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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The upscale Flea at the Evaporator Works brings vintage, food, jewelry, great ..., May 26th

Food trucks stuffed with delicious selections will be on hand including Wholly Frijoles, Beachcomber Truck, Fire Truck Pizza, Swenson's Food Truck, and Wok-n-Roll. Other edible treats include Floured Apron's baked goods sold out of a retro-fitted...Read more

Antique Fire Trucks to Be Showcased at Doylestown Event, May 26th

Antique Fire Trucks to Be Showcased at Doylestown Event. As many as 40 pieces of apparatus from around Bucks County will be on display at the Mercer Museum's free Firefighting Day on June 7. By Kara Seymour (Patch Staff) May 26, 2015. Share...Read more

Lower Lake Daze makes a splash
Record Bee, May 26th

The parade was followed by an antique car display along Main Street and a barbecue at Russell Rustici Lower Lake County Park, all sponsored by the Lower Lake Community Action Group and the Lakeshore Lions Club. The park event included several ...Read more

Dacula celebrates Memorial Day with a roar at annual parade, May 25th

The field of entries also included cloggers, Dacula High School's cheer leading and football teams, the Gwinnett Braves' van-surfing mascot, antique cars, little league teams, a bagpipe player, motorcycle police, a fire truck and restored military...Read more

Doylestown's Mercer Museum holding Firefighting Day June 7, May 22nd

DOYLESTOWN, Pa. -- The Mercer Museum celebrates its Volunteer Firefighting exhibit with a special outdoor Firefighting Day and Antique Equipment Muster on the grounds of the museum on Sunday, June 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. This free event features fire ...Read more

Antique, lovingly restored fire truck to debut at Memorial Day parade, May 22nd

When the restored '27 "Little Buffalo" makes its debut in the Minoa Memorial Day parade Monday, it will have special meaning for local firefighters. Minoa's very first fire engine, manufactured by The Buffalo Fire Engine Corp., was used to battle the...Read more

BCFPD hosts antique fire truck expo
Chicago Tribune, May 18th

"We're happy to welcome the community to our firehouse," said Captain Angela Grandgeorge, who was on hand at the first-ever Antique Fire Truck Show. Most of the parked vintage water pumper vehicles sported some range of red, be it bright reds or that ...Read more

Antique fire truck show coming to Lake Barrington May 16
Chicago Tribune, May 8th

Barrington-area residents will have the opportunity on Saturday, May 16 to see almost two dozen antique fire engines, tenders and other vintage firefighting equipment during the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District's first-ever antique fire...Read more