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    

Gmc : Sierra 3500 2 Door 1984 Gmc Chevy 3500 Dually 454 Gas Auto 4 X 4 Fire Truck Low Miles2001 Japanese Daihatsu 4x4 Mini Fire Truck Atv Utv Unreal Near New Condition ! International Harvester : Other Ih Cxt Mxt Rxt Fire Truck Travalette Ratrod 1976 International Loadstar 1800 Rare Crewcab Arizona Ex Fire Truck Type 3Mercedes-benz : Other L408 G Auxiliary Fire Truck 1969 Mercedes Benz L 408 G Fire Truck Incredibly Well Preserved 15 K Orig MilesLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Smith Miller Fire Ladder Truck1988 Kme 1871-ws Pumper Fire Truck! No Reserve! Ready To Go!1950's Smith Miller No. 3 Fire Truck- Tractor- Only-- Damaged Axle Area-look1926 Sturditoy Pumper And Chemical Fire AutoTonka -vintage - Fire Department - Pumper Truck No. 5 - Ford - Pressed Steel 1997 E-one Titan 4x4 Arff Airport Crash Fire Truck Leather Helmet Rare Vintage Fire Department Truck 46 Firefighter Vintage Doepke Model Toys Rossmoyne American Lafrance Ladder Fire Truck OriginalLtd Toy Stamp & 1950s Tonka Mfd Fire Ladder Truck Clean ConditionVtg Antique American Lafrance Fire Truck Engine Motometer Radiator Cap MascotFire TruckJohillco England Vintage 1930's Fire Engine Very Rare Pre War Item Vintage 50's Tonka Suburban Fire Dept. Truck #5 T.f.d. Pressed Steel No ReserveVtg Smith Miller No 3 Fire Truck Smfd Hook & Ladder Pressed Steel 22" *as Is*Rare Marx 1970 Hess Fire Truck Made In Hong Kong No ReserveAntique 1927 Keystone Water Tower Fire Truck - Steel Toy Great ConditionVintage Fire Department Leather Helmet Badge Insignia Plaque Truck 46Original French Dinky Toys Citroen 2cv Fire Service Van Truck 25d / 562 Gc Rare.Vtg Elwood Fire Ladder Toy Truck Of Windsor Ont, Lincoln Pressed Steel New Athearn Ho 1/87 Tri State Volunteer Fire Dept Telesquirt Fire Truck # 5Vintage Buddy-l Toy Fire Truck, Toy Trucks, NiceLot Of Lego Vehicles City Cops Fire Ambulance 3 Wheelers Mail TruckNew Athearn Ho 1/87 Fire Protection District Mack Fire Truck # 198Vintage 1950's Willys Jeep Catalog Fire Truck Ambulance Cj-5 Cj-3b Estate NrAntique Vintage 1800's Lcfd Engine 5 Metal Fire Helmet Cairns & Brother Inc.'sFederal Sign Signal Q2b Fire Truck Siren 12 V Federal Q 'emblem',nos Original, Code 3 Chicago Fire Dept Ladder 46 Engine 17 BackdraftVintage Dennis Bros Ltd Enamel Makers Badge Fire Engine Commercial VehicleCode 3 Chicage Fire Department Emergency1:50 ? Fd Diecast Ladder Rescue Truck Vintage 1930's**rare**ward Lafrance Fire Truck Pumper Control Gauge Panel.Tonka Fire Engine Pumper No 926 With Box And Accessories-mint2015 Matchbox Toy Fair Fire TruckEarly Tonka Toys Ford Cab Suburban Pumper Fire Truck V Rare Nice 50's OriginalAntique Pressed Glass Toy Candy Containers Rocking Horse & Fire Truck 3.5"x3.5"Code 3 Collectibles Scale 1/64 Fdny Fire Truck Ladder Engine 28 Limited Edition1944 International K-5 Military Fire TruckVintage Friction Powered 1940's Marx Ladder Fire Engine With BoxDisney Pixar Cars Drifters Colossus Xxl Truck Rapid Fire Launcher Mack TransportNew Athearn Ho 1/87 Tri State Volunteer Fire Dept Fire Truck # 1Fire Truck EmblemsMack Fire Truck Tacoma Fire Dept Fire Extinguisher RareVintage 1950s Federal Mod.28 Fire Engine Truck Siren Works GreatNew Code 3 Buffalo Fire Dept Alf Engine 38, 2007Code 3 Fdny Mack Rescue 2 Fire Engine Truck Ladder Truck PumperFirst Gear 1960 Mack Model B-61 Chicago Fire Department Tow Truck 1/25 ScaleVintage Pressed Steel 1950's Doepke Rossmoyne American Lafrance Fire Truck Buddy L Fire Pumper Truck1930's Girard Coupe, And Fire Truck, Set, Need Restored, Hard To FindSmith Miller Fire Ladder TruckHahn Fire Truck Emblem Vtg Antique Long Reach Rear View Mirror Old Car Truck Fire Engine Bus WreckerFire Truck South Park Over Sized Fold Up Steps Fire TruckVintage 1929 American La France Foamite Fire Truck Metal Nameplate Badge EmblemVintage Federal Electric Co. Type E Fire Engine / Police Trumpet Siren WorksAmerican Lafrance Liberty Fire Truck Emblem 1-5 Yrs Boys & Girls, Ride On Fire Truck.

Recent News: Fire Trucks

Source: Google News

New Tenn. Department Emerges as Allegations Swirl, March 2nd

Coupled with a recent arson at Union Grove Chief Alvin Shoemaker's antique-car repair garage in Niota, Tenn. -- where the fire truck was kept -- and the indictment of Union Grove's secretary/treasurer for embezzling $5,000, the county decided it was...Read more

Worcester fire chief says successor should 'keep pushing change'
Worcester Telegram, March 1st

In his office last week, with tiny American flags peppering his desk, a toy fire engine on a shelf nearby and a left-behind cabinet filled with antique fire department badges, he reflected on the Dec. 3, 1999, fatal warehouse fire. But that horrible...Read more

WSRE's Imagination Station gives parents the power to build readers
Pensacola Today, March 1st

At Imagination Station, Weeks, recently transplanted to Pensacola by the U.S. Air Force, reads to Lydia, sometimes while sitting in a small fire truck, one of the many unique ways parents may interact with their little ones. Imagination Station is a...Read more

Fueling their Broncos fire
Pueblo Chieftain, February 28th

They took out the interior walls in the former sleeping quarters to create the “Bronco Room,” which features walls lined with an impressive lineup of memorabilia. One corner is devoted to Kevin's other passion: Harleys. The former dining room is the...Read more

Will 'American Pickers' pick Canandaigua?
Brighton-Pittsford Post, February 28th

And hosts Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz, as well as the rest of the Antique Archaeology team, are on a mission for some specific items, such as motor scooters, old advertising signs and toys, vintage musical instruments, automotive items and clothing...Read more

'American Pickers' to film in Canandaigua
News 10NBC, February 27th

The chamber said it is excited to welcome Mike Wolfe, Frank Fritz and Antique Archeology to the area. The team will film episodes of their hit series “American Pickers” throughout New York ... Some of what they look for: vintage bicycles, toys, unusual...Read more

Salem Fire Chief looking for support to restore antique fire truck, February 16th

SALEM -- Salem Fire Chief Fred Ayars is trying to save a piece of the department's and the city's history, and he's asking for just a little help to do it. About two years ago, he bought a 1940 American LaFrance 561 Close Cab fire engine that was...Read more

WITH VIDEO: Tallmadge Historical Society to build new housing for antique fire ...
Tallmadge Express, January 31st

Tallmadge -- The Tallmadge Historical Society plans on undertaking two major projects this year: building a pole building to house an antique fire truck and repairing headstones at Tallmadge Cemetery. Funds from a trust set up from an endowment will...Read more