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    

1920s Keystone Giant Pressed Steel Fire Ladder TruckTonka No 5 Pressed Steel Suburban Fire Pumper Truck Original OwnerVintage Sterling Free Rolling Model 30 Bullet Fire Truck/police Siren 12 Volt 1990 Spartan Pumper Fire TruckVintage Beacon Ray 4 Sealed Beam Alternate Flashing Fire Truck, Police Light 1940 Gmc Other 1940 Gmc Low Low Miles No Rust Fire Truck Flat Bed Dump Truck Tow Truck?????Matchbox Lesney 57 Land Rover Fire Truck **rare Gpw** W/original Box1956 Tonka Aerial Ladder Fire Truck Vintage ToyVintage The Light From Mars Fl-8 Fire Truck Light W/ Rare Blue LensAntique German Tin Penny Toy Ges Gesch Fire Truck W/two Firemen & Moving Ladder1950's 18.5" Doepke Model Toy Pressed Steel Searchlight Fire TruckExcellent 1970 Hess Fire Truck Engine Pumper Complete With Original Box Code 3 Fdny Fire Truck Ladder 10 Diamond Plate Series1958 Tonka Aerial Ladder Fire Truck Very Nice 100 % All Original Firetruck Wow! Lego City - Fire Station + Truck + Helicopter 7208 7239 7206 Manuals MinifiguresLego Lot 7945 Fire Station, 7890 Ambulance And 7239 Fire Truck Set CompleteAntique Pressed Steel Toy Smith Miller Fire Department Mack B Hook Ladder Truck 1968 Ford F-750 Ward Lafrance Antique Firetruck, Fire EngineFederal Sign And Signal Beacon Ray 175 Fire Truck Hill Light W/glass DomeMid 80's Mars 888 Fire Engine Light.Smith Miller ''l.a.f.d'' Aerial Ladder Fire Truck1920 1930 Ward Lafrance Radiator Emblem Ornament Grille Truck Vintage Hood Fire 1933,s Girard / Louis Marx Co Fire Truck With Lights + Wind Up + LaddersOshkosh T-3000 6x6 Emergency Fire Rescue Airport Crash Truck Drychem System Hale1956 Tonka Fire PumperDistler Germany Vintage Tinplate 1930's Fire Engine Truck Ultra Rare ItemFederal Sign And Signal Model 176 Beacon Ray Fire Truck Engine LightAntique 1951 Murray Fire Truck Pedal CarTowering Inferno San Francisco Code 3 Fire Ladder Truck +dvdVintage 50s Buddy L Extension Ladder Trailer Fire Truck 30" LongBoston Fire Leather Fire Helmet Front Shop Made New Engine 8Vintage Ajax Fire Engine Works Copper Fire Extinguisher Empty W Hose Vintage Tonka Fire Truck Pressed Steel Toy Red Truck Signature Series 1914 Ford Model T Fire Engine Diecast Metal Toy Number 200382015 Hess Toy Fire Truck And Ladder Rescue 51stHot Wheels Redline Heavyweights Fire Truck Minty Unplayed With Hong Kong VhtfVintage Federal Signal Crossfire Wobble Mars Light Fire TruckVintage Smith-miller Mack Fire Truck Missing And Broken Parts Corgi Heroes Under Fire Truck Seagrave Sedan Pumper Detroit Mi 2 Pack Rare R1970 Original Hess Fire Truck! With Box! Nice Shape!!Twh Diecast 1:50 Oshkosh Striker 3000 Crash Truck- Chicago Fire Dept. Ohara IntCode 3 Diamond Plate Chicago Fire Dept Luverne Pumper E102 #12982 1/32Vintage Federal 12volt Siren Model 28 Fire EngineAntique Cast Iron Pumper Fire Truck Toy Larger Size Kenton Toys2 - Vintage Tootsietoy 1947 Mack L Line Fire Truck Fire Pumper 6 Inch TruckMth Railtown 30-9157 Engine Company 49 Operating Firehouse W/ Fire Trucks Lot771955/1956 Tonka Fire TruckFirst Gear International 4400 Fire Truck Ems Dallas Fire RescueMatchbox Models Of Yesteryear 1956 Mack Kb-95 1:43 Die Cast Model Fire Truck1960's, 28" Long Yellow Fire Truck, 'hook & Ladder. "structo" By "ertl" New 2015 51st Hess Collectible Toy Fire Truck And Ladder RescueMatchbox” Pre-production Sf-21 Ford Transit Fire Truck Feuerwehr MintCustom Riverpoint Station Fire TruckFirst Gear International 4400 Fire Truck Ems Broward Co. Sheriff Fire RescueOriginal Dinky Berliet Fire Truck Rescue #32e France Meccano, Vg Condition, 4.5"Vintage Fire Department Msa Topgard Fireman's Helmet W/ Shield Safd Engine Co 14 1940s Vintage Fire Truck Alarm Siren Light Chrome Exterior Bullet Shape (video)1970 1971 Hess Fire Truck Marx Excellent To RestoreTonka Fire Truck RefurbishedHess Toy Truck 2015 Fire Truck And Ladder Rescue Mint In The Box