the Olde Fire Laddies and
their fire apparatus...

Ancient Rome had the hand engine, with the condenser chamber, 2000 years ago. What they didn't have was volunteer firemen. They used slaves as firefighters, and the slaves lacked the conviction to save lives and property. American firefighters were symbols of a new idea, a self reliant citizenry. They took fire fighting to a new level with their ingenuity and compassion.

The pump with a condenser chamber was reinvented in Germany. By 1700 they had them on wheels.

    Colonial fire engines were made in England. The Revolution brought about locally made fire engines. Volunteer firemen wanted custom equipment and participated in the design of their apparatus. Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore each developed their own prefered pumping mechanics and body styles.

    Educated and informed citizens were needed in early American communities to make self rule work. Fire companies were experiments in democracy and examples of civic responsibility, even before the revolution. Early firemen bought their own equipment. The fire engine was theirs. They personally took on the responsibilities of fire protection for their neighborhood.
    They wanted their equipment looking fancy because it was a statement. This wasn't the King's engine, or the Colonial Governor's engine. These men took the responsibility of protecting the town away from the King... and they tricked out their engine like it was a royal coach. They took the aristocrat's power, responsibilities and trappings too.

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