Hall of Flame

Museum of Firefighting

 

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Hand & Horse Drawn Apparatus

 

The listing below contains information on seven of the the museum's major holdings of hand and horse drawn apparatus.  Return to the Hand and Horse Drawn Apparatus Main Page for other pieces of apparatus.

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Year
Nation
Maker
Description

Picture

1870
England
Shand Mason
 
Horse drawn curricle style manual fire engine.  Built for newly reorganized London Fire Brigade, Ca. 1870.  

During the 1860s the English fire service replaced insurance company brigades with brigades funded and operated by municipalities.  The London Fire Brigade was greatly expanded, with a large number of new stations.  Funds were not available to equip all of these stations with steam fire engines or even manual "brigade" pumpers.  In the years 1865 - 1880 The London Brigade purchased a number of these "curricle" style engines and assigned them to the city's smaller stations.  
A curricle is a two wheel cart built for speed and maneuverability.  This engine, which was probably built by the firm of Shand Mason, has a sturdy two wheel chassis built  to be pulled by a single horse.  The "bin" contained hose and tools.  The 4 to five man crew  sat atop the bin and held on for dear life as the driver maneuvered it through traffic.  At the fire the crew unshipped the two pump handles, dropped the suction hose in a cistern or connected it to a hydrant, and powered the twin cylinder pump to play as much as 60 gallons per minute of water.  We do not know where this engine was used, although it never left the British Isles.  It was recently restored by Don Hale.  

 

1890
England
Shand Mason
 
Horse drawn steam powered fire engine.  Used in Rugby, England.  

English steam fire engines were usually smaller than their counterparts in the United States.  Like this engine, they pumped about 450 gallons of water per minute.  The engine required no hose tender, since it carried several hundred feet of hose in its "bin".  It had a capacious coal bunker beneath the chassis, and could accommodate up to eight firefighters atop the bin, plus the driver and a stoker riding behind the boiler.  
The engine was adapted from the Brigade manual pumpers that were standardized in the 1860's around the "Braidwood" body design introduced by a James Braidwood, an innovative fire chief in the cities of Edinburgh and London . During the 1890s and early 20th century many of these models were successfully adapted to be self propelled from their steam engines.  

 

1838
France
A. Thirion
Hand or Horse Drawn Manual Fire Engine

This is one of two such engines owned by the Hall of Flame.  It was used by a town in central France.  This type of engine is almost identical to the engines of Jan  and Nicholas Van der Heyden, who invented the first modern fire engines in Amsterdam in the 1670s. 
The engine consists of a sturdy copper tub mounted to a solid base that can be lifted from the engine's chassis and carried to the scene of the fire, or which can be pumped while mounted on the chassis.  It has a simple tow bar that can be pulled by two to four firemen.  Its large diameter wheels give it great maneuverability as well as traction in muddy areas.  The large wheels also allow the engine to be attached to a twin wheeled limber, which in turn was hitched to a pair of horses, allowing the rig to be horse drawn.  
The engine used a pair of brass single acting cylinders and a copper air chamber.  There was no suction connection.  Water could be supplied only by a bucket brigade.  Pumping capacity is about 40 gallons per minute.  Some films of World War I France show engines of this type in action in burning villages.
1850
France
Sohy & Durey
Hand drawn manual fire engine. Identical in design to the engine above.

 

 

 

1894
Austria
Knaust
Horse drawn manual fire engine.  Used somewhere in Austria.  Built in Vienna by Knaust.  Sophisticated single cylinder double acting pump.

The museum owns two Austrian horse drawn fire engines dating from the turn of the twentieth century.  Although compact in size, they are equipped to be pulled by horses.  Their quality of construction is very high.  The pumps are double acting - they pump water on every stroke of the pump handles - unlike the single acting pumps commonly used on American apparatus.  Because they are horse drawn they also have excellent braking systems.  Since so much of the Austrian empire was mountainous it probably made sense to use horses and good braking systems to maneuver the engines about.  Both engines were restored at the Hall of Flame by Don Hale.  We do not know where the engine above was used.  The engine below was used in the town of Stuetzenhofen, near the modern order with the Czech Republic. 

1901
Austria
Knaust
 
 
 
Horse drawn manual fire engine.  Used in Stuetzenhofen, Austria. Built by Knaust in Vienna. 

1820
Japan
 
 
 
 
Eight manual engines and pumps. used in vicinity of Kyoto between 1800 and 1860.  

Similar in design to English and Dutch pumps of 17th Century.  It is very difficult to date these pumps.  Their design might have been copied from pumps used by the few Dutch ships that visited 17th century Japan before its enforced isolation from European technology until the middle of the 19th century.  Illustrations from English magazines show pumps of this design in action as late as 1900.  

 

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