Hall of Flame

Museum of Firefighting


Motorized Apparatus


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The listing below contains information on seven of the museum's major holdings of motorized apparatus. 

Return to the listing of all motorized pieces by clicking Here.

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Kissel and Seagrave
City service ladder truck. Ex - Hartford, WI. 

Kissel / Seagrave Ladder Truck. 1920.  Although it specialized in sporty automobiles, the Kissel Motor Car Company of Hartford, Wisconsin also built an extensive line of trucks, including fire apparatus. It built this ladder truck for the fire department of its home town. 

Kissel equipped it with the  ladder rack from a Seagrave horse drawn ladder wagon which the Hartford FD had purchased around 1904. 

The 60 foot extension ladder atop the rig weighs over 400 pounds and required a crew  of six. 

The truck was refurbished by Henry Crost.


Howe  and Ford
Model T fire engine. Ex - Germantown, IL. 

Ford / Howe Model T Pumper.  1918.  The Howe Fire Apparatus Company adapted its fire pump and booster tank to a Ford Model T chassis for several hundred of these modest little pumpers for the U.S. Army in World War I.  This one went as surplus in 1920 to the volunteers of Germantown, Illinois, where it saw service until 1956.  

It has a powerful 250 gpm three cylinder piston pump that must have taxed the diminutive four cylinder thirty horsepower engine. There's also a thirty gallon booster tank and booster hose reel, plus several hundred feet of 2 ˝ inch hose. The long "squirrel tail" style suction hose came in handy for drafting water from rivers or ponds.  The engine could draft water without getting the truck too close to a  soggy river bank.  

The truck was refurbished by Henry Crost. 

Chief's buggy. Ex - Owensville, IN.  


The Fire Chief of the Owensville, Indiana Volunteers used this 900 pound runabout as his official vehicle until about 1920.  Local legend has it that he was passed while on his way to a fire by a young boy on a bicycle who wanted to see the fire. 

The little car, with its one cylinder engine, wood frame, and wood axles, went into retirement shortly thereafter The photo below shows the car after its restoration to its original color in 2017.   



Seagrave  "Anniversary Model" Quad Fire Engine.  1955.  Ex- Oak Lawn, IL

Seagrave introduced this engine in 1951, the company’s 75th year of operation, and named it the Anniversary Model.  It was intended to compete with American La France’s radical cab forward / midship engine Type 700 , but the Anniversary Model  differed little from its predecessors of the 1930s and 40s beyond styling.  Its engine, pump, and hose carrying capabilities were the same.  Nevertheless the Anniversary Series was very well received in the fire service because of the high quality of its construction and the reliability of the drive train and pump.  Almost 2,000 were built over the next dozen years. 

Twenty eight Anniversary Model Quads were built, including this rig, used by the fire department of Oak Lawn, Illinois.  Quads were popular in towns like Oak Lawn, which had relatively few fires and which sought to combine the roles of a ladder truck and engine. 

A quad carried at least 200 linear feet of ground ladders, many more ladders than the more common “triple” engine, which usually carried a single extension ladder and a roof ladder. It also carried a full size pump, a booster tank, and at least 1200 feet of large diameter hose. This quad stayed in service until the early 1980s, when it was refurbished and placed in reserve. Its original V-12 gasoline engine was replaced by an equally powerful 8 cylinder Cummins diesel. 

The Oak Lawn Fire Department donated it to the Hall of Flame in June of 1998.  Oak Lawn proudly displayed an “ISO 1” rating.  Less than 40 fire departments in the United States have this rating. A consortium of insurance companies gives a rating, from 1 to 15, to every municipality in the U.S. that applies for fire insurance.  Class 1 has the lowest rates because its fire protection system is judged to be the best possible. 


ERF and HCB-Angus
Pump/escape ex-Nottingham- shire County Fire Brigade, town of Retford. 
Donated by Mr. & Mrs. Peter Eichorn.


ERF/HCB-Angus Pump Escape.  English. 1968.  Hampshire Car Body – Angus built over 6,500 pieces of fire apparatus during its 61 years of existence between 1933 and 1994.  The firm built this rig  for the fire service of Nottinghamshire.  It served the town of Retford until its retirement around 1980. 

It was eventually owned by Mr. And Mrs. Peter Eichorn, who donated the rig to the museum in August of 1998.  The rig is built on an ERF chassis.  ERF (E. R. Foden) is a major English builder of heavy duty trucks and buses.  

It has a rear mount 750 gpm pump (with engineer panels on both sides of the truck), a 500 gallon booster tank, and capacity for about 1,000 feet of hose.  Its Perkins V-8 diesel engine allows it to travel at well over 60 miles per hour, and its crew compartment can accommodate 7 firefighters.  It's also equipped with a Merryweather escape ladder which four men can remove from the rig, wheel into position, and extend to a length of 55 feet.  Most of the rig’s body is made of wood with aluminum cladding.  The red portions of the truck are fiberglass.  This greatly reduces its weight.


Brush truck. Ex - Los Angeles County, CA.  Donated by Gene Autry.

The Moreland Truck Company of Burbank, California supplied the Los Angeles Division of Forestry with the chassis of one of their three ton trucks in 1930.  Moreland was the largest truck maker west of the Mississippi, and supplied a considerable number of trucks to California fire departments. 

The Division of Forestry designed its own brush truck, installing a 350 gallon per minute pump that could be operated while the truck was in forward motion, a key requirement for a brush truck.  The Division also installed a 600 gallon water tank, a pair of booster lines, and several hundred feet of one inch cotton hose.  Four hard suctions allow the tank to be refilled from a hydrant or other water source.

The paint scheme of light and dark green was quite striking.  The Division used the truck to fight many brush fires in Los Angeles County. 

During World War II the Division was made a part of the LA County Fire Department and the truck was painted red. 

Gene Autry found the truck years after LA County had abandoned it.  Gene donated it to the Hall of Flame in 1989, and Don Hale did an excellent restoration.  It is now on exhibit in the Hall of Flame's Wildland Firefighting gallery.


Model J fire engine. Ex - Detroit, MI.  


The city of Detroit purchased 24 of these 750 gpm pumpers.  This rig was repainted in the Detroit FD shops, probably around 1940.  Its distinctive windshield was a favorite of the Detroit Fire Department. 

Detroit Fire Commissioner Paxton Mendelssohn  purchased this engine when it was retired from service in 1951.  He loaned it to the city of Lexington, Kentucky, which used it for eight years, then sent it back to Mr. Mendelssohn. 

In 1966 Mr. Mendelssohn donated the engine to the National Historical Fire Foundation.




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