March 14

This Day in History

Automotive

Mar 14, 1922:

Mack Truck founder killed in car crash

John "Jack" Mack, who co-founded what would become one of North America's largest makers of heavy-duty trucks, is killed when his car collides with a trolley in Pennsylvania on March 14, 1922.

In 1890, Jack Mack went to work for Fallesen & Berry, a carriage and wagon company in Brooklyn, New York. Three years later, Mack and his brother Augustus bought the business. In 1900, the siblings founded the Mack Brothers Company and began making motorized vehicles. In 1905, they began producing trucks in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where the company continues to be headquartered today. In addition to trucks, the business built buses and railway cars. In 1910, Mack Brothers developed the first motorized hook-and-ladder fire truck for Morristown, New Jersey.

After the brothers sold their company to investors in 1911, it continued to flourish, and during World War I, Mack built thousands of trucks for the American and British governments. The company acquired its trademark bulldog logo when British soldiers said the truck's blunt-nosed hood and durability reminded them of their country's mascot, the bulldog. In 1922, the year Jack Mack died in a car crash, the company was renamed Mack Trucks Inc.

In 2001, Mack was acquired by Volvo of Sweden. Today, Mack trucks are sold in over 45 countries worldwide and the expression "it hit me like a Mack truck" (meaning something that creates a powerful impact) is part of the American lexicon.

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