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Monday, January 11, 2016

The Amazing Hand Pumper

If you've followed this blog for a while you know I write fiction, and I iron my sheets. So that's about all that's really exciting in my life. 

Actually, I do other stuff just like all of you. And one of things I do is hunt down antique fire equipment to oh and ah over. 

Some years ago, I even wrote about those amazing machines from our past. That was the first $100 from my pen, and I would have paid the magazine to print my article I was so excited to create it. Here are the opening pages.




The images in my article were all original photos from those early days. The main page photo was of the Hunter Street Fire Station in Stockton, CA. The fire fighters were testing the Button Hand Pumper.

Below are some photos I took at the Pioneer Memorial Museum in San Francisco and at Columbia State Park in northern California. You can see how colorful these beauties were. 


Protection Company Engine, 1849. One S.F.'s first fire engines.


The Papeete cost $1800. It arrived in Columbia, CA in 1859. 


Another Protection Company Engine, 1849.
I have tons to say about early fire departments. Their development and the history of our country are so entwined that if you know what was happening around the fire house, you know a lot about the those early years in the U.S.

If you're on my Special Offers Newsletter, I'll be sending you a link to my article. Hope you enjoy.



Quote of the Week: "There is no subject so old that something new cannot be said about it." Dostoyevsky



Have you seen a hand pumper, especially one in action? Next week I'll show you some at a Muster. 

84 comments:

  1. that old equipment is interesting. Those hand pumpers could shot a stream of water 200 feet or so--quite a feat. Have you been to the fire dept museum in Virginia City? There is also a decent book on the fire department history of the town (Red Shirts and Leather Helmets: Volunteering Fire Fighting on the COmstock Lode" by Steven Frady)

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    1. I have been to the Virginia City fire dept. museum. Many years ago. It's time to go again. Thanks for the book title. I'll look it up.

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  2. That's cool it was your first paying gig. Looks like people have been good about restoring those old fire pumps.
    I knew what you meant by your blog post title, but my mind went elsewhere anyway...

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  3. Awesome this was your first writing article where you got paid. Love the look of the first page.

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    1. It's always special--that first check for writing. I guess that's why I want to remember the article.

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  4. Whoa, those are really cool! I especially like the look of the Papeete...

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  5. They made things look so pretty, artistic even. I'm going to look forward to reading the article!

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  6. I've never seen one in action but I have seen them. Modern fire equipment is so expensive it's a major fundraiser for small communities.

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    1. It's so exciting. The steamers are most impressive.

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  7. I think I remember you mentioning that you iron your sheets, but it still took me by surprise. But hey, whatever floats your boat.

    How neat that was your first paying writing gig. Seems fitting considering your passion.

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    1. Maybe that supports the "Write what you love" motto!

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  8. The hand pumper is a beautiful piece of equipment.

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  9. Hi Lee - I love old equipment - just wish I knew how it worked ... but getting swamped with cold water wouldn't impress! I've had enough of rain storms recently ...

    I do iron my sheets - they've been done this week! Mind you I could use one of our steamrollers the engineers bring out each August ... to iron my sheets flat for a year?!

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Remember those mangles? If I had room, I'd get one of those and press everything!

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  10. The cat has a dirty mind lol great how they have been restored, looking all shiny new.

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    1. You and Alex seem to be of like mind. I knew the guys would enjoy my title,

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  11. Those hand pumpers are very cool looking. That's great that you got paid to write an article you were so excited about!

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    1. It was. And I should have just framed the check.

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  12. Very cool:) My grandfather was an SF Fire captain for most of his life, and we've still plenty in the family:)

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    1. I admire the fire fighters. They really do one hard and dangerous job.

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  13. You would be my nephew's best friends. He loves all things firetrucks and I bet would love seeing and learning about older ones.

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    1. Hope you'll share my article with him. Let me know what he thinks.

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  14. I don't think I've ever seen a fire engine in my life... fire doesn't really follow me, thankfully

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  15. Looks like a beautiful equipment. I wish we had these here.

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  16. Those pumpers were so colorful they look like circus wagons! You should totally write a historical about a fire company - I bet you'd really enjoy writing it. :)

    (Thanks for commenting on my blog. The shiny refrigerator pic was off the net - just a stand in for my kitchen, which is much smaller. Although my fridge is only a year old, it isn't one of those stainless steel beauties. I'm normally too ashamed of my horrible tablet and phone pics to put something of mine up, but the cement disaster needed documentation 'cause who'd believe me otherwise? LOL! It's all been fixed now and they did it with relative ease. I was just shocked at the first impression.)

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    1. So glad the clean up went well. That was one super mess!

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  17. Wow, they really put a lot of work into crafting those! I imagine hand pumping was pretty hard work too... hmm, that might have come out slightly wrong.

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    1. What is it with the men on this blog today? You can definitely tell the difference between how guys think and how the opposite sex does. I'm going to have to be very careful about my titles from now on.

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  18. Interesting topic; thanks so much for sharing! That's exciting you were able to get paid to write about a topic you loved - that's the dream, right? haha

    -Lauren

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    1. Always a good goal. Write. Get paid. Do it again.

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  19. I love encountering antique and vintage items. They really make me think about how people used to live. I haven't studied any item in particular, but I'm interested in phones.

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    1. I keep an old dial phone so that when we lose electricity and my cell's dead, I can call out. Kids love to play with it. They've never seen one.

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  20. I think the most shocking thing in this post is that you iron your sheets. LOL!

    Those are neat contraptions.

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    1. I'm a princess when it comes to sheets. I can't stand un-ironed ones. That's my only fetish. Promise.

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  21. Growing up, there was a farm we'd pass an it had an old machine in one of the fields that my cousin and I called the dinosaur, because it really looked like one peeking up out of the grass. We always looked for it.

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    1. Do you think it was an old piece of fire equipment?

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  22. I agree with Chrys, ironing sheets. Acutally, it was something I did as a child. That and all the laundry using a roller on the washer to wring out the water. Then hanging all the laundry on a line or several lines in the yard. In the winter it was hung in the basement. I don't iron sheets today but I do fold them as soon as they come out of the dryer. I'd love to sleep on ironed sheets, but I won't break my back to do it. :)
    Love old things, all old things! Love the first published story!

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    1. Ah, yes. The old roller wringer. My gram had one of those. I ran my arm though it a few time. Hurt like the devil.

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  23. Those are awesome pics! Congrats on the article!! :)

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    1. I love taking pictures of these things.

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  24. I am a dirty girl...that is all I have to say:) These old Fire engines are great and I love the beautiful painted detail. I watched a program last week where this place restored an old Fire truck for a museum. Very cool. Now about ironing sheets...why? Do you have some German in your or something:)?? (I can say that as my mom is German)

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    1. Not German, but Swiss--at least partly--and Irish. I think it was my Irish side that did this ironed sheet thing to me.

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  25. Oh, goody. I'd love to read the article. My husband was a firefighter for 35 years, but I know very little about the early departments and trucks. Sounds great.

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    1. That's fantastic! I hope the article is interesting. I'm sending it out this week.

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  26. I didn't know about this interest of yours. Fun! Love old photos.

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    1. It has be rather buried since I started writing fiction, but now it's time to return to other things I enjoy.

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  27. What a fascinating past time. Much better than ironing! YUK! My sheets never see an iron unless my mother comes to visit :) She's also a sheet ironing person. Anything I can pull of the dryer and fold with only a few creases goes straight in the wardrobe :)Have a great week!

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    1. I stop at sheets, but your mom and I would get along.

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  28. I've never seen one in action, but no doubt they saved lives and property. It's amazing what people have invented over the years. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Some of these machines are still working! Just not at real fires.

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  29. Wow, those are surprisingly beautiful. I have to admit I've never seen one before.

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    1. You must see one in person to appreciate the art work.

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  30. This was most interesting to look at and read Lee.
    Yvonne.

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  31. I love old things too but not as much as my husband. He's an ebay demon. :-)

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    1. Ha! Well, if he finds one of these beauties on ebay tell him to buy. :-)

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  32. Hey Lee,

    I know, you've been wondering why I'm way down here in your comments section. Of course, what with me taking so long to get here, your vast amount of other adoring fans had already responded. So here I am, way down here.

    Fascinating stuff. Great post! Thanks for sharing! Following!

    Ahem, notice I wont even leave the slightest hint of an innuendo in regards to, "The Amazing Hand Pumper." Which means I wont make any mention of a hand pumper in action, or my teenage years...

    As usual, your starstuckest fan,

    Gary :)

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    1. You may be at the bottom here, but you're at the top of my list! So glad you refrained from going into your teen years though. This is a site with a g rating. I don't want to lose my license.

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    2. Ah yes, a "G" rating, aka "Gary" rating. Your license is safe. I'm on the blogging monitoring committee!

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    3. And why didn't I know G stood for Gary? Maybe all the Gs stand for Gary. Sounds possible to me.

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  33. I have never seen a hand pumper. Those are interesting! Thanks for sharing the photos.

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    1. You must see at least one. Bubba would love it.

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  34. I've seen those before, but the history and how it used to be a community obligation to man them rather than a city/county one, that's the aspect that fascinates me. How did people survive?

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    1. A lot of towns burned down, and if you read my article you'll find out that happened a lot because of the firemen. Sometimes those boys behaved badly.

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  35. Cool. We could geek out together at museums. :) I love history. My subject of total geekery is Sumer. I wish the fighting would stop in Iran so I could visit.

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  36. Those are pretty cool looking. They've got so much personality. No wonder you like them. :)

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  37. I visited the museum while I was in the UK last June and it was FABULOUS. I raised 5 sons, so firetrucks, firemen, and big honking fire hoses were a popular thing when my kids were little. Didn't take much to hook me. Then we created our own fire department at our lake and my husband was the chief. Talk about seriously wonderful times. Your photos are awesome, Lee.

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    1. I love your story about the boys and your own fire department. That does sound wonderful.

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  38. I'll have to remember that when I go to a local castle. They have a tiny museum in a part of this castle for the history of fire fighting in the region.

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    1. Yes do that. I never miss a chance to visit a fire museum.

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  39. This is really great. I had no idea you had such knowledge! :)

    Did I ever tell you my husband sells fire apparatus?
    True story.

    Heather

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    1. I wonder if he's seen some of these beauties? What a contrast between what he sells today and what he would have sold in the past centuries!

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  40. I have never seen one working in person or actually seen one in person either. Definitely an interesting topic to learn more about. Thanks for sharing your article with your newsletter.
    ~Jess

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    1. I hope you found the article interesting. And thanks for subscribing, Jess.

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  41. This is so cool! :D I feel like I'd heard before that fire engines used to be different colors, but I had no idea they were so instrumental in what went on in the early US. Can't wait to read what else you have to say about them!


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbositybookreviews.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks, Alexa. Glad it interests you.

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