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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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Hand Drawn Hook and Ladder Wagon


This home made ladder wagon was built in the town of Centerville, Wisconsin. The ladders are home made, and closely resemble the ladders made in 16th century Germany that were pictured in Agricola's De Re Metallica, which displayed a number of pieces of 16th century fire fighting tools.  The wagon, pike poles and ladders were made by German craftsmen who populated Centerville, which was entirely German in makeup.  The large hand forged hooks were used to pull down burning structures.  The wagon was pulled by hand.

Deming Manual Village Fire Engine


Factory or village engine.  The design is based on the boiler feed pumps which were Deming's main product.  It was used in a small Ohio town.



Rumsey Manual Village Fire Engine



This Rumsey village engine was used in the town of Bloomfield, Ohio.  Its original decoration survives. Engines of this type were popular in villages as well as factories.  It could be supplied with water from buckets or from a suction hose dipped in a cistern or connected to a hydrant. The hose reel typically carried fifty to one hundred feet of 1 1/2 inch cotton hose.  A crew of four to eight men manned the brakes to produce 30 to 40 gallons of water per minute.

Howe Horse Drawn Rotary Fire Engine

An Indiana inventor named Benjamin Howe designed this pumper to compete with steam fire engines.  His engine has a radical design using three double acting piston pumps mounted horizontally beneath a large rotary gear.  This gear is turned by a sweep to which horses were attached after pulling the rig to a fire.  The big gear drives three small gears connected by cranks and connecting rods to the pumps.  The arrangement can produce over 200 gallons per minute, about half the output of a steamer, but twice that of most hand pumpers.  Howe thought that his rig would be popular with volunteer companies needing a powerful engine but lacking the funds for a steamer.  He was wrong. Few volunteers used horses.  Even many steam fire engines of the day in volunteer departments were hand drawn.  Without horses the rotary was powered by men, who were required to push on sweeps connected to the large gear, much like a cider mill. The proud volunteers would not allow themselves to be used like horses. Not many were sold. This is one of very few surviving Howe rotaries. It may have been used in Michigan.  It was built by a company in Saint Louis, Missouri that built equipment for inventors who lacked their own factory. 

Although this model was not successful, Howe went on to invent another engine that was sold well into the 1900s.  Howe's company made a wide range of fire apparatus until the 1980s, when it was absorbed by the Grumman Company.



Steiner Horse Drawn Chemical Engine.  American.  1872. 




This rig uses a pair of chemical tanks. It is probably one of a kind, and is one of the earliest examples of what became a popular type of apparatus.  Steiner patented the design in 1872.  It has two unique features.  First, it has an 80 gallon reservoir of fresh water to recharge the copper chemical tanks when they are emptied.  Second, the engine has a pump and suction hose to refill the reservoir.  Steiner advertised a complete line of apparatus, but no record of his company is found in the Albany, New York archives.  This engine was delivered to the Cleveland,  Ohio Fire Department, which used it until 1888. It then disappeared from the record until its appearance in Arizona around 1950.  Hall of Flame Founder George F. Getz, Jr.  purchased it in 1982 and donated it to the museum. It was restored by Don Hale.  

Crafted. From Studebaker wagon


"Pung" Fire Sleigh. American.  Ca. 1890. 



Pungs (the Algonquin word for sled) were commonly used in the snowy regions of the northern United States.  This one, a Studebaker wagon converted to a bob sled, was built  around 1890 by a blacksmith named Chevrette for the firefighters of Negaunee, on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.   It was used to carry hose, ladders, and firefighting equipment.  Attempts were made to convert steamers to sleighs, but they proved to be top heavy and difficult to pull, turn, and stop.  

Gleason & Bailey
Hand Drawn  Fire Engine

Gleason and Bailey was a New York City based firm that made a complete line of manual fire apparatus of high quality.  This piano box style engine was built around 1890 for an unknown fire company.  It has a squirrel tail style suction hose or can be supplied by bucket brigade.  Output at fifty strokes per minute is about 80 gallons of water per minute.  We bought the rig at auction in a very dilapidated unpainted state.  Don Hale decorated the rig with the name of the museum for use at off site events.


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