The models are for visual use only. They are not toys and cannot be casually handled. To handle them is to break them. Many small parts are attached by only a pinhead sized blob of glue.
The models are at a scale of three-eights inch to the foot. For some models I had access to the originals that could be measured and photographed. For others I tried to get a good photo straight-on rather than a three quarter view. A reliable way to determine the scale is to find something of known size such at a soda-acid extinguisher on a running board. That is dependably 24 inches tall. With that measurement everything else could be sized.
All models are scratch built. Materials are cardboard, paper clip wire, pine strips, etc. The hoses are bias tape whipped into hose shape by my wife, Joyce Clague. The only exceptions to that are the tires on those with pneumatics, and a few small parts purloined from ship model supplies.
When I was seven years old, Dad took me to a new fire station where a 1920 ALF front wheel ladder truck, picture 054 had recently been reassigned from Truck 5 to newly organized Truck 15. I made a model of it years later, from memory, then even later, about 1965, made the one pictured: Picture 048 on the bottom row of page 2 of index pictures is the one that got me started in model building. This truck is actually a horse-drawn piece, equipped with a two wheel tractor replacing the front wheels. The front wheels do everything: power and braking. The rear wheels just trail and tiller. There is no wind shield, and the siren was hand cranked.
Looking at the Mack bulldog Baltimore pumper, which is the first one pictured, the coal scuttle hood is made of 3x5 index card stock. Once the shape was attained, after several tries, several coats of white enamel were applied. The fenders are tin from a tin can. The hose is bias binding tape from my wife’s sewing supplies. That engine in real life has an army surplus 1917 chassis and a hose bed from a horse drawn hose wagon. It has a basket above the hose bed that seems to be a peculiarity of Baltimore apparatus
The second model, a 1961 Pirsch was District of Columbia FD Engine 31, and was made from the original. The grille bars are paper clip wire, the bell is a ship model part, as are those parts on the Brookline piece with the covered body. On page 2 of the models, the tractor drawn ladder truck, the ladder spars are thin strips of pine ripped on a table saw. In making such parts, they must be allowed to sit overnight so that any warping will occur before they are used on a model.
Spokes are 1/16 dowels on all models such as the 1880 chemical and hose. And the 1895 ALF pumper that was DC FD Engine 18. The later was done from the original.