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The brothers Gus and Jack Mack didn’t waste time establishing themselves as makers of things built to last. The very first vehicle to roll out of their Brooklyn workshop in 1900 was a bus that would log a million miles during 20 years’ service.

By the outbreak of World War I, the brothers’ manufacturing business was thriving. When England needed supply trucks for the war effort, the contract went to Mack. British troops appreciated the Mack truck’s ability to chug relentlessly across the muddy, shell-pocked fields of France. They nicknamed it the Bulldog.

The Macks knew a good handle when they heard one. They made “Bulldog” their company brand, and steel plates bearing the likeness of their pugnacious mascot were riveted to the sides of every truck.

Alfred Fellows Masury, an unsung pioneer of the automotives industry, joined Mack as chief engineer in 1912. He designed the company’s signature vehicles, including the workhorse that so impressed the Brits.

While recuperating from an operation in 1932, Masury carved a Bulldog figurine to help pass the time. He was so pleased by the result that he patented the design. Before long the Masury Bulldog, rendered in chrome, was the hood-ornament adorning all Mack vehicles, as it is today.

Masury didn’t live to see his sickbed project become a corporate icon. A lieutenant-colonel in the Army reserve, he was among the 73 dead in the 1933 crash of a helium-filled airship, the USS Akron. His monument is the four-inch-high symbol of toughness bolted to Mack trucks used wherever heavy work needs doing.

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