“In the beginning”could refer to a biblical verse or a handful of new fire recruits gathered around an older, experienced firefighter explaining the virtues of “now vs. then.” And, so is the story about the evolution of control systems in the fire service and how it has affected both apparatus builders and end users. I recently visited a small volunteer fire department in rural Seneca, Illinois, and viewed its fully restored 1911 Waterous hand-drawn pumper.
It was the first new fire truck the village of 1,000 purchased, and it arrived via box car on the railroad. I marveled at the simplicity of design but also questioned the quality of gasoline available at the time or how many fingers, wrists, or arms were broken starting the motor with the infamous Model-T-type crank start. Read More.
This article originally appeared in Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment, July, 2014.