John Bean Co. Fire Jeeps


Another midwest U.S. fire apparatus manufacturer who delivered Forward Control Fire Trucks on the Jeep FC platform was John Bean Co. of Lansing, Michigan.

John BeanJohn Bean trucks can often be identified by distinctive covered booster reels (30K JPEG). This 1963 FC-170 Bean Piston Pumper was originally built for McGuire Air Force Base, then later sold to the Berkeley Heights, New Jersey F.D.

Since retirement it has been displayed at Chrysler events (70K JPEG) and as of 2008 belongs to Cecil DeLoach at Hook and Ladder Winery in California (see The FC Connection.)

John Bean 200 Series An advertisement for the John Bean 200 Series (140K JPEG) boasts of "fire-killing wallop with the scat and mobility of a sports car." It lists Model 200FJ as carrying a 200-gallon tank on the FC-170 chassis, although an illustration shows an FC-150.

These mini-pumpers used a high-pressure pump and fog nozzles, which "stretches 200 gallons of water a long way." John Bean promoted their high-pressure-fog system extensively from the 1940s to the 1960s.

See more on early Bean fog engines in a story about an Early CJ-2A Fire Engine on CJ3B.info.

Steve Mieszala photo A 1960 FC-150 was in service with the Princeton, Iowa Fire Department, which has long used a white and gold livery. This truck is unusual for its dual rear wheels, supporting 250 gallons of water, which is an ample supply for a high-pressure fog system. Photo by Steve Mieszala.

Courtesy Scott Billingsley This FC-150 with an unknown history is in the two-tone red and white paint scheme that Bean seemed to favor. Photo courtesy Scott Billingsley, taken at an FC gathering.

Courtesy Dennis Duffer Jr. In fact, Bean may have been the only manufacturer to frequently use the little FC-150, which is rarely seen with other nameplates.

Thanks to Dennis Duffer Jr. for photos of this high pressure FC-150 complete with a load of hose, at a decommissioned Corning Glass plant in Pennsylvania.

Courtesy Dennis Duffer Jr. The booster line fog nozzle is clearly seen in this photo.

Another glass company that used FC fire engines was Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass, who had several Howe FC-170 Jeeps.

Courtesy Josh Halligan Here's another fog engine which appears to be a Bean, but this time it's an FC-170. It also served an industrial plant, and when Josh Halligan took these photos was still lettered on its doors (100K JPEG) for the US Steel complex in Duluth, Minnesota.

Postcard The Duluth Works opened in 1915 and was briefly one of the world's most advanced steel plants. Most of the steel it produced was shipped to other facilities for finishing, but in the 1940s when this postcard photo was taken, it also reportedly turned out more than 200,000 miles of barbed wire and 23,000 miles of woven fencing in a year.

Courtesy Josh Halligan In the 1950s and early 1960s, when the Jeep was purchased, US Steel was still investing in improvements to the Duluth plant. By the late 1960s however, foreign steel was cheaper than what could be produced domestically, and the Duluth Works was also recognized as a major source of pollution. The facility was completely closed by 1981. (Wikipedia)

High pressure demo A demonstration high-pressure fog unit on an FC-170 chassis is seen here on loan to the Chicago Fire Department in 1961.

CFD apparently purchased only one "Fog Pressure Jeep," according to ChicagoAreaFire.com. Their later fog units were from Darley / International Harvester (320K JPEG). Photos by Warren Redick.

See also some unique special apparatus in Chicago FD's Jeep FC Units.

Thanks to all the photographers. -- Derek Redmond

See more Forward Control Fire Trucks.

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Last updated 9 October 2020 by Derek Redmond redmond@cj3b.info
All content not credited and previously copyright, is copyright Derek Redmond