Fire Apparatus & Equipment Since 1952
|In Memoriam, Clarke Palmer, Corporate Founder, The Gowans-Knight Company|
| Clarke Palmer, the last living corporate founder
of the Gowans-Knight Company, passed away on March 11, 2007. Clarke was not
just a fabricator; but a fabricator of ideas who was constantly looking for a
better way to accomplish the tasks at hand. The corporation he molded from its
infancy in 1954, a welding and metal fabrication business grew into a Fire
Apparatus manufacturing facility.
In 1963 Clarke was called upon by the Northfield Fire Department to design a fire apparatus for their department with a budget of $2,500.00. Clarke took on the challenge and accomplished the task in a timely manner. Word of Clarke's first fire truck spread and it wasn't long after that Clarke was approached by other departments requesting apparatus designed to their specific needs.
As the demand grew Clarke changed the direction of the corporation from general welding / fabrication to a manufacturer of fire apparatus and a distributor of firefighting equipment. In the early 70's Clarke became a dealer for Oren Fire Apparatus of Roanoke, VA as well as Ladder Towers, Inc. of Ephrata, PA. He also started to refurbish apparatus.
In 1985 another decision was reached to solely sell and produce fire apparatus and distribute firefighting related equipment. At this time the GK logo came into being. Clarke's son Craig, one of four children, had joined the business and in 1986 they, father & son, bought the remaining stock and Gowans-Knight became a family business.
Clarke's life has been one of dedication, not only to his family, but to firefighters both as a designer / builder of fire apparatus and as a volunteer firefighter. Clarke joined the Watertown Fire Department in April 1953, became a Lieutenant on Engine 6 in 1955 and a Captain on Engine 5 in 1958; Clarke transferred to Veteran Status in 1974. He will be greatly missed by his family, all here at Gowans-Knight, and the Watertown Fire Department.
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