Pirsch and Sons
Peter Pirsch (b. ) founded Pirsch and Sons, Incorporated, a Kenosha, Wisconsin based manufacturer of fire apparatus. Pirsch was very successful from the 1920s through the 1980s. The Memphis, Tennessee Fire Department and the Washington DC Fire Department were both particularly loyal customers of Pirsch fire trucks.
Peter Pirsch was the son of a pioneer Wisconsin wagon builder who patented a compound trussed extension ladder in 1899 and went on to make hand- and horsedrawn ladder trucks. His first motorized ladder truck was on a Rambler chassis, and this was followed by others based on Couple Gear, White, Duplex, Nash and Dodge. In 1926 came the first complete Peter Pirsch fire engines; these were 150 to 750gpm pumpers, chemical and hose trucks powered by 6-cylinder Waukesha engines. In 1928 came a pumper with fully-enclosed cab, the first of its kind from a major US manufacturer, and in 1931 a one man operation hydro-mechanical aerial ladder hoist used on an 85 ft articulated ladder truck. By this time Pirsch were building mostly on their own chassis, although others occasionally used were Sterling (1933), International (1936) and Diamond T (1937). Cabs were bought from General Motors for many years. In 1938 came the first 100 ft aluminum alloy closed lattice aerial ladder which became a Peter Pirsch specialty and is still used today.
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s a wide range of fire engines, including articulated ladder trucks were made, with power coming mostly from Hercules or Waukesha engines. All these had their engines under hoods, and the first cab forward model came in 1961 with a flat-fronted cab which is still used today. Conventionals and cab-forwards were made through the 1960s with little change, and Pirsch were also offering their specialties on other chassis such as Ford and Mack CF. Very few conventionals were made after 1970, and current production centers on rigid and articulated cab-forward units, mostly with diesel engines.
Pirsch and Sons discontinued production of their trucks in the early 1980s after reorganization of the company, with the last truck coming off the line in 1987.
Griffin, GA E-1
They are responding on a fire call in this photo. Approx. 1980 Ford/Pirsch. Looks to have been repai...