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!


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Recent News: Fire Trucks

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Grower's Academy in Wytheville
Roanoke Times (blog), September 22nd

of the Roanoke Star City Striders, restoration of antique vehicles - restoring a 1930 Model A Ford car, a 1947 Greyhound bus and a 1931 fire truck, swimming, biking, traveling the world and designing and building of contemporary homes, including...Read more

Historic Elgin fire barn for sale
Elgin Courier News, September 21st

“There's someone, somewhere out there [for who] this is a dream come true,” said Bruderle, adding it is perfect for someone interested in firefighting or history. “You'll never get another” opportunity, he said. For more information about the history...Read more

Get ready for a dry week with a bit of chill
Roanoke Times (blog), September 21st

of the Roanoke Star City Striders, restoration of antique vehicles - restoring a 1930 Model A Ford car, a 1947 Greyhound bus and a 1931 fire truck, swimming, biking, traveling the world and designing and building of contemporary homes, including...Read more

Antique fire truck returns to Oneida after 50 years
Oneida Dispatch, September 21st

Antique fire truck returns to Oneida after 50 years. The 1917 American LeFrance fire truck once owned by the Oneida Fire Department and recently repurchased by firefighters. JOHN HAEGER @ONEIDAPHOTO ON TWITTER/ONEIDA DAILY DISPATCH...Read more

Campaigns get creative transporting governor candidates around state
Enid News & Eagle, September 20th

Unlike a typical game, though, there are few rules when it comes to moving a candidate across 68,594 square miles of Oklahoma territory in search of the ultimate victory — claiming the majority of the state's nearly 2 million registered voters at the...Read more

Holly Beach wants to show off century-old fire truck
Shore News Today, September 19th

To start it, the engine has to be cranked by hand, but it runs, and makes appearances in parades and antique shows. The 65-foot wooden ladder, lanterns, a gold bell, and century-old broom used to put out brush fires, are still on the truck. “We have...Read more

Antique fire truck used to give last rides to fallen Michigan firefighters ...
Bay City Times, September 10th

BAY CITY, MI — For long-time Bay Area businessman James "Jimmie" Dobson, his legacy comes in the form of a pristine antique fire truck now used to transport fallen firefighters from Michigan and Ontario to their final resting place. Dobson, 85...Read more

Firefighting Memorabilia On The Block
BlackburnNews.com, September 5th

Long-time firefighter and former Point Edward Chief Ron Sparling has been collecting firefighting memorabilia since he started out with the Forest Volunteers in 1972. Now he's putting the entire collection, over 400 pieces, on the block. Everything...Read more