utica, NY."
After many years of success in the dairy supply business Orlando J.
Childs became enamored with the chemical fire extinguisher, a revolutionary
product invented by two local inventors.
In late 1899 Childs organized the O.J. Childs Co. in order to take
over the business of the Utica Fire Extinguisher Co., the manufacturer of
the Utica chemical extinguisher, an early chemical fire extinguisher
designed by William C. Pomfret and Thomas B. Keating. Originally filed on
January 16, 1896, the device was awarded US Patent number 588,055 on August
10, 1897 and assigned to the Utica Fire Extinguisher Co.
The following ad appeared in the 1898 Delaware,
Lackawanna &a Western R.R. directory:
"The Best Hand Chemical Fire Extinguisher in the World.
"Do Not Think of Buying Until You Have Seen It.
"STATE OF NEW YORK, OFFICE OF SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC
"Albany, N. Y., March 16, 1898.
"THE UTICA EXTINGUISHER CO., Utica, N. Y.
"Gentlemen: We have equipped the State Capitol
Building, Executive Mansion, State Hall and Geological Hall with your hand
Chemical Fire Extinguishers, believing them to be the most reliable, most
easily operated and most attractive extinguisher that has been brought to
"Respectfully yours, Frederick Easton, Superintendent.
"Ask for descriptive circular and prices. Special
Salesmen wanted everywhere, to whom most liberal terms will be extended.
"MAN'FD BY The Utica Extinguisher Co., 48-50 Liberty st.,
September 1901 issue of Municipal Journal & Engineer:
The Utica fire extinguisher is one of the best on the
market. It has been endorsed by the Boston Manufacturers' Mutual Fire
Insurance Company as thoroughly reliable. It is manufactured by the O. J.
Childs Company, 48 Liberty street, Utica, N. Y."
April 4, 1908 Street Railway Journal:
"A hand fire extinguisher which has been adopted widely
for electric cars and which possesses a number of novel features is
illustrated in the accompanying engraving. It is manufactured by the O. J.
Childs Company, of Utica, N. Y. An important feature of the extinguisher is
that it has a stop cock outlet in the cap and the lever that opens and
closes this stop cock also operates the stopper which corks the bottle of
acid. In other words, when the stop cock is shut off, the stopple is held
firmly in the bottle, and the liquid securely in the machine until its use
"When the stop cock is opened the stopple is lifted
away from the bottle and allows the chemicals to mix when the extinguisher
is inverted. This construction is considered especially desirable in the
case of an extinguisher to be carried on cars where the device will be
subject to a certain amount of rattle and shaking, and where the acid bottle
should be kept tightly closed until the extinguisher is to be used. A hose
can be employed or not as desired. Among the electric railway companies
which are users of this extinguisher are the Utica & Mohawk Valley, the
electrified section of the West Shore Railroad the Auburn & Syracuse
Electric Railway, the Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Railway and the
Indianapolis & Eastern Railway.
"The same manufacturers make the Childs Approved 3-gal.
extinguisher for the protection of buildings, and among the companies which
are using this extinguisher are the Detroit United Electric Railway Company,
which has some 500; the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, which has 700;
the Metropolitan Street Railway Company, which has 575, and the Hudson &
Manhattan Railroad Company, which has 112."
Their listing in the 1908 Motor Cyclopedia Directory
"Childs Co., O. J.—48-50 Liberty St., Utica, N. Y.
Mfrs. fire extinguishers. Est. 1896. O. J. Childs, Pres.
Childs, O. J.—Pres., O. J. Childs Co. 48-50 Liberty St.,
Utica. N. Y."
October 3, 1910 Electric Traction Weekly:
"UTICA FIRE EXTINGUISHER - A fire extinguisher forms a
valuable item of apparatus for an interurban car. Defective wiring,
overheated motors and bearings frequently start fires which are difficult to
extinguish, especially when a car is in the country. The Utica No. 7 fire
extinguisher illustrated herewith is designed especially for railroad
service. The particular feature of the extinguisher is that it has a
stop-cock outlet in the cap, and by shutting off this stop-cock the passage
to the nozzle is closed and also the stopple is held firmly in the bottle,
so that the acid cannot mix with the liquid. To operate it, the stopcock is
opened and the extinguisher turned upside down. In the accompanying cut, A
is the lever handle to the stop-cock, and E is the lead stopple. The face of
this is beveled and ground to a true surface, making a tight joint with the
top of the lip of the bottle, which is also ground. The bottle cage is made
of bronze in one piece with the top. This cage and the inside working parts
of the stop-cock, as well as the inside of the tank, are thickly coated with
a lead mixture to prevent corrosion. The packing, B, around the stem of the
stop-cock prevents leakage if any liquid should get through the joint at C,
which, however, is ground true and should make a perfect joint. The strainer
D is over the outlet from the tank.
"This extinguisher is furnished either with or without
hose. Among the electric railways now using it are the Utica & Mohawk Valley
Railway, the electrified part of the West Shore, the Auburn & Syracuse
Electric, the Indiana, Columbus & Eastern, and the Fonda, Johnstown &
Gloversville. It is manufactured by the O. J. Childs Company, Utica, N. Y.,
which also makes the Childs three-gallon fire extinguisher for use in
passenger stations, freight houses, signal towers, etc."
September 5, 1912 Municipal Journal:
"Syracuse Gets Combination Hose Wagon.
Syracuse, N. Y.—The new combination hose wagon of the
Syracuse Fire Department, which is to be placed at the new Elmwood Fire
House, was built by the A. F. & S. C. Stewart Company, of 116 Front street,
Rochester, N. Y. The 35-gallon chemical tank and the Utica hand fire
extinguishers were furnished by the O. J. Childs Company, of 50 Liberty
street, Utica, N. Y., makers of highgrade fire extinguishers. Chemical
engines suitable for all purposes, in a variety of styles for city and
suburban use, as well as hand extinguishers for the home and factory, are
features of the O. J. Childs line."
September 1913 Safety Engineering:
"SOME OF THE EXHIBITS AT THE FIRE CHIEFS' CONVENTION.
On the main floor of the Grand Central Palace during
the week of September 1, the occasion of the 41st annual convention of the
International Association of Fire Engineers, was grouped the most imposing
array of motor fire apparatus ever collected in one place. Skirting the-
main floor is the mezzanine gallery of the Palace on which miscellaneous
exhibits were displayed. A few of the principal exhibits are described
Childs Chemical Specialties.
The O. J. Childs Company, Utica, N. Y., showed a
complete exhibit of soda and acid hand chemical fire extinguishers ranging
in size from 1½ to 3 gallons in capacity. Also special fire department
extinguishers with the special 'Childs' nozzle, hose clamps, straps, etc.
The Childs chemical engines are made in various sizes
to meet different requirements. Here are a few types that were exhibited:
Type "F," 40 gallons capacity; for factories, stores,
Type "D," 40 gallons capacity; for outside service in
Type "G," 40 gallons capacity; for railroad yards,
villages, country estates, etc.
Type "H," 35 gallons capacity: stationary tank for
combination wagons complete with water hose connection, etc.
Type "HH," 65 gallons capacity; stationary tank for
combination wagon, chemical hose nozzle, clamps, etc.
This company makes it possible for small towns and
villages to secure motor fire apparatus at a nominal cost."
Childs saw an opportunity in producing ready-made
chemical tank equipped truck bodies to rural fire departments and in March
1918, acquired the services of L. C. Smith, formerly superintendent and
secretary, American La France Fire Engine Co., Elmira, N.Y.
By the late teens Childs had sales outlets scattered
across the country as evidenced by the following display ad published in the
June 1920 issue of American City:
"Fire Equipment — For Any Chassis
"Childs complete Fire Equipment is now made to fit any
commercial truck chassis. This means you can get Childs apparatus complete
and ready to go on any make of motor truck—only requiring a coat of paint
and the tightening of a few bolts. The municipality needing new fire
fighting equipment will find this announcement of particular significance.
The saving in cost of Childs Equipment and the convenience of being able to
purchase it from a local dealer where good service can be readily secured
will appeal to any town or city government.
"O. J. CHILDS COMPANY, Utica, N. Y.
"Sales Offices: New York City, 1265 Broadway. Room 816;
Boston, 644 Old South Building; Philadelphia, 812 Lincoln Building;
Pittsburgh, 322 Fulton Building; Chicago, 440 So. Dearborn St.; Detroit, 308
Moffat Building; Houston, Foater Building; Dallas, 1219 1/2 Main Street;
Omaha, 1113 Farnam Street; Atlanta, Ga., Trust Co. of Georgia; New Orleans,
La., 724 St. Joseph St."
February 1920 American City:
"Town Fire Apparatus
The question of securing adequate fire protection thru
the use of motorized apparatus is one which is stirring the minds of
prominent citizens and fire department officials in many small towns. It is
appreciated that hand-drawn apparatus, or even horse-drawn apparatus, for
small town and volunteer fire departments is inadequate, particularly when
the places to be covered by the department are away from the center of the
The O. J. Childs Company, Utica, N. Y., manufactures
single- and double-tank combination chemical and hose cars, which may be
mounted on Reo, Ford and other trucks. The complete equipment includes one
or two 35gallon chemical tanks complete, automatic reel for 250 feet of
chemical hose, with nozzle, extension ladders, roof ladders, lanterns,
torches, extinguishers, axe crowbars, pike pole, play protection, power and
process piping, steam, hot water and gas heating, drying, sales of pipe
fittings, valves and supplies."
July 1920 American City:
"The Latest Development in Light Weight Fire Apparatus
"Municipalities and towns which have felt the least
doubt regarding the value of light-weight lire apparatus, which heretofore
has been solely of the chemical type, will be glad to learn of the new
Childs triple combination hose, chemical and pump mounted on a Ford one-ton
truck which is now manufactured by the O. J. Childs Company, Utica, N. Y.
This new piece of apparatus retains all the valuable features of the Childs
chemical truck and in addition carries a rotary fire pump specially designed
to harmonize with the character of the power supply and the motor chassis as
"The pump is of the positive displacement type, does
not have to be primed, and will draw water a vertical height of 24 feet
without the use of a foot valve. The pump is driven directly from the motor
of the truck. The pump body is cast in one piece, reducing leakage to a
minimum and practically eliminating vibration. The pump does not rack and
strain the motor, but operates fast or slow, according to the speed of the
motor. It is equipped with two suction and two discharge connections, one on
each side of the car, thus making the apparatus very adaptable and
eliminating all waste of time through having to turn the car around to face
in the proper direction, as is the case with some of the larger engines. The
pump is mounted under the driver's seat, the drive being taken at a point in
the rear of the transmission of the car, so that the ratios in the car
transmission are available in connection with the pump. There is a
connection between the pump and the radiator so that cold water is provided
constantly to keep the engine from overheating. The entire apparatus is
simplicity in itself and can be readily operated by any man capable of
running the regular Ford car.
"Two lengths of suction hose of 12 feet each, with
3-inch internal diameter, fitted with special heavy suction couplings, are
provided with the car, and one special heavy suction strainer is also
included. The water pump also connects into the chemical line with a heavy
brass piping with valves. This permits pumping water through the chemical
hose for finishing up work or for putting out small fires resulting from
flying sparks or embers. The hose body is of steel and has a capacity of
1,000 feet of single-jacket, 3½ -inch fire hose, or 700 feet of
double-jacket 3 ½ -inch hose. The body has a slanted bottom and is well
braced and strongly built throughout."
1921 - W.J. Childs, ME Cornell University 1898, is
president of the O.J. Childs Co., Utica, NY.
August 1922 Automobile Dealer & Repairer:
"Consolidation of Fire Extinguisher Companies
Announcement has just been made of the consolidation of
the Foamite Firefoam Company, with general offices at 151 Fifth Avenue., New
York, and O. J. Childs Company, Inc., of Utica, N. Y., in a program uniting
these important fire protection interests under a new and complete service
organization. The O. J. Childs Corporation brings to the new organization a
record of successful manufacturing and merchandising which extends back to
1896. "Childs" chemical and motor lire apparatus has the acquaintance and
good will of fire officials throughout the country. For several years the
Childs Corporation has functioned as the manufacturing division of the
Firefoam Company, making the Firefoam portable devices at its Utica plant.
The present consolidation with the Firefoam sales and engineering
organization is expected to give the new and larger company the benefit of
many manufacturing and distributing advantages. At a meeting of stockholders
on July 21, it was decided that the Company will hereafter be known as "Foamite-Childs
Corporation" and the following officers were elected: Mr. W. J. Childs,
president of the Childs Corporation was elected president: Mr. F. M.
Watters. vice-president; Mr. E. Janeway. secretary; and Mr. F. J. Maginniss,
treasurer. Mr. James C. Patterson will continue as a Director in full charge
of sales. It has been announced that there will be no change in the sales
policies of the consolidating companies. As soon as possible after August
1st, the executive offices will be located at Utica, N. Y.
FOAMITE-CHILDS CORPORATION, 937 Turner Street, Utica, NY"
Their neighbors just happened to be Utica's classic-era
coachbuilders, Willoughby & Co., which was located just around the corner on
Dwyer Ave. The Childs' plant, now demolished, was located just north of the
250,000 sq. ft. Savage Arms factory (later Sperry-Univac) on Turner St.
KEARNS (US) 1909-1928 (bodies by Foamite-Childs Corp of
(1) Kearns Motor Car Co., Beavertown, Pa. 1909-1912 (2)
Kearns MotorTruck Co., Beavertown, Pa.1912-1920 (3) Kearns-Dughie Corp.,
The Kearns automobile was a high-wheeler introduced in
1907. The first truck, a brewery wagon, was built in 1909. The
high-wheelers, built until 1913, were powered by a 3-cylinder 2.stroke
air-cooled Speedwell engine and had a friction transmission, dual chain
drive, and wheel steering. In 1912, when water-cooling was optional, the
1500.pound truck cost $900 for the chassis.
In 1914 a standard truck with 20 hp 4.cylinder
watercooled engine, cone clutch, 3-speed transmission, and Hotchkiss drive
was introduced. It cost $1175 for the chassis. A few touring cars were built
on the truck chassis in 1915. The firm also built the LuLu cyclecar in 1914.
Post war models included a ¾ ton model with Lycoming
engine and 1½ ton model with Herschell-Spillman (later Continental) engine.
The trucks, priced at $850 and $1800, had dry plate clutches and internal
After the move to Danville the firm specialized in the
manufacture of fire engine chassis which carried bodies and equipment by the
Foamite-Childs Corp of Utica, N.Y. and were sold under the name of Childs
Thoroughbred. In addition a complete line of worm-drive trucks from one to
five tons was offered until the factory was closed down in 1928.
June 1920 Automobile Manufacturer:
"Kearns-Dughie Motors Corporation, Heavertown. Pa., has
been incorporated with a capital stock of $100,000 to manufacture automobile
motors, parts, etc. M. V. Dughie, Lewistown, is treasurer."
Charles M. Kearns, general manager, Kearns-Dughie Motors
Corporation, Danville, Pa
R.E. Beaver, engineer and superintendent, Kearns-Dughie Motors Co.
October 1920 Motor Record:
"Kearns-Dughie Motors Co., Beavertown, Pa., has moved
its plant and main offices to Danville, Pa."
March 15. 1922 The Commercial Vehicle:
"Danville, Pa, March 2—The Kearns-Dughie Motors Corp.
announces a reduction in its model "H" 1-ton chassis from $1,600 to $1,150
and its model "M" 2-ton chassis from $2,200 to $1,650. The price of its
model "H" chassis complete with its standard hand-made post express body is
April 15, 1922 The Commercial Vehicle:
"Two Kearns Models Of 1 and 2-Ton Capacities Powered
with Same Size and Make of Engine
"TWO models of 1 and 2-ton capacity, respectively, are
being produced by the Kearns-Dughie Motors Corp., Danville, Pa. Both models
are mounted with pneumatic tires and are powered with the same size and make
"The two models differ only in their wheelbases,
weights and tire sizes. The smaller truck, model H, weighs 2800 lbs. with
its body and 2150 lbs. as a chassis. The wheelbase is 118 in., while the
tire sizes, both front and rear, are 32 by 4V4 in.
"The heavier truck, model N, weighs, 3100 lbs. in
chassis form. Solid tire sizes, standard equipment, are 34 by 3% in. in
front and 34 by 6 in. on the rear. Pneumatic tire sizes, supplied at an
extra cost of $250 are 36 by 6, both front and rear. This price includes one
extra rim and a power-driven tire pump. The wheelbase is 136 in.
"Regular equipment on the smaller truck includes
fenders, dash, two head and tail electric lamps, electric starting and
lighting, Buell Whistle, battery, tools and jack. The chassis costs $1,600.
Complete with the body, the price is $1,825.
"Regular equipment on the larger truck chassis includes
fenders, dash, two oil head lamps and a tail light, whistle, tools and jack.
Optional equipment includes a gas tank and large lights, electric starter,
generator and lights, driver's seat and body.
"Specifications include a HerschellSpillman
four-cylinder 3½ by 5 in. engine; Zenith carbureter; Berling high tension
magneto; dry-disk clutch; threespeed gearset; screw and nut type of steering
gear; Hotchkiss drive; Torbensen internal gear axle; internal and external
brakes, chrome vanadium steel springs, semi-elliptic all around, wood
artillery wheels, and a special heat-treated pressed-steel frame with a
"The larger model is equipped with the Pierce
gear-driven governor, while the smaller model is equipped with a Dyneto
two-unit starting system with a Bendix drive."
"Kearns-Dughie Motor Corporation, Danville, Pa.,
announces the purchase of all assets of the Belmont Motors Corporation,
Lewistown, Pa., which includes machinery, trucks and plant. The plant thus
acquired has 70000 sq.ft. of floorspace."
Kearns Dughie chassis were also used by the Buffalo
Fire Apparatus Co as the basis for some of their early Buffalo-badged fire
North Beach's first engine was a 1927 STUDEBAKER/FOAMITE-CHILDS.
It also mentions that they used a Chemical-Hose truck loaned to them from
FOAMITE-CHILDS while they were waiting for delivery of the 1927 STUDEBAKER.
Childs built many pieces of apparatus on Model T Ford
A 1914 Federal-OJ Childs chemical engine exists
formerly in service with the Norwich, and Oxford, N.Y. Fired Depts.
A 1922 Reo-Childs engine exists, formerly in service
with the Manlius, N.Y. FD.
In 1923 the Foamite Firefoam Company and O.J.
Childs Co. merged to form the Foamite Childs Corporation. They began building
chemical cars and pumpers, and in the late 1920s introduced their custom
chassis, known as Child's Thoroughbreds.
Mr. Kimball was successively assistant hydraulic
engineer at Underwriters' Laboratories in Chicago, chief engineer of the
former O.J. Childs Co., and assistant general sales manager of the Foamite-Childs
The "Childs" motor pick-up street sweeper, is announced
in a 4-page pamphlet issued by the Foamite-Childs Corp., Utica, NY This
sweeper is said to be of low initial and maintenance cost, durable, of
one-man convenience, quiet,
New Motor Pick-Up Street Sweeper. A new motor pick-up street sweeper has been brought out by the... Large
rear broom so designed that "Childs" Motor Pick-Up
Sweeper. wear automatically shortens distance between broom and conveyor....
In 1923, the Foamite-Childs Corp. designed a Pick-Up Motor Street Sweeper. This one-man device
combined a sprinkler machine, a sweeper, and a disposal hopper mounted on a motor vehicle
chassis. The water sprinkling system used gravity and was announced to the
trade in the Jun 15, 1923 Commercial Car Journal:
"Childs Motor Pick-up Street Sweeper
"The Latest Development in Street Cleaning Sweepers is
the Automatic Gutter Broom This addition makes this job as complete a
self-contained unit as possible for cleaning service…"
January 1924 Popular Mechanics:
"Pick-up Street Sweeper is Motor Driven
"Although horse-drawn vehicles have
largely passed into history as the chief problem of street sanitation in
American cities, the civic pride of progressive communities continues to
support the cost of clean streets. Dirt cannot be avoided, under present
conditions, but when it is allowed to accumulate, or is only partly removed
by the manual labor of 'white wings', it presents an unfavorable indication
of the character of city housekeeping.
"Even small municipalities can afford to
modernize their street-sweeping methods now that a 'pick-up' motor sweeper
had been developed that not only has a special gutter broom attachment, this
dispensing with manual labor entirely, but that has a comparatively low
initial cost, and is economical to maintain.
"The automatic gutter broom works in and
out with the curb line, without attention from the driver, and the rear
broom is so designed that wear automatically shortens the distance between
broom and conveyor. A 150-gal. water tank is provided for the sprinkling
system. Only one man is required for the operation of the machine, and all
levers are so arranged that the operator has complete and convenient control
without leaving his seat. The working speed of the sweeper is 9 miles per
hour on average pavement."
1924 American City:
"Childs Sweepers delivered to New York City
"Reducing Street-Cleaning Expenses by Motor Sweepers
"City officials seem to be giving more attention than
ever before to the reduction of their street-cleaning expenses through the
installation of modern motor sweepers.
"Utica, NY, has recently installed two Childs motor
pick-up street sweepers, made by the Foamite-Childs Corporation, Utica, NY,
and in so doing was able to replace several horse-drawn equipments and many
"Borough President Maurice E. Connolly, of Queens,
recently made formal acceptance of two Childs sweepers for New York City.
These sweepers are the first to be used in this section. Some of the other
cities using Childs sweepers are: Hamtramck, Mich.; Port Arthur, Tex.;
Elmira, NY; Windsor, Ont.; Cohoes, NY; Massena, NY ; Fort Wayne, Ind. ; Ford
City, Pa., and East Cleveland, Ohio. Palatka, Fla., has just placed an
initial order for one machine."
"This new model motor pick-up street sweeper which
has recently been put on the Canadian market by Foamite-Childs of Canada Ltd.,
90 Jarvis Street, Toronto, is shown in the accompanying illustration."
1925 Foamite Childs Corp. "Childs" Motor Pick-Up Street
Sweepers, 631 Turner St. Utica, NY
"Change in Sales Managers at Foamite-Childs
"The Foamite-Childs Corporation, 79 Turner Street,
Utica, NY, has announced the resignation of George W. Lee as Manager of
General Sales, and the appointment of C. P. Smith as General Sales Manager.
This change in management brings all of the Foamite-Childs sales departments
together under one roof. Since August 1, 1923, Mr. Lee has directed the
sales of all Foamite-Childs portable and motorized equipment, including
the Childs motor pick-up street sweeper, Mr. Smith being in charge of
engineering sales, including the Foamite Stationary System installations and
automatic devices. Mr. Lee has resigned in order to return to the Todd
Company, manufacturers of the Protectograph System and other office
appliances at Rochester, N. Y., as their machine sales manager."
July 26, 1926 Simpson's Leader-Times (Kittanning, Pa.):
"Ford City, July 26.—Tests of a fire truck manufactured
by the Foamite Childs Corporation, Utica, N. Y., were given here Saturday
afternoon and evening. The truck was being taken from Utica to Pittsburg for
a demonstration and as the company had submitted a bid to the borough for a
600 gallon pumper a stop was made here for a demonstration.
"Although the truck had been run 425 miles it is
reported to have given very satisfactory tests. The first test was given at
11th street and Sixth avenue and in the evening the truck was taken out to
Crooked creek where the pumper was given a thorough test as to
"While the firemen have recommended to council the
purchase of an American La France 750 gallon pumper won over to the Childs
truck. The truck is a 600 gallon pumper and has been offered to the borough
for $9,000 and those who favor it say it is able to do the work required'
here just as well as any other apparatus. The American LaFrance bid is
"These matters will be threshed out at a meeting of
Borough council next Monday night when action will be taken on the fire
truck bids submitted at the meeting on July 19."
Originally located on Liberty Street, the company moved to Bleecker and
Turner streets after World War I. In 1926, Foamite-Childs was acquired by
the American-LaFrance Corp of Elmira, New York and production of chemical
apparatus transferred to Elmira.
Under the direction of W.J. Childs, the firm's Utica
operations were reorganized as O.J. Childs Inc., which continued to supply
regional fired departments with custom-built apparatus into 1933 as
evidenced by an ad in a 1933 issue of the Commercial Car Journal:
"Sell Motor Fire Apparatus to Your Cities and Towns
Sell Them Your Truck Equipped with Childs' Apparatus
Profit For You and an Advertisement of Great Value
Write Us For Particulars and Catalogue
O.J. Childs Co. Inc., Utica, N.Y."
Time Magazine - Monday, Nov. 26, 1934:
"Business was slow the last year of the Civil War but
Truckson La France of Elmira, N. Y. had an idea. He put on his best bowler
and went to call on the rich Diven family. "I've perfected a rotary fire
engine," he announced. "I want money to make it with." With a snort Old Man
Diven gave him the money. Inventor La France made his first fire engine in
an old brick house, sold it to Elmira. It was enough to scare the horses,
but it had two lines of hose and only one weakness. The cams on the pumps
wore down, refused to deliver the pressure. Firemen fixed that by pouring
molasses over the cams. For years a jug of molasses was regular equipment on
the old "La France."
"Quick to adopt each new improvement in fire-fighting
apparatus, the successors of Truckson La France branched into chemical fire
wagons, doubled their business when fire trucks were motorized. They opened
a plant in New Jersey to manufacture regular commercial trucks, had to
abandon it when Mack Truck and others retaliated by invading the fire
apparatus field. Just before Depression American-La France bought out
Foamite-Childs Corp. of Utica, makers of "Foamite," a patented powder which
mixes with water to produce a fire-fighting gas said to be superior to the
old sulphuric acid, soda and water. As the biggest manufacturer of fire
engines and apparatus in the U. S., American-La France & Foamite Corp. has
for years supplied nearly every important municipality.
"But Depression-ridden cities have stopped buying new
fire engines. American-La France's 1933 sales sank to an unprecedented low
of $2,400,000. about half of 1931 sales. Last week, American-La France's
President Charles B. Rose filed a petition in Federal Court in Manhattan to
reorganize under the Bankruptcy Act. He explained that although his
corporation was still solvent, it could not meet obligations as they
1933 Commercial Car Journal display ad:
"Sell Motor Fire Apparatus to Your Cities and Towns
Sell Them Your Truck Equipped With Childs Apparatus Profit for You and an
Advertisement of Great Value WRITE US FOR PARTICULARS AND CATALOGUE O.J.
CHILDS CO., Inc. UTICA, N.Y."
No further information has been locate and its assumed
the firm retired from business shortly therafter.
© 2004 Mark Theobald - Coachbuilt.com