1928 Graham Brothers

1928 Graham Brothers (Canada) / Duncan Iron Works Chemical & Hose Wagon
1928 Graham Brothers truck in original condition, ca. 1930
Builder Duncan Iron Works, Duncan, British Columbia
Serial # DIW #1
In Service From 1928-1952

This truck is currently undergoing  restoration since 2015

The year was 1928, the Great Depression had just begun its death grip on the industrialized world. Duncan in general was about to realize that being financially sound was irrelevant by October 1928.

Since the effects of the Great Depression had taken hold, the prospects of acquiring a new fire truck became nearly impossible due to the city budget tightening (something that was not new to the department, the same problem happened with the Model T); as such, some equipment had to be sold in order to get funds for a new truck: one of the Ford motor cars that were converted was sold, it's equipment stripped off and put aside when a new truck chassis was bought.

The new truck that was chosen was a 1928 Graham Brothers (Canada) 2-ton chassis, it's total cost was roughly $2,445.00 CAD, while another $555 dollars was paid to Duncan Iron Works for constructing a fire body and transfering the equipment off the aforementioned Ford motor car to the Graham. The truck was supposedly completed by early 1929.

Built as a chemical & hose wagon, it was essentialy built as a "better version of the Model T"; that all changed in 1936, the truck was sent to the shops to be retooled as a pumper, along with several additions to the fire body:

The Graham, beside the McLaughlin-Buick ARP truck, mid 1940s

Duncan Fire Hall, mid 1940s. Graham on left, McLaughlin-Buick on right

click to enlarge
  • A Darley-Champion PTO-driven water pump was installed in the front of the truck
  • An electronic siren made by Darley-Champion, replacing a Sterling hand-crank siren on the firewall.
  • A Ladder rack was added to the fire body, mounted on the top, giving the truck extra ladder storage
  • A booster tank was presumably installed where the twin chemical tanks were mounted
  • The truck was repainted, and given a windshield

The Graham was considered grossly outdated by the late 1940s, therefore it was decided to put the truck to pasture. In 1952, coinciding with the department's 50th Anniversary, the Graham was honourably retired in a ceremony which saw its firefighting equipment removed, its services had been taken over by a 1952 GMC.

The Graham in Mill Bay, ca. 1954

The Graham, supposedly in service with Mill Bay VFD, note the front PTO pump has been removed from the truck,
with a midship water pump mounted behind the seat.

After service in DVFD, the truck was given to Duncan Public Works, then was sold to Mill Bay Volunteer Fire Department who had used the truck for at least 3 years (1955 to 1957). It was later sold by Mill Bay VFD to a logging outfit who used the truck in the bush as a water tender, and when its services were no longer required, it found a home on a farm. The truck finally wound up in ownership of a DFFHS member for 30 years after that in an effort to preserve the truck in its current state.

The truck in it's current state, down to the chassis, coated with anti-rust paint.
The chassis is now partially mobile, with the rear leaf springs, rear axle mounted.

Click to enlarge


With the Model T in the workshop, work on the Graham chassis has stopped as it is stored in our DFFHS transport trailer. Much work has continued on the sheet metal- with many pieces that are unavailable being restored or re-created from scratch. DFFHS had been very fortunate to team up with master metal guru Ben Verduin, who has worked his magic on the fenders and hood. These parts were out in the elements for over 40 years. Currently the Moto-Gard radiator shutters have proved to be very labor intensive.

Click to enlarge photos

02-18-24-Update on Resto project ' 28 Graham Bros Fire truck. The frame is complete and engine and transmission are back in. It finally sits on its own 4 wheels with new rubber and brakes all around.

Truck cab cowl/firewall restored. (Thanks Ben-)

Special thanks to Bob Dobson - Pro Tire for procuring tires and tubes.

Thank -you also to Rob at OK Tire for mounting tires.