One of trucking’s most widely recognized symbols celebrated a birthday earlier in the month. The Mack bulldog turned 80 on Oct. 11.
I had the pleasure of meeting the old guy when I dropped by the Mack booth last month during the Truxpo show. He was, of course, the centre of attention. Busy chomping on ice cubes, he was groomed and looking like he had just left the Abbotsford Spa for Paws franchise. If there were any lady bulldogs in attendance, they wouldn’t have stood a chance.
I did a little background research into my little buddy – okay, I admit, it wasn’t hard since we published this information on our Web site – and found that a gentleman named Alfred Fellows Masury, a Mack employee, carved the bulldog figure out of a bar of soap back in 1932.
Unfortunately for Alfred, he was killed in a Navy airship crash in 1933 so he never understood the impact his little creation had on the breed or the brand. It was that same year that his bulldog began appearing as a hood ornament (which also functions as a grip to open the hood) on Mack trucks.
When I first started in the business, two of my sales associates had bulldog desk ashtrays. Very cool. Maybe inappropriate in today’s society but back in the early ’80s it wasn’t uncommon to smoke in the workplace.
I believe the ashtrays were part of some sort of promotion that Mack was running at the time.
Over the years, I’ve seen the bulldog in countless ads, as stuffed toys and on posters. The marketing team at Mack has done a wonderful job in maximizing the bulldog legacy. There’s even a life-size version made of a sand material that at first glance, you’d swear is the real deal.
The bulldog was certainly a hit at Truxpo, Truck World, and at every other truck show I’ve seen him at. They are indeed a unique breed, and this one has taken on a celebrity status.
I doubt bringing my dog Maddie (a golden retriever) to a show would have the same impact as Mack’s Hank the Tank bulldog.
Young or old, I believe you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in the trucking industry that doesn’t associate the bulldog with a Mack truck.
Happy birthday, Mack Bulldog. Your dad Alfred would be very proud of you!