June 27, 2024


Maxim Motor Co. (1914-1985)
Middleboro, Massachusetts

This is a Maxim radiator emblem (1914-c1931)    mjs
Size: 62mm diameter    MM: Bastian Bros

Maxim entered the motor vehicle manufacturing market with a light assembled truck but, after a few had been produced, Maxim decided to concentrate on fire engines. The first Maxim fire engine was built on a Thomas chassis in 1914 for the Middleboro Fire Department and was so well received that new orders for similar fire apparatus were received from other communities. In 1916, Maxim produced their first complete fire engines on their own assembled chassis and the Maxim Motor Company was incorporated in 1918, by when there was a range of Maxim motor pumpers and fire trucks, which was continued for several years.

The Maxim was widely recognised for its distinctive, well-built fire apparatus, which were successful throughout the 1920's.  Along with other motor manufacturers, Maxim suffered the effects of the Depression but, nevertheless, introduced a major, stylish redesign of its custom chassis motor fire apparatus in 1932. In the mid-1930's, Maxim aimed to reduce the costs of their fire apparatus by using standard commercial truck chassis. There was another styling change starting in 1936, which continued through the early 1940's. 

Maxim made a significant contribution to the war effort during the Second World War. A new distinctive and handsome postwar fire apparatus design was introduced by Maxim in 1947. With minor detailed changes and improvements this design remained in production until 1960. 

The Seagrave Corporation (see Seagrave) acquired Maxim in 1956 but the company continued to be operated independently. FWD (see FWD) acquired Seagrave in 1963 and Maxim became a subsidiary of FWD but, again, continued to produce fire apparatus under its own name. However. production of the Maxim came to an end in 1985.


Original photos of early Maxim fire apparatus do not show the radiator emblem with detailed clarity but the Maxim did carry a radiator emblem from the start in 1914, see examples shown below: 

Maxim Model F fire truck with radiator emblem (1914)    dick adelman

This is a Maxim ladder truck showing radiator emblem (1919)    dick adelman

It appears likely that the same Maxim emblem may have been used from 1914 to about 1931, see surviving Maxim fire truck radiator emblem shown below:

This is a Maxim radiator emblem (1927)    flickr

This is the red and white enamel Maxim radiator emblem shown above at the top of this post. This design of Maxim radiator emblem appears to have returned in about 1938, as described later below. Over the long period of use of this Maxim emblem, some differences in detail are likely, for example, see the following Maxim radiator emblem, which has thinner letters around the emblem border. 

This is a Maxim radiator emblem (c1914-1931; c1938-c1968) mjs
Size:62mm diameter   MM: Bastian Bros

The Maxim fire truck chassis was redesigned for 1932 and the radiator was given a new emblem. This is the gold and black enamel Maxim radiator emblem shown below. This Maxim radiator emblem is scarce.

This is a Maxim radiator emblem (1932-c1937)   mjs
Size: 81mm wide 49mm high   MM: D L Auld

By 1938, the round Maxim radiator emblem shown earlier above and at the top of this post was back and then remained in use at least until the late 1960's, see example below. The emblem was mounted either on the top of the radiator shell or on the radiator grille and, on models using commercial truck chassis, on the sides of the hood.

Maxim radiator emblem (1966)   ms

I have been unable to identify the dates and place of use of the following painted version of the Maxim radiator emblem or of the red and white enamel Maxim emblems shown below, all of which are rare:

This is a Maxim emblem (date unknown)     mjs
Size: 62mm diameter   MM: None

This is a Maxim emblem (date unknown)    mjs
Size: 62mm diameter    MM: Unknown

This is a Maxim emblem (date unknown)    mjs
Size: 61mm diameter    MM: Bastian Bros

If you can help to identify any of the Maxim emblems shown above, please let me know, in order to update this post.

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