Early Fire Apparatus: The Hand-Drawn Era
Enter the steam pumper, a major advancement that first appeared in the United States in 1840. The steam pumper, with its ability to supply continuous water, did so without using human muscle. As steam pumpers became more widespread, fewer volunteer firefighters were needed in major cities. Instead, the first paid fire departments emerged. Beginning in Cincinnati in 1853, paid firefighters ushered in an era of firefighting that included new concepts and inventions and widespread technological advances. These included the telegraph alarm system, alarm box running assignment cards, sliding fire poles—and horses. The entire landscape of firefighting was changing.
Photo from the FASNY Museum of a hand drawn apparatus that was later converted to a horse drawn apparatus.