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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Testing the Hoses: 1913

Testing the Hoses: 1913

"Motor Fire Engine." Testing the FDNY hoses somewhere along the waterfront in 1913. View full size | Zoom in. George Grantham Bain Collection.

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I. A. F. E.

The New York Times of September 4, 1913 describes the scene in the photograph, and part of the article is shown below. The location was Pier 94 at 12th Avenue and 54th Street. The International Association of Fire Engineers was established in 1873, and the organization is now the International Association of Fire Chiefs. Note that there is a discrepancy in the amount pumped during the test (6 million vs 8 million gallons).

Originally established in 1855 at Newark, New Jersey, the wheel maker Phineas Jones & Co. was located at 655 W. 55th. In 1915 they opened a Los Angeles branch. The building to the right, with the letter "T" near the top was T. G. Patterson, Inc., which was at 637 W. 55th. They made boxes, molding, and other wood products. These two neighboring companies helped each other advertise. Just out of view, at the top of the Jones building Patterson had a sign on each side, and the chimney of the Patterson building was painted with the word "JONES." Photos of these signs are below.


Motor Apparatuses Draw 6,000,000 Gallons from the Hudson, Demonstrating Efficiency.

The world's Fire Chiefs who are here attending the forty-first annual convention and fire exposition of the International Association of Fire Engineers, spent the whole of yesterday making observations at a capacity test of motor fire pumps on the pier at Fifty-fourth Street and North River. To the thousands of residents who went to De Witt Clinton Park, overlooking the pier, the test must have appeared like an attempt to pump the Hudson River dry.

For the benefit of the visiting Fire Chiefs, many of whom are accompanied by their Fire Commissioners and Mayors, contemplating the installation of motor fire apparatus, eleven big motor fire engines were drawn up along either side of the wharf, their suction pipes extending down into the river and their hose nozzles pointed out over the dock.

The full capacity test was begun at 6 o'clock in the morning. Each engine was required to run at full capacity for six hours at not less than 120 pounds pressure, pumping through three lines of hose, drawn into one nozzle. At the end of the first hour a reading of all the meters showed that a total of nearly 700,000 gallons of water had been pumped up by the eleven motor engines. When the tests were finished nearly 8,000,000 gallons of water had been pumped.

Either side of the pier throughout the day presented the appearance of a cataract, and thousands of persons thronged the river front to witness the spectacle. The roar of the racing pumps could be heard several blocks away.

At first test readings were taken every minute, and later readings were taken every five minutes. On a large blackboard, extending almost the length of a block in front of the pier, were marked hourly the results. Hundreds of the Fire Chiefs were on hand when the test began. They had score books in which they kept the hourly results. Most of them stayed at the pier until the test was finished, and went away expressing their belief that the efficiency of the motor fire engine had been proved.

While the Fire Chiefs were at the tests their wives and daughters were being entertained at luncheon at the Hotel Plaza by the Ladies' Committee, of which Mrs. John Kenlon, wife of Chief Kenlon, is Chairman. After luncheon an address was made by Mrs. Frederick Gooderson, wife of Deputy Chief Gooderson, of Brooklyn.

Knox Piston Pumper

This fire truck is a circa 1913 Knox Pison Pumper. It resembles some Seagrave and Webb models. The vehicle was made in Springfield, Massachusetts. Knox cars were made from 1900 - 1914, and trucks and tractors - were made from 1900 - 1924.

Note the lack of a muffler on the end of the exhaust manifold/exhaust pipe.

The production of 'buckboard' type fire engines was coming to an end by this time.

The license plate looks like it shows 1912 for the year.

Phineas Jones & Company

You can see Phineas Jones & Company they made wheels for carriages

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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