Expansion of Motor Fire Apparatus Business

Expansion of Motor Fire Apparatus Business

In discussing the merits of motor apparatus in The Engineering Magazine, Herbert T. Wade says: “With such fundamental advantages as economy and speed so apparent, it is not strange that the earliest American manufacturers of automobiles saw a field in supplying fire department chiefs with cars, or that such officials early demanded them. In some cases, notably in smaller cities., cars of this type soon began to be provided with small extinguishers, axes, lanterns, etc., and two or three firemen usually were carried with the chief. Later came a development of this idea and the cars were enlarged in carrying capacity so that eight or ten men with the lighter tools might be accommodated; the organization became known as an emergency, auxiliary or flying squad. To add a chemical tank and a few hundred feet of small hose to one of the early cars did not greatly increase its weight or make any striking difference in its nature, but it enabled a few trained firemen with useful tools to be sent out at top speed immediately on receipt of an alarm, and possibly to quench fire in its incipiency, especially in a dwelling or apartment. Then it was suggested that in addition to the chemical tank and its hose a certain amount of regular hose for the following steamer might be transported so that with a more serious fire preparations could be made for stretching the hose and for rapid connection to hydrant and engine. After the lighter cars had been used for several years in fire service, there came a truck of large capacity to carry at high speed the heavy hose used in the high-pressure district of New York city. It was essentially a well-built high-speed truck chassis with a body designed for carrying hose and mounting a turret nozzle. The success of this truck was immediate and complete. Not a single failure was scored against it, no matter what the condition of weather or pavement. The speed was more than satisfactory, and in case of maneuvring in the city streets it was found vastly superior to horses. From heavy hose wagons to motor-propelled hook and ladder trucks and water towers was but a step, and it was found that these long and unwieldy vehicles lent themselves to mechanical propulsion quite as readily as the lighter apparatus. The use of automobile fire apparatus in the United States has become so extensive that it is not only adding a new phase to problems of fire protection, but in the design and construction of such apparatus there are being developed distinct types, the consideration of which is a matter of no small mechanical interest. So ready have been many cities and towns to purchase motor apparatus that practically every type of machine put forward has received a trial under service conditions. and the experience thus secured is available for large cities, departments and contractors. Large numbers of fire ears now are being purchased by villages where yesterday merely a hand engine or hose reel represented the entire equipment. Where the town maintains a volunteer fire department, the addition of modern motor apparatus ready at a moment’s notice gives increased efficiency and power, besides materially extending the radius of operations and reducing the time of answering an alarm. Then for well organized fire departments where most or all of the firemen are paid and horses are maintained to take out the apparatus on an alarm, there is an extraordinary gain in efficiency and decrease in the cost of maintenance by the use of the new self-propelled machines.”

AUXILIARY CAR AT BAY CITY, MICH. Chief T. R. Harding at wheel beside Asst. Chief Crampton, with D. Flading and T. W. Harding in rear

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