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Brockway, Gone but not Forgotten

History is a funny machine; things come and things go. Some are long remembered and others are soon forgotten. Some are merely misplaced or set aside, to be picked up, brushed off, and become the fuel of fond memories. So it is with Brockway Trucks.

The Brockway Motor Company was founded in 1875 as the Brockway Carriage Works by William Brockway. In September of 1909 George Brockway, his son, embarked upon a pilot project to manufacture motorized trucks. However, it was not until 1912 that the Brockway Motor Truck Company of Cortland, NY was first announced.

The Automobile Trade Journal in March of 1918 reported that the Maryland Motor Fast Freight Company was operating a "fleet" of Brockways to transport freight between Baltimore and Washington. Their fleet consisted of four 3-1/2 ton trucks with bodies and enclosed cabs. To complement these trucks, the company reportedly operated 3-ton trailers equipped with similar bodies. Although meager by today's standards, this fleet of four Brockways remains an interesting footnote in history.

Through the years Brockway continued to grow and mature as a brand and soon began attracting the attention of competitors. The H & B American Machine Company, White Motor Company, Continental Motors Corporation, and Mack Trucks, Incorporated all considered purchasing Brockway. Finally in August of 1956 Mack finalized a deal. Brockway had become an autonomous division of Mack Trucks, Inc.

However, the manufacturing methods of the two firms were extremely different. Mack had adopted a modern assembly line approach, while Brockway built their trucks to order and assembled them where they stood. Their manufacturing techniques had not changed since 1912. Mack soon made upgrades, including replacing the unpopular Continental Diesel engines, with reliable Cummins power.

As Mack Trucks had the iconic Bulldog mascot, it was soon decided that Brockway should have their own unique emblem. The equally famous Brockway Huskie first appeared on the 1958 Brockway Model N-260TL. As the story goes, the son of Brockway employee Bill Duncan was watching the popular television show "Sgt. Preston of the Yukon" when he suggested that the shows canine co-star would make a good mascot. Brockway management agreed and soon after the Brockway Huskie became the company's very first hood ornament.

Although still popular in New York, Pennsylvania and along the Atlantic Seaboard, sales continued to decline in the through the early 1960's. However, sales did rebound and in the May 1968 issue of "Overdrive" magazine it was named "The Most Rugged Truck in the World". The magazine would go on to feature numerous Brockways inside and on the cover.

 'Overdrive', the most popular trucking magazine of its day, christened Brockway as "The Most Rugged Truck in the World!' in its May 1968 issue, and during the next decade would feature numerous Brockways inside and on the cover. Brockway enjoyed banner years in 1971 and 1972 selling over 2,000 trucks per year but closed for good in June 1977. Like many classic trucks, the Brockway still enjoys a loyal fan base and although its place on the highways is no more, its place in the history of the trucking industry will always remain.


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