The Ahrens-Fox Fire Engine Company was an Ohio-based fire truck manufacturer founded in 1910 by John P. Ahrens and Charles H. Fox. The company built its first motorized fire engine in 1911 and continued production until 1977, with over 1500 pieces of fire apparatus holding the Ahrens-Fox brand. Ahrens-Fox fire engines were known for their quality, durability, and long service life, as well as the iconic spherical air chamber atop a front-mounted piston pump. They were the leading builders of fire apparatus prior to World War II, renowned for their piston pumps, but they also constructed a variety of apparatus using rotary and centrifugal pumps.
From 1915 onward, Ahrens-Fox identified its products with an alphanumeric combination of letters and numbers, which indicated the motor, pumping capacity, and equipment carried. This is where the 1917 Model MK 2 received its designation, Model M standing for a six-cylinder engine with a 750 gallon-per-minute pumper. The vehicle also features a specially ordered Holyoke pattern hose body, featuring flared sides and a divided seat on top to hold helmets and other equipment. A 20-foot rapid hoist extension and a 12-foot single roof with folding hooks were also added, as well as the famed Ahrens-Fox air chamber and multiplex pump.
In 1917, Ahrens-Fox delivered the Model MK2 Pumper to the City of Concord Fire Department in New Hampshire for $8,250.00. The brand-new pumper was assigned to Station No. 1 and was designated Engine One from then on. After its retirement from the City of Concord, the engine changed hands many times, until it eventually landed in the lap of restorer Nelson B. Barber of Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
Restoration began in 1978 – 61 years after the apparatus was produced. Barber replaced the pneumatic tires that had been added with time-appropriate hard rubber tires, as well as the rims. 24-karatgold leaf was also added by Ken Soderbeck of Jackson, Michigan to add a beautiful sparkle to the vehicle. Conn Instrument Company of Elkhart, Indiana added the last piece of restoration, a hard nickel plating to prevent tarnish.