This engine was delivered to the Volunteer Fire Department of Pullman, Washington, where it was in first line service until 1961, when it was placed out of service and sold to a retired Pullman firefighter. He used it in parades for about thirty years. It was sold to Mr. Jonathan Ornstein of Paradise Valley, Arizona in 1992. Mr. Ornstein donated the rig to the Hall of Flame in 2007.
Don Hale restored the engine to its original configuration in 2008. The engine has a 1,000 gallon per minute pump of the rotary style. Its original chemical tank was replaced with an 80 gallon booster tank. It can carry over 1200 feet of hose. These capabilities make it a “Triple Combination” fire engine. It also carries an extension ladder, but it was rated only as an accessory, like an ax or pike pole.
The straight six T Head engine has three spark plugs per cylinder. The three spark plug configuration sets it apart from the Type 12 engines, which had only two spark plugs per cylinder. The engine was thus designated the Type 45. There are no other differences between this engine and the much more popular Type 12. One set of plugs is powered by a battery and controlled by a distributor. Two sets of plugs are powered by a magneto. This allowed the engine to continue running even if the battery became depleted. Three plugs also provided multiple sparks to ignite the low octane gasoline used by motor vehicles in the 1920s.
Most American La France engines in the early 1920s came with hard rubber tires. This rig was delivered with pneumatic tires that allowed it to reach a top speed of about 35 miles per hour.