First Kensington VFD Fire Truck Purchased from Reed Brothers Dodge

The first piece of fire apparatus purchased by the Kensington (Maryland) Volunteer Fire Department was a 1925 Dodge-Graham fire engine purchased from Reed Brothers Dodge at a cost of $5,000. It was not a complete truck when purchased, however.

From the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department’s “History” webpage:

1922 was the birth of the Kensington Volunteer Fire Department. With little money, a Dodge truck was purchased from Reed Brothers Dodge in Rockville. A custom fire body was then built and fitted on the truck by Jacobs Brothers in Gaithersburg who ran the Wheelwright Shop on East Diamond Avenue. To raise money, the volunteers held carnivals. The Fire Department incorporated in 1925, and two years later moved into a permanent home in the basement of the National Guard Armory.

Kensington VFD first fire truck

The Evening Star, 16 Aug 1925

A bit of Dodge-Graham Brothers history: Dodge trucks actually began with three brothers named Graham. In reality, it is the story of two companies – the Dodge Brothers Company and the Graham Brothers Company. In 1916, seeing the need for a good, dependable truck to serve people, the Graham brothers entered the truck body business. By 1919, they had produced the “Truck-builder,” which is a basic platform from which a customer could spec a truck according to his or her needs. The Truck Builder was essentially a truck conversion that began with a passenger car.

In 1921, Dodge Brothers began to market Graham Brothers medium-duty trucks through its dealerships; in turn, every Graham vehicle utilized a Dodge engine. This partnership provided Dodge dealers with a full line of trucks to sell in addition to the highly regarded Dodge passenger cars, and the resulting sales increases prompted Dodge to buy the Graham Brothers Company.

The Dodge trucks would carry the Graham Brothers nameplate until 1928 with a few of the designs lasting as long as the 1930s.

Pictured below is not the Kensington engine, but a fully restored 1925 Dodge-Graham Brothers Era Chemical Pumper that was probably very similar to the original one that was used.

Fully Restored 1925 Dodge-Graham Brothers Era Chemical Pumper

Fully Restored 1925 Dodge-Graham Brothers Era Chemical Pumper


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About Reed Brothers

I am a co-owner of the former Reed Brothers Dodge in Rockville, Maryland. Lewis Reed, the founder of Reed Brothers Dodge was my grandfather. We were a family-owned and operated car dealership in Rockville for almost a century. I served in the United States Air Force for 30 years before retiring in the top enlisted grade of Chief Master Sergeant in July 2006. In 2016, I received the Arthur M. Wagman Award for Historic Preservation Communication from Peerless Rockville for documenting the history of Reed Brothers Dodge in both blog and book format. This distinguished honor recognizes outstanding achievement by writers, educators, and historians whose work has heightened public awareness of Rockville’s architectural and cultural heritage, growth and development.

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