Our Firemen, The History of the NY Fire Departments

Chapter 55, Part V

By Holice and Debbie

The construction of Mr. Hodge's engine was very simple. The surface of the boiler was very great for a boiler of its weight, being only (without water) 1,600 lbs net. There were two continuous wrought frames on each side of the boiler, on to which the two steam cylinders and two double-acting water pumps were attached. The steam cylinders were 9-1/2 inches in diameter and 14 inches stroke. The two pumps were 8-1/4 inch diameter and 14 inch stroke, the same piston rod working both through engines and pumps direct. I front of the bed plate was arrangement for a four, three, two, or one jet. The larger single jet was through a 2-1/4 inch nozzle; if two, each through a 1-1/2 in; if four, each through a 1-1/2 inch nozzle. The quantity of water thrown was very much greater then that contracted for. The height of the stream attained 106 feet, and the quantity thrown to that height through a 2-1/8 inch nozzle was 10,824 lbs. the engine was drawing the water through four lengths of suction from a depth of 12 feet.

In 1851 Mr. W. L. Lay designed a self-propelling steam fire-engine at Philadelphia, with a rotary pump, and provided with a plan by which carbonic acid gas could be used to propel the engine to the fire whilst steam was being raised. The fire was to urged by a fan or blower, and when at work the engine was to be raised off the ground so as to allow the driving wheels to act as fly wheels when the engine was pumping, as was done in Mr. Hodge's engine. It was to throw three or four hundred gallons of water per minute, was provided with a horse-reel, steering apparatus and the usual accompaniments, and was estimated to weight 1-1/2 tons.

In 1853 Mr. A. B. Latta, of Cincinnati, constructed a steam fire-engine, a self-propelled, which ran on three wheels. The cylinders were two in number, placed on each side, the pumps being in front of the cylinders, the piston rods of the steam cylinders were continued to form the rods of the pumps, and the engines were so arranged as to couple to the driving-wheels when required when driving wheels placed under the fire-box. The leading wheel could turn in any direction so as to admit of the easy steering of the engine. It could throw on to six streams of water, and was fitted with a 6-1/2 inch suction hose 24 feet long, and was reckoned to throw 2,000 barrels of water per hour. It would get to work in five minutes, and it required four men and four horses to work it and run it out. On one occasion it threw a stream 291 feet to where the spray feel, the nozzle being 1-3/4 inch diameter.

In 1855 Abel Shawk, of Cincinnati, built an engine with the following results: Steam was forced in 5 minutes and 15 second after tht torch was applied, the water being quite cool; in one minute afterwards, the gauge showed 15 lbs., and in 7 minutes 20 seconds after lighting, 50 lbs., and in 8 minutes from lighting, the engine was started, the steam quickly rising to 180 lbs. When raising the water by the suction from the Delaware against a moderate breeze with a 1-1/4 inch nozzle, a horizontal distance, excluding spray, 176 feet was reached; with 325 feet of hose and a 1-1/8 inch nozzle it threw 120 feet against the wind; with 925 feet of hose, and a 3/4 inch nozzle, the engine threw to a height of 40 feet at 70 feet horizontal distance from the engine, the steam pressure being 98 lbs. on the square inch.

The firm of Messrs. Poole & Hunt, of Baltimore, Md., began building steam fire-engines in 1858, and in 8 years completed seven--one of the first class, four of the second class, and two of the third class. Their engines has no screw, bolt or handle, or any other appurtenance more than ws necessary. The boilers were upright miltitubular, with a square fire-box and enlarged steam space. They were fed by a feed or force-pump, and were arranged to take a supply by a connection with the main air-vessel. These engines raised sufficient steam for starting in from five to six minutes from the time the fire was lighted, the water being cold in the boiler. the first class engine, with a 1-3.8 inch nozzle, threw to a horizontal distance of 257 feet; the second class, with a 1-1/8 inch nozzle, to a horizontal distance of 240 feet; the third class, with a 1 inch nozzle, to a horizontal distance of 235 feet.

Messrs. Ettenger & Edmond, engineers and steam fire engine builders, of Richmond, Va., began the construction of steam fire-engines in 1859. The boilers were vertical with 165 iron tubes of 1-1/2 inch diameter; steam cylinders 9 inches by 15 inches, one in each engine, with two pumps to each placed horizontally, each pump 3-1/2 inches, the contents being equal to the 5 inch pumps. The suction hose was 4-1/2 inches in diameter, and the delivery hose 2-1/2 inches in diameter. The weight of the engine complete, with wood and water ready to run was 6,600 lbs. these engines would throw water to a horizontal height of 240 feet with a 1-1/2 inch nozzle, and to a vertical height of 160 to 180 feet. The average steam pressure used when working at a fire was 60 lbs. on the square inch in 7 minutes from lighting the fire. Two of the first engines were sent to the Fire Department of Richmond, Va., the third to St. Petersburg to the order of Messrs. Winans & Harrison.

Towards the close of 1859 trials of steam fire engines were made at Philadelphia, the engines having been on exhibition at the Fair of the Agricultural Society. The following machines contested:

"Good Intent" built by Reany & Neaples, of Philadelphia

Steam cylinder, 8 inches diameter and 12 inches stroke; pump, 4-3/8 inches, and 12 inches stroke; weight, 5,400 lbs.; 1 inch nozzle, horizontal distance, 169 feet; vertical height, 140 feet.

"Weccacoe," built by Merrick & Sons, Philadelphia

Steam cylinder, 8-1/2 inches diameter, and 14 inches stroke; pump, 6 inches diameter, and 14 inches stroke; 1-1/4 inch nozzle, horizontal distance, 109 feet, vertical height, 83 feet.

No. 7, "Baltimore," built by Poole & Hunt, Baltimore

Steam cylinder, 14 inches diameter and 12 inches stroke; pumps, 6 inches diameter and 12 inches stroke; weight, 5,465 lbs., 1 inch nozzle, horizontal distance, 196 feet, vertical height, 166 feet

"Independence," built by Hunsworth, Eakins & Co., at People's Works, Philadelphia

Steam cylinder, 10-1/2 inches diameter and 14 inches stroke; pumps, 5-1/2 inches diameter and 14 inches stroke; nozzle, 1-/14 inches, horizontal distance, 193 feet, vertical height, 143 feet.

"Washington," built by Poole & Hunt, Baltimore

Steam cylinder, 12-1/2 inches diameter and 12 inches stroke; pump, 6-3/8 inches diameter, and 12 inches stroke; weight, 3.582 lbs; nozzle, 1-/4 inches, horizontal distance, 239 feet, vertical height, 178 feet.

"Mechanic," built by Reaney & Neaple, of Philadelphia

Steam cylinder, 8 inches diameter, and 12 inches stroke; pump, 4-5/8 inches diameter and 16 inches stroke; weight 5,760 lbs.; nozzle 1 inch, horizontal distance, 203 feet, vertical height, 167 feet.

"Hibernia," built by Reaney & Neaple, of Philadelphia

Steam cylinder 1-1/4 inches diameter and 14 inches stroke; pump, 6-1/2 inches diameter and 14 inches stroke; weight, 8,000 lbs,; nozzle, 15/16 inches; horizontal distance, 254 feet; vertical height, 181 feet.

"Southwark," built by Lee & Larned, New York

Steam cylinder, A self-propelling engine; 2 steam cylinders, each 7-1/2 inches diameter and 14 inches stroke one rotary pump, 17 inches diameter and 10 inches wide; weight, 9,000 lbs.

"Citizen," of Harrisburg,

(first-class) fully manned, using 10 feet of hose and a nozzle 1 inch in diameter, worked for 2 minutes, reached a horizontal distance of 196 feet.

"Assistance," of Philadelphia

First Class-length of hose and diameter of nozzle, the same; reached a horizontal distance of 182 feet, 4-1/2 inches.

"Washington,"

Second Class-50 feet of hose and a 7/8 inch nozzle, reached a horizontal distance of 154 feet.

"Philadelphia,"

Second class-under the same circumstances, reached a horizontal distance of 188 feet, 3 inches

"Weccacoe,"

Second Class-as above, a horizontal distance of 154 feet.

"Globe,"

Second class-as above, a horizontal distance of 150 feet and 5 feet allowance.

"Franklin,"

Second class-of Frankford, as above, a horizontal distance of 158 feet and 5 feet allowance.

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Debbie

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