Hello Friends and Family,

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

Hall of Flame Museum, Part 2

Next on the tour is a Merryweather Barrow Pump built in England around 1880 for use at an estate or in a factory. It only needed two men to pull it to the fire, however a crew of four were needed for pumping. An interesting design adaptation used this same pump mounted on the sidecar of a motorcycle for easy transport.

This pumper was made in 1852 by Howard and Davis, a Boston clock-making firm, for the town of Grafton, Massachusetts. Like all the engines displayed so far, this one was pulled by the fire fighters due to the high expense of maintaining horses. Note the addition of lanterns, a bell and buckets.

As time passed, fire engines became more elaborate both in function and decoration. This Jeffers Philadelphia style pumper was built in 1844 by the Joel Bates firm for the Rhode Island town of Pawtucket. Four years later, Pawtucket fireman William Jeffers rebuilt it. The two sets of pump handles were manned by fifty men capable of pumping 250 gallons per minute.

It was retired around 1870 and modified to be pulled by horses although no seat was added so firemen had to ride the horses to drive the engine in the desired direction.

This is a closer view of the painting on the side of the Jeffers Pumper. The paint jobs became more elaborate as fire crews completed with each other for the fanciest rigs.

This Rumsey Hand Drawn Pumper was build around 1865 and was used by the Badger Volunteer Fire Company of Centerville, Wisconsin. In 1871, the Company together with its diminutive pumper were carried by train to Chicago to help fight the fire that destroyed a third of the city.

Here is the first example of a Hose Cart — obviously used to transport a hose to the fire.

Next up is a Howe Hand Drawn Pumper which was quite popular, being manufactured from 1890 to 1915. It is not as stylish as some engines but offered a number of practical advantages. For instance, the double-action pump could deliver up to 100 gallons a minute. Also, the on-board fifty gallon tank allowed the firefighters to begin spraying water on the fire immediately while connections were being made to a larger source of water.

Note that this engine remained in service until the middle of the 20th century — having been used to successfully fight a fire in 1941.

Sometimes it is the little details that delight me such as this bell which sounded as the engine was being pulled to the fire. The rotation of the wheel moved a lever that struck the bell warning folks that a fire engine was approaching.

This small ladder wagon was purchased in 1886 by Edgerton, Wisconsin for its volunteer fire department. It was purchased "used" from an unknown town. It was small even for its day. It carried half a dozen ladders of various sizes.

In addition to ladders, the wagon carried buckets, helmets and a variety of axes and pike poles.

This Rumsey Hand Drawn Pumper was manufactured about 1880 and purchased by a Michigan volunteer fire department. This was the largest pumper made by Rumsey and could deliver two discharge hoses with up to 150 gallons per minute. Such a delivery rate would quickly tire the 30 men working the pump. A slightly slower pace was easier to maintain and still could deliver 120 gpm.

The ropes were used to pull the engine while two firemen would steer the row bar. Stopping required grabbing the pump handles.

That same engine had lights mounted on it for use when rushing to fires at night. Again, I am drawn to the little details.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com