Monday, October 15, 2012

Dog years

LL Managing Editor Jami Jones shares a birthday with
a famous hood ornament
Last week, we celebrated two birthdays at Land Line. One was the birthday of Managing Editor Jami Jones, the other was of the Mack bulldog hood ornament. Some people enjoy sharing a birthday with famous people, historical icons. Jami takes pride in sharing hers with the bulldog.

Here in our ground-floor wing at OOIDA headquarters, we have a bit of Mack d├ęcor going on. Posters, bulldog crossing signs, little Mack oil cans, Mack cups. In my office I have three of the bulldog ornaments looking at me from various viewpoints. One of my keepsakes is a chrome ashtray with the dog on it and initials, J.J.J. It belonged to Jim Johnston and he gifted it to me just last year, knowing my penchant for cool Mack stuff.

So we won’t go into detail on which birthday it was for Jami, but it comes nowhere close to that of the iconic Mack Bulldog hood ornament, which turned 80. Incidentally, according to Mack Trucks, that’s an estimated 560 dog years.

There’s an interesting story about how the bulldog first became associated with Mack Trucks that Mack shared with us last week in a birthday press release. Kudos to Mack, by the way, for a concise statement that was enjoyable and noteworthy.

During World War I, British soldiers nicknamed the Mack AC models used in the Allied effort “Bulldog Macks” because of their tenacity. That bulldog moniker stuck.

According to the press release, the first one was hand-carved out of a bar of soap. Here’s the story as it was told to us. In 1932, Alfred Fellows Masury, a chief engineer at Mack Trucks, was in the hospital for surgery. Not one to be idle for long, during his recovery, Masury hand-carved the first model of the now iconic Bulldog hood ornament out of a bar of soap.

Once released from the hospital, Masury applied for a patent on his design. The patent was granted Oct. 11, 1932.

Sadly, Masury was killed in the crash of U.S. Navy airship Akron a year later, the same year the Bulldog hood ornament began adorning Mack trucks.

It’s a neat heritage. We join Mack in tipping our hats to Alfred Masury for that legacy.