Model of early manual fire engine, ca. 1680.

1680 in England

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Model of early manual fire engine, ca. 1680. From a colour transparency in the Science Museum Photographic Archive.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Model of early manual fire engine, ca. 1680.

This is believed to be the earliest existing model of a fire engine. It was probably made by a seventeenth century fire engine maker to show to customers, as the provision of full-size handles would seem to indicate. The engine would be worked by a man on each side, pulling down on the handles alternately. The engine consists of two vertical pumps in a metal cistern mounted on a sled. The cistern had to be filled from water buckets. The pumps alternately force water into a large copper air vessel placed between them. When the water level rises above the outlet pipe going to the nozzle, the air is compressed and ejects the water in a continuous stream, an innovation of Hans Hautsch of Nuremberg in 1655.

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Science Museum: Making the Modern World Gallery

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Object Number:
copper and metal
G. Gabb

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