Before 1800, fires were fought by throwing water from buckets. The invention of the piston pump with a condenser chamber made it possible to get more water quickly onto the fire. "Hand tubs" consisted of a basin to hold water and a pump to spray the water. The pumps were powered by volunteers rocking long arms up and down, on both sides of the machine. If a water source was close by, a siphon hose could be used to draw water. If no source was close, a bucket brigade was formed to refill the tub as the pistons emptied it. It took many people to operate a hand pumper.
Engines could be any color. In old black and white photos we usually imagine that the vehicle is red, but this did not become the norm for many years. Each color of paint was priced by the cost of the pigment needed. Dark carmine red was a very expensive color. It became a point of pride to paint engines carmine.