MICHAEL SKIDMORE, LIEUTENANT, MONTGOMERY CO. (MD) FIRE & RESCUE SERVICES. Robert “RJ” James, a good friend and accomplished spotter of fire antiquities sent in this shot of an apparently long-time “worker” on one of Montgomery Counties rigs, where Lt. Skidmore rides the seat. It looks as bright and ready-to-go as the day it was assembled– if not far more so. Visible are its yellow fiberglass handle and what could be the original orange silicone grip. In any case, it’s finished off with the currently popular spiral wrap. At the time, almost all of Iowa-American’s hooks had fiberglass handles– most of them were solid 1″ round stock. But, a narrower, taller oval-shaped version and the classic (beefy!) Nupla “I-beam” handle were also options.
When he first saw the end design now referred to as the Raptor, Iowa-American’s owner Marty Vitale said it reminded him of a scorpion’s tail and wanted to call it the “Stinger.” Seemed OK to me. I expected it to be an additional end option for all of IA-AM’s hooks (the two existing end options being D-handles of two different sizes). But, when it showed up in the catalog, the Stinger designation referred only to the combination of a Hawk head on one end and Stinger on the other– i.e., the whole tool (such as Lt. Skidmore’s, in the photo) was a Stinger, not just the new end part. As far as I know, IA-AM didn’t end up producing any of their other hooks with what has become the Raptor end.