Photo: Ted Alexis, VFDHS
Bob Rivers’ Seagrave
aerial tractor has been a frequent feature
of events such as the annual Truck Parade during the Christmas
The 19 August 1938 issue of the Victoria
Daily Times announced the arrival of a brand new Bickle Seagrave
Aerial. It was an important event for Victoria, the Fire Department,
and for the Woodstock, Ontario Bickle Seagrave Company. The
new apparatus was one of the first purchased in Canada to
be equipped with the new 85 foot all meta, hydraulically-raised
ladder mounted on the trailer.
So important was this occasion to the Company,
that It’s head, Robert Bickle, traveled to Victoria
in order to make certain that all was as it should be with
the new rig. The tractor was powered by the standard Seagrave
12- cylinder 240 hp engine.
At what at the time must have seemed the
staggering price of $22,000 the new apparatus was desperately
The 1911 Seagrave the new aerial replaced
was among the last pieces of horse drawn apparatus acquired
by the VFD, and like all horse drawn apparatus was motorized
with the replacement of its original draft gear by a Seagrave
tractor. Long before the 1938 arrival of the new truck, the
1911 aerial was considered unsafe and all but “unuseable”.
The 1938 aerial provided excellent service
and had its engine replaced once before it was withdrawn from
service in the late 1960s. A new 1965 LaFrance had taken over
the role of Aerial One. A new 1971 commercial pattern International
took over `tractor’ duties for the 1938 aerial trailer,
until that too was disposed of, and sadly, later scrapped.
Text: David Parker, Historian/Curator, VFDHS
Photo: Ken McAllister
Photo: Linda Parker, VFDHS
The Seagrave Tractor, fitted
with a flat deck over the fifth wheel position
transports the VFDHS 1880s hose reel in the Firebells and
Fanfare Parade in 1999.