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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Exhibits and galleries
Times Herald-Record, November 27th

Also: Collection of antique motorcycles, including Indians for every year from 1902-1953. ... Orange County Firefighters Museum: Museum chronicles history of firefighting in Orange County and houses a collection of firefighting equipment and memorabilia...Read more

Santa comes to Hopkinton on Dec. 6
MetroWest Daily News, November 27th

HOPKINTON — Santa and Mrs. Claus will make their way to downtown Hopkinton on an antique fire truck on Saturday, Dec. 6. The appearance is part of Hopkinton's Holiday Stroll. The event, sponsored by many businesses and organizations, takes place ...Read more

There's plenty to do this holiday season, November 26th

Horse-drawn carriage rides, antique fire truck rides, carolers, special promotions, music and Santa and Mrs. Claus. Gingerbread houses and children's story time. Free. 513-831-1500; Friday: Santa's Arrival and Tree Lighting...Read more

Los Gatos: The 58th annual holiday parade is ready to march through downtown.
Santa Cruz Sentinel, November 26th

Santa's GPS unit is zeroed in on Los Gatos, with the big man set to visit town on Dec. 5 and 6. First, he'll join the festivities at Los Gatos Town Plaza for the 42nd annual Christmas Tree Lighting event. The next day, Santa joins the 58th annual Los...Read more

Thanksgiving parade marches on in Fountain Hills, November 26th

The parade will also include all the regular trappings: The Fountain Hills high school band, the local fire department, businesses, churches and Santa Claus riding in antique fire truck. "It's just a hometown parade with floats that the kids make in...Read more

Operation Santa, serving Clackamas Fire District 1, enters 40th year of toy ..., November 26th

Santa will ride atop an antique fire truck, escorted by other fire vehicles, through area neighborhoods, while volunteers collect food and toy donations from the community members along the route. Operation-Santa.jpg View full sizeThe Operation Santa...Read more

Celebrations: 13 iconic Sonoma County festivities
Santa Rosa Press Democrat, November 25th

When Santa arrives on an antique fire truck, kids shriek with delight. Local merchants, restaurants and bars get into the act, too. In 2013, Barndiva restaurant roasted chestnuts over an open fire and offered “spirited libations.” Nearby stores gave...Read more

Things to do this week: Nov. 26-30, November 25th

Shopping, dining and holiday festivities. Horse-drawn carriage rides, antique fire truck rides, carolers, special promotions, music and Santa and Mrs. Claus. Gingerbread houses and children's story time. Free. 513-831-1500; more