The American La France Fire Engine Company, Inc. was established in 1903 through the acquistion of a group of smaller companies. Two of these companies, American Fire Engine Company of Seneca Falls, New York, and the La France Fire Engine Company of Elmira, New York, combined to produce fire-fighting apparatus, extinguishers, and other related supplies.
Early experiments were made trying to develop either a steam or gasoline engine for motive power. The company purchased a specially designed 4-cylinder Simplex engine for use in a chemical and hose wagon. By the end of 1911, the American La France Fire Engine Company, Inc. had developed its own 4- and 6-cylinder engines.