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.
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