Mack

Corporate History

1900-1909

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


1900
The early years of this century were years full of invention, the revolutionary effects of which we're still feeling today. In 1902, Willis Carrier introduced air conditioning; in 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright flew the first successful airplane at Kitty Hawk; and in 1908, Henry Ford introduced the Model T.

 

 

 

During this same time, John Mack and his brothers were hard at work setting the pace for an entirely new mode of commercial transportation. In the spirit of these other great pioneers, John Mack had a vision -- to produce the most durable and powerful heavy-duty trucks and engines in the world. The innovative designs and products he created began a tradition of innovation that has continued to this day. From the second Mack vehicle on, Mack Engines were introduced establishing the tradition of "balanced design" (in which the integration of the powertrain and vehicle design maximize performance) that continues today.

John Mack had already spent years researching and experimenting with his own design for a motorized wagon by the time he and his brothers opened their first bus manufacturing plant in 1900. The work paid off the same year, when the brothers introduced their first successful vehicle -- a 40-horsepower, 20-passenger bus. The Mack bus, built for sightseeing concessionaire Harris and McGuire, operated in Brooklyn's Prospect Park for eight years before being converted into a truck. The vehicle racked up a million miles of service, the first in a long line of Mack vehicles to do so. The success and acceptance of "Old No. 1" initiated a history of truck development unparalleled in the industry, and established a company whose reputation for tough, high-quality products has since become "part of the language."

The brothers were also doing automotive repairs at this time.

Mack used a slogan in advertisements for many years, especially when we produced buses..."The first Mack was a bus and the first bus was a Mack."

The actual inspiration for building a large commercial motor vehicle truck is reported to have occurred when Jack Mack was invited for a ride in a neighbor's new 2-cylinder Winton automobile. The neighbor was Theodore Heilbron, captain of William Randolph Hearst's private yacht, who lived at 33 Third Avenue, a block from the Mack shop on Atlantic Avenue. The ride most likely took place in the fall, when the new 1902 Winton touring car was introduced. The superior performance of the new Winton soon had the two automobilists in an enthusiastic mood. And it was not long before their conversation centered on the future developments of gasoline engines and motor vehicles.

Mack Brothers Company is incorporated in New York with John M., Augustus F., and William C. Mack as the directors.

 

 

 

 


1900 -1960
Mack produced many different types and models of buses from the first Mack produced in 1900 until 1960. Over 22,000 units were built as school, transit, suburban, or intercity buses. Buses were also used as mobile post offices, sheriff's units, or medical x-ray vehicles, both for hospital type x-rays or track x-rays in subway systems. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


1904
Mack Brothers Company begins using "Manhattan" as the trade name for their motorized vehicles, probably to distinguish them from the company's horse-drawn product line. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


1905
The acceptance of Mack as a rugged, heavy-duty truck led to the selection in 1905 of Allentown, Pennsylvania as the home of the main manufacturing operations of the new Mack Brothers Motor Car Company.  

 

 

 

Mack Brothers Motor Car Company is incorporated in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. Brother Joseph Mack becomes a stockholder.

Mack was one of the first manufacturers to mount a cab directly over the engine, which increased driver visibility and maneuverability, particularly on crowded city streets. The "Manhattan" cab-over-engine model was introduced in 1905.

Gus Mack patented a constant mesh feature that protected gears from being damaged or stripped by inexperienced drivers. His brother, Jack Mack, patented the selective feature that allowed drivers to immediately shift from high to low, and vice versa, without going through intermediate speeds. Other manufacturers incorporated these patented Mack designs into their vehicles for several years.

Mack built rail cars and locomotives from 1905 until 1930. In the period 1951 through 1954, the company built 40 forward control diesel rail cars. 

 


1906
Mack Brothers Manufacturing Company is set up to continue the operation of the Brooklyn plant, which is still manufacturing wagons, and repairing automobiles. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


1909
Mack introduces the Junior model, a light-weight 1-1/2 ton truck.

 

 

 

 

The Mack Senior truck was right-hand steer and chain drive. The Junior was left-hand steer and chain drive.