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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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

'Love for Lily Band Jam' Tuckerton fundraiser set Sunday
Press of Atlantic City, February 28th

There is a Chinese auction, an antique car show, a bake sale, a 50/50, and door prizes on top of fire truck rides, face painting and the Fun Bus of Ocean County. Donations will be given to the Cramer family. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for...Read more

Exhibits and galleries
Times Herald-Record, February 26th

Fri. 341-9386. Motorcyclepedia: Antique model trains, 250 Lake St., Newburgh. ... Orange County Firefighters Museum: Museum chronicles the history of firefighting in Orange County and houses a collection of firefighting equipment and memorabilia. It...Read more

New York Staycation: 7 Fun Things to Do While Staying Close to Home, February 26th

The American Museum of Firefighting in Hudson displays a "tremendous" variety of firefighting vehicles, memorabilia and equipment. "There are a number of trucks to climb on, equipment to dress up and pretend to be a firefighter, and knowledgeable staff...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