These antique pieces are a "Piano" Hand Pumper Circa 1850 and a Two-Wheel Hose Cart circa 1885. This pumper and hose cart would form an engine and hose company. Apparatus similar to these protected communities all over the United States during the 19th century.
About this creation
This is a "Piano" Hand Pumper manufactured by Rumsey & Company of Seneca Falls, New York, around 1850. This is a hand-drawn hand-powered pumper that is capable of pumping around 60 gallons per minute.
This is called a "piano" type pumper because the wooden body of the engine resembles that of a piano. After "goose-neck" pumpers, these were the next step in the development of pumping apparatus. There were mainstays of the fire service until the steam powered fire engines became common in the 1870's. Some hand pumpers served into the first decade of the 20th Century.
This hand pumper carries two nine foot sections of three inch hard suction hose. These were used to draft from cisterns or ponds. This hand pumper also could draw water from a hydrant. The hand pumper had its own goose-neck pipe so it could apply water directly on a fire.
The hand pumper had a pole on the front for the crew to use to steer it. It also had two reels of rope on the front for the crew to us to pull it.
This is a hand drawn hose cart manufactured by Gleason and Bailey of Seneca Falls, New York. The frame of the hose cart is made of iron pipe and the reel is an iron cylinder. This hand drawn hose cart was pulled by an iron rod as well as by two ropes mounted on the front of the cart. It has two wheels that are approximately 60 inches in diameter. It carries 400 feet of 2 1/2 inch rubber lined hose. This cart carries a brass nozzle and a tool box where wrenches and other hand tools were carried. This cart empty weighs approximately 150 pounds. When new, it cost around $75.
Seneca Falls was a center of fire apparatus manufacturing in New York State from the 1850's until around 1900. Pryce Bailey worked for Rumsey & Company for around 20 years before partnering with Elliot Gleason in 1884. Their partnership lasted until 1901. Eventually, Gleason and Bailey developed a profit sharing arrangement with their competitor, John Rumsey.
Hand drawn hose carts such as this were developed in the early 1800's. These hose carts were eventually replaced by hose wagons as more flexible hoses were developed in the mid- to late 1800's. However, many fire departments still used them up into the start of the 20th Century.
I have to give credit to one of my favorite builders, Greg Nation, for inspiring me to go beyond the 20th Century and build these pieces. BFD552@Gmail.com.