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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Friday's TV Tips
Irish Examiner, July 25th

It isn't easy to combine hurling and firefighting, but Michael has managed to juggle both. The show also attended a recent auction by Fonsie Mealy of collectibles and sporting memorabilia. The most sought-after item up for sale was one of Nicky Rackard...Read more

Harbor Hawks take flight
Barnstable Patriot, July 24th

The carols were blasting from the loudspeakers, and at 5:30 p.m. sharp an antique fire truck rolled into view, carrying none other than Santa himself. It was Christmas in July at McKeon Park, but the big gift was the Harbor Hawks' 7-0 win against Wareham...Read more

Kittanning firefighters set to muster up a good time in 125th year
Tribune-Review, July 24th

A muster brings together fire companies and the community for firefighting-related festivities. Sunday's will include antique fire truck collectors and fire departments from local communities and throughout Western Pennsylvania. Hose Co. 1 will host a...Read more

Greater Salem Calendar of Events
Wicked Local Marblehead, July 24th

The building now serves as a museum and home for the town's two antique engines, firefighting equipment and memorabilia. Information: or call 978-526-7230. MARBLEHEAD MODEL YACHT RACING at Redd's Pond, ...Read more

Antique fire truck shines again
Sedalia News-Journal, July 24th

The West Central Missouri Vintage Auto Club has restored a 1929 Ford Fire Truck that was last used in the 1960s. The sparkling-clean historical vehicle was on display Wednesday at the Missouri State Fair's Fire House. and will also be on display during...Read more

Cool cars, antique and modern firefighting vehicles on display at two free ...
The Oregonian, July 18th

There will be: displays of firefighting and emergency rescue vehicles; heavy rescue equipment; hazardous materials apparatus; and antique firefighting equipment including a steam engine, hose cart wagon and two of Vancouver Fire Department's original ...Read more

With renos underway, antique fire truck gets temporary new home
Cambridge Times, July 17th

CAMBRIDGE – It was out with the old to make way for the new Wednesday morning (July 16) as this 1938 Bickle Seagrave fire truck was rolled out of the Fire Hall Museum & Education Centre (56 Dickson St.) and loaded on a flatbed truck to be put into ...Read more

Eldred to be home of man's antique fire truck collection
Bradford Era, July 9th

Andrew Leider of Middletown, N.Y., who recently purchased the former Ethan Allen property in Eldred, stands in front of one of his antique fire apparatus in New Jersey about two weeks ago. Leider plans to open a storage facility, restoration shop and...Read more