People lined the streets of Kutztown for the long-anticipated return of a hand pumper used to fight fires in the mid 1800's. "Joel Bates built approximately 27 hand pumpers between the 1820's and 1850's," says Jeremy Bellois, history buff formerly of Kutztown Fire Company, who currently runs with Allentown Fire Dept. "This is one of about 8 still known in existence, and this is the only one in original, unrestored condition." "Through a 15-year project through a couple members and historians, we were able to locate a collector out of Conway, New Hampshire who had it in his museum at the Fryeburg Fairgrounds," says Bellois.
Kutztown bought the pumper from Philadelphia early on. It remained here until the mid 1970's. It was then stored at the Kempton Farm museum; after that its whereabouts were a mystery.