These magnificent machines powered Pennsylvania's early fire departments

  • Source: Chambersburg Public Opinion
  • Published: 03/25/2021 12:00 AM

PHOTOS: The Chambersburg Fire Department dates back to 1780. At the time, to extinguish fires there was a bucket brigade, a group of personnel that threw water on the flames. It often wasn't very effective, as fires usually already spread too much to be subdued. It was during the early 1800s that hand-drawn apparatus was being used to manually pump water through the fire hose, directed by the nozzle man. It was an improvement in conquering the fire. Some of the other equipment used during those days were hand-drawn hose reels to convey the fire hose to the scene of the alarm; the hand-drawn hook and ladder, which was used to transport ground ladders of different lengths; as well as axes, buckets, and other hand tools used in firefighting. The next huge step for apparatus in the department was the introduction of the horse-drawn steam fire engine. The first horse-drawn steamer for the department arrived in Chambersburg in 1871 and was used by the Friendship Fire Company No. 1.


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