Maxim, known variously as Maxim Motor Company, the Maxim Motor Division of Seagrave Corporation and FWD/Seagrave Corporation, Maxim Industries, Maxim Motors Company Inc. and Maxim Inc. throughout its lifetime, was a fire apparatus manufacturer located in Middleborough, Massachusetts.


Carlton Maxim (1859-1935) opened a car sales company in Middleborough in the early 1900s. In 1912, he was dissatisfied with a fire truck purchased by the Middleborough Fire Department and built a second one two years later. The truck was a success and more orders followed. A redesigned line of trucks was launched in 1921 and the company prospered. Maxim weathered the Great Depression, partly by building on commercial chassis, and like most apparatus builders, prospered again during the Second World War and in the boom years after. A full entry into the aerial ladder market followed in 1947, and Maxim became the US distributor for the German-made Magirus ladder. Maxim also built aerial assemblies for Crown, Mack and Ward LaFrance. Most of Maxim's sales were in the US northeast, but deliveries were also made to the Seattle Fire Department and several departments in Indiana.

Family run for decades, Seagrave Corporation acquired Maxin in 1956. Seagrave (and by extension FWD) owned Maxim until 1975, when it was purchased by a group of investors from Connecticut. The same group owned Ward LaFrance, and some production was consolidated between the two companies. Ward LaFrance ceased operations in 1979 and Maxim was sold again in 1981. As was the case with a number of "classic" apparatus builders, the 1980s were very hard on Maxim. There were more name and ownership changes and a brief 1986-1988 relocation from Middleborough to Andover, Massachusetts. Maxim finally went out of business in 1989.

See also

Departments operating Maxim apparatus


  • McCall, Walter M.P. Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Fire Engine Manufacturers. Hudson, WI: Iconografix, 2009.
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