D.E. McCann & Sons - 1872-1897 - McCann Truck Co. - McCann Corp. - 1897-1957 - Portland, Maine, Scarborough, Maine

    McCann is known today for their fire engines, but also built some custom automobile bodies and commercial bodies for the residents of Portland and adjacent communities in northeastern New England.


Documenting A Legacy by Lisa M. Kristoff - Boothbay Register

Elizabeth McCann, a daughter of the late Carl McCann, granddaughter of Daniel E. McCann, founder of the Portland-based McCann Truck Company, endeavors to find all existing McCann Fire Trucks.

"This is not just a hobby; this is serious business," stated Elizabeth McCann on Sunday, April 29 at the Boothbay Railway Village in Boothbay. McCann was the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Antique Auto Club of America (AACA). Members of the Pine Tree Chapter of the American Truck Historical Society (ATHS) were also present. The AACA had extended an invitation to the ATHS in the hope that both groups might be some assistance to McCann with her project of the past three years: chronicling the McCann Truck Company.

Elizabeth McCann's project will result in a book she envisions to be, "...a coffee table kind of book. A pictorial with blueprints, sites/lo-cations, facts and stories." Begun in January 1999 as a "lasting legacy to my Father, Carl McCann and my Uncle Dennis McCann. The team for life."

The McCann Truck Company, later the McCann Corporation, spanned the years of 1897-1957. A brief history of this family company begins with Daniel E. McCann, husband to Annie, father of 11 children, founding D. E. McCann & Sons in 1872, on Preble Street in Portland, Maine. The company manufactured carriages and both horse drawn and man-pulled fire engines.

The McCann Time Line

1907 -- Brothers Carl, now an accomplished draftsman and Dennis unite to take over the reins following Daniel's death.

1909 -- The first vehicle manufactured by the two is a horse drawn horse wagon for the Portland Fire Dept.

1911 -- Carl devises a hitch for use with horse drawn equipment. Hitch has the look of a three wheel tractor with a metal bar across the front with hooks for the horses protruding from it.

1912 -- The dawning of the motorized fire trucks.

1915 -- An addition is built on to 63 Preble Street that became 63-65 Preble. D.E. McCann & Sons is now only one out of seven other manufacturers of motorized trucks in the United States.

1919 -- the cornerstone of the company's two story brick building was laid on the corner of Oxford and Preble Streets. Each floor was 16,000 square feet and one of the largest buildings for manufacturing fire apparatus in New England."

1922 -- Another addition is necessary for the increased demand and production capability.


In 1872, Daniel E. McCann began the business "D.E. McCann and Sons" on Preble Street in Portland, Maine - as a blacksmith and carriage maker.  The company specialized in horse-drawn and man-pulled fire apparatus.

When Daniel died in 1907, Carl, his youngest son (and the youngest of eleven children), took over the business.  Shortly after, his older brother, Dennis, returned to Portland and joined him in the business.

From horse-drawn and man-pulled fire apparatus, D.E. McCann and Sons quickly moved into the automotive age by building motorized fire trucks in 1912.

During this period of time, D.E. McCann and Sons were one of seven manufacturers in the United States and the only manufacturer in the State of Maine that produced motorized fire apparatus.

The business expanded twice at the original site.  In 1929, they built a larger building further down Preble Street, but the additions and the new building were not sufficient to accommodate the expanding business.

In 1931, the business bought several acres of land on Route 1 in Scarborough, Maine and built a large "U" shaped building in an assembly line fashion.  A chassis entered on one side of the building, progressed through the different production shops (machine, body, welding, wood and paint shops) and exited on the other side of the building as a completed fire truck ready for delivery.

The business was terminated in the mid '50's.  The building was sold in 1954.



For more information please read:


Lisa M. Kristoff - Documenting A Legacy  - Boothbay Register, May 10, 2001

Walter M.P. McCall & George H. Dammann - American Fire Engines Since 1900

Fred W. Crismon - Fire Engines

Bob Dubbert - Encyclopedia of Canadian Fire Apparatus

Donal M. Baird - A Canadian History of Fire Engines

Phil DaCosta - One Hundred Years of America's Fire Fighting Apparatus

Bill Hass - History of the American Water Towers

Hans Halberstadt - The American Fire Engine

Hans Halberstadt - Fire Engines

T.A. Jacobs - A History of Fire Engines

Matthew Lee - A Pictorial History of the Fire Engine

M.W. Goodman MD - Inventing the American Fire Engine: An Illustrated History of Fire Engine Patents

Consumer's Guide - The Complete Book of Fire Engines: A colorful Review of Today's Fire Apparatus

Sheila Buff - Fire Engines in North America

Sheila Buff - Fire Engines: Motorized Apparatus Since 1900

Neil Wallington - World Encyclopedia of Fire Engines: an illustrated guide to fire trucks around the world

Keith Ryan & Neil Wallington - The Illustrated History of Fire Engines

Paul Barrett - Heavy Rescue Trucks: 1931 - 2000 Photo Gallery

Larry Shapiro - Aerial Fire Trucks

Larry Shapiro - Fighting Fire Trucks

Larry Shapiro - Hooks and Ladders

Larry Shapiro - Pumpers: Workhorse Fire Engines

Donald F. Wood - American Volunteer Fire Trucks

Donald F. Wood - Big City Fire Truck 1900-1950

Donald F. Wood & Wayne Sorensen - Big City Fire Trucks: 1951-1996

Donald F. Wood & Wayne Sorenson - Motorized Fire Apparatus of the West, 1900-1960

Donald F. Wood & Wayne Sorensen - New York City Fire Trucks

Donald F. Wood & Wayne Sorenson - Volunteer & Rural Fire Apparatus Photo Gallery

Kenneth Little - Chicago Fire Department engines: Sixty years of motorized pumpers, 1912-1972

Kenneth Little - Chicago Fire Department hook & ladder tractors, 1914-1971

Ron Jeffers - The apparatus of the Jersey City Fire Department: Yesterday and today

John Rieth - Jersey Shore Fire Apparatus: Classic Thru the 60's

Philip R. Lincoln - Massachusetts fire apparatus: A pictorial Collection

Charles Madderom - Los Angeles City Fire Apparatus: 1953 Through 1999 Photo Archive

George Klass - Fire apparatus: A pictorial history of the Los Angeles Fire Department

John A. Calderone - Wheels of the bravest: A history of FDNY fire apparatus, 1865-1992

Peter Aloisi - Apparatus and fires across America: Featuring former FDNY apparatus

Scott Schimpf - Fire Apparatus of Philadelphia

Harrold Shell - Past and present: A history of Phoenix fire trucks

Leo E. Duliba - Industrial & Private Fire Apparatus: 1925 Through 2001 Photo Archive

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

George W. Green - Special-Use Vehicles: An Illustrated History of Unconventional Cars and Trucks

William T. King - History of the American Steam Fire-Engine

John M. Peckham - Fighting fire with fire: A pictorial volume of steam fire-fighting apparatus

Ed Hass - The Dean of Steam Fire Engine Builders

Richard J. Gergel - American Fire Apparatus Co.: 1922-1993 Photo Archive

Richard J. Gergel - Imperial Fire Apparatus: 1969 Through 1976 Photo Archive

William D. Killen - Navy and Marine Corp Fire Apparatus 1900-2000: Photo Gallery

Joel L. Gebet - Saulsbury Fire Rescue Apparatus : 1956-2003 Photo Archive

Scott Mattson - Tasc Fire Apparatus: 1946 Through 1985 Photo Archive

John H. Rieth - Wildland Fire Apparatus 1940-2001: Photo Gallery


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