The first fire engines in the U.S., called hand pumpers, were shipped to New York from England in the 1700s. Water was pumped from the tub by volunteers working long, parallel handles on the truck. American manufacturers produced similar hand pumpers until the early 1800s, when the steam pumper was developed, which supplied a continuous stream of water more effectively.

The earliest fire trucks were hand pulled to the scene, but by the mid-1800s, horses were used to draw the steam pumpers and running boards, and back steps were added to the vehicle. In 1906, the Radnor Fire Company in Wayne, PA began offering a pumper with two gasoline motors, bringing fire trucks into the modern age.

If you're interested in collecting vintage fire trucks or apparatus, some of the manufacturer names you'll want to explore include Waterous, Ahrens-Fox, Dedrick, Mack Trucks, Peter Pirsch and Sons, American LaFrance, New Stutz Fire Engine Company, Seagrave, Sutphen, Babcock, Snorkel, Spartan Chassis, Inc. and Emergency One. You may also want to consider starting with vintage model fire trucks, which take up considerably less space!

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Archive

Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Archive

This incredibly comprehensive archive of LAFD ephemera and memorabilia is as good a history of 19th and 20th centur… [read review or visit site]

Fire Hydrant Collections

Fire Hydrant Collections

Don't let your dog near this site... hundreds of photos of fire hydrant collections from over 60 individual collect… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Simon Duplex 100' Tillered Ladder Truck Emergency Rescue Fire Engine Cat 32061920s Antique Keystone Packard Combination 49 Fire Department Truck1957 Tonka Toys Ford Cab Suburban Pumper Fire Truck V Rare Nice OriginalVintage **rare** Arcade Cast Iron 16" Fire Truck Ladder 3 Firemen. Must See!1950's Tonka Toys No. 950-6suburban Pumper Fire Truck W/boxOther Makes : American Lafrance 900 Series Pumper Firetruck 1964 American Lafrance 900 Series Pumper Fire Truck Original ConditionCa1900 Cast Iron Horse Drawn Hook & Ladder Fire Wagon / Fire Engine By HubleyTonka Fire Jeep Pumper # 425 Vintage 1963 Beautiful Condition. Near Mint!!All Original Tonk, 1963 Tonka Aerial Ladder Fire Truck With Original Box1955 International R-170 Pumper Fire Truck1984 Kenworth Fire EngineRare 1920s Vintage General Fire Truck & Fire Hose Co. Old Thermometer SignFord : Other F600 1957 Ford F 600 Fire Truck Freshly Restored 8 150 Miles No Rat RodRushmore Early Brass Carbide Searchlamp Model T Ford Speedster Fire Truck1975 Mack Cf / 3d Fire Truck Engine Antique Vintage ApparatusFiretruck Vintage Model 184 Federal Signal Power Lights Fire TruckCode 3 Collectibles Chicago Fire Department Luverne Pumper E-102 Die Cast Vintage Beacon Ray Model 17, 12 Volt Fire Truck, Police Car 12v LightThomas Benjamin Industrial Signal Horn Factory Fire Truck Alarm Siren Works NrVintage Federal Junior Beacon Ray Fire Truck Police Car Flashing Light1996 Spartan Fire Truck Tillar Gladiator 100 Foot Ladder TruckVintage Fire Hose Nozzle Bear Lever Handle Firefighting Truck Engine HydrantVintage 1960's Tonka Jeep Fire Truck Played With Parts Or RestoreOrig 1920s Hubley Cast Iron 26" Toy Hook + Ladder Horse Drawn Fire TruckModel Trailways Ms6006 Allerton Steam Fire Pumper Kit,1:12 Scale New - 102 JgHot Wheels 1980's Gmc Tractor Steering Rigs Eagle Truckin Vintage + Fire TruckVintage Tonka Fire TruckVintage Advertising Marx 1970 Hess Fire Truck With Original Box Fire EngineVintage Antique (large) 1960's Fire Truck Pedal CarCode 3 Chicago O'hare Fire Dept Pierce Platform Ladder Truck 63 (12909)Antique 1948 Metal Seagrave Fire Truck Emblem / Ornament For Rear Of Truck50's Tin Friction Windup Firetruck Fire Engine Driver Original Box Yoshiya JapanDte 2 Matchbox Convoy Fire Ladder & Rescue Tractor Trailer TruckPlaymobil Fire Truck Circus Romani Coast Guard Boat Police LotSmith Miller Ariel Ladder Fire Truck #3 Mack 1954- Original Rare No Reserve!!!Fire Truck Vintage Federal Signal Power Lights 184 Fire TruckCode 3 1:64 Indianapolis Fire American Lafrance Tower Ladder Truck 15 - #12747Early 1900s Kingsbury (keene, Nh) Pressed Steel Toy Fire Truck Frame & PartsCode 3 Ventura County Fire Department Ladder Rescue Engine 40Vintage 1930's Hubley Cast Iron 428 Fire Steamer TruckFdny Fire Engine 4/ladder 15 Shirt Xl Ho/hon3 Scale Jordan Highway Miniatures 1913 Fire Truck Built UpVintage Siren General City Service Co Detroit Fire Truck,emergency Works!!!!Vintage 1970-1971 Marx Hess Gasoline Toy Fire Truck With LadderDealer Pack 2 Dual Universal Automotive Exhaust Flame Thrower Fire Thowing KitsVintage Fire Hose Nozzle Heavy Brass Firefighting Truck Engine Hydrant AntiqueCode 3 1:64 Los Angeles Lti Tda 1999 Ladder Fire Truck 12664 W Free Shipping!Ford Ls Pierce Pumper Fire Engine 1:87 Ho Scale Metal Lee Town, Alloy FormsMatchbox Model Of Yesteryear Y-4 'shand-mason Horse Drawn Fire Engine+3 Figures'Tonka Toys 1960 No. 48 Aerial Ladder Fire Truck Outstanding Original TruckCode 3 Backdraft Chicago Mack Cf Rear Mount Ladder Fire Truck (loose)N Scale Athearn County Fire TruckTyco Us 1 Fire Truck Slot CarCode 3 Diecast Crown Fire Engine Los Angeles Pumper 60 1/64 ScaleFire Truck LightCode 3 Collectibles Jack Daniel's Fire Brigade Freightliner Pumper**mibAntique Police Car Fire Truck Siren Ford Chevrolet American La France SeagraveFdny Fire Engine 302/ladder 155 Shirt Xl1960s Doepke American La France Pressed Steel Ladder Fire Truck W/ Windup Siren Fdny Fire Engine 310/ladder 174 Shirt Xl

Recent News: Fire Trucks

Source: Google News

Duggan: Piece of firefighting history coming home
The Coloradoan, July 30th

Last weekend's auction of antique tractors and sundry other pieces of equipment at Swets Farm had an unusual participant: Poudre Fire Authority. PFA wanted to reclaim a piece of its history. On the auction block was a historic “Holabird” firetruck that...Read more

10 ways to squeeze the most out of summer in North Ridgeville (photos), July 30th

FIREFIGHTING HISTORY: The city's firefighters are always there for you, but how did the fire department get to where it is today? And what was it like years ago before the modern advancements? Check out the Fire Museum, right under the city's water...Read more

Firefighting memorabilia on display at Wyckoff library, July 29th

Firefighting memorabilia on display at Wyckoff library. July 30, 2015 Last updated: Thursday, July 30, 2015, ... Library director Mary Witherell teamed up with members of the Wyckoff Volunteer Fire Department to showcase an antique collection of...Read more

Touch a Truck returns in Rock Falls, July 29th

Antique Archaeology, the business featured on the TV show “American Pickers,” will bring its Sprinter van. Robbie Wolfe, brother of the ... will bring its vehicle, “Leslie.” The pink fire truck is named after a police officer who lost her battle with...Read more

Thousands of birthday cards pour in for Md. boy with genetic disorder
MyFox Detroit, July 29th

The first responders showed up on Jordin's birthday Tuesday with an antique fire truck and 150 cards. “To walk in and tell him, 'Jordin, we're here to help you celebrate your birthday and to give you all these cards,' just to see his face light up was...Read more

Experience Colorado's Mining Days in Silver Plume
5280 | The Denver Magazine, July 29th

Among the captivating displays on the self-guided tour is an old fire truck, furniture, and clothing from the early 20th-century, and a slew of mining-era equipment. Make sure your crew gets a good look at the antique dentist chair and manual washing ...Read more

Family devastated after box of love letters stolen
KIRO Seattle, July 29th

then spotted the box, labeled “love letters from Bob,” inside (inside the firefighting gear?). But the box was empty and the letters ... She's been checking Craigslist and eBay and contacted pawn shops and antique stores. Bob Binkley died 21 years ago...Read more

Antique fire-truck show joins First Saturday in Georgetown
Coastal Point, July 9th

Fire-truck lovers will converge on Georgetown this weekend, as antique fire trucks will be on display at the Marvel Carriage Museum as part of the Georgetown Historical Society's First Saturday. “First Saturday started in May and runs through September...Read more