The 1882 Remington Fire Engine


This is a print from a piece of art, which was done in colored pencil, by Mark Jenca. The copy of the 1890 Harper's Bazaar page seems to indicate that his model was the flyer used by Mr. Howe, patentee, to advertise his new Fire Engine. Mark Jenca, now deceased, was from Flint, Michigan. I am very appreciative to Mark's mother, Mrs. Ardie Jenca, for granting me permission to include this piece of art in the website.

--Paul T. McLaughlin, Village of Ilion Editor

Original Art
1890's Harper's Monthly Magazine
Mark Jenca's Art
Late Flint, MI Artist, Mark Jenca's 1986 Adaptation
(Click on the image above to enlarge)

This original painting by Mark Jenca may not be reproduced in any format without the express permission of his immediate family.

In June of 2002 I received an inquiry from a gentleman in Pennsylvania requesting info about the Remington Agricultural Works.  He is Allen W. Clark, 1st Assistant Fire Chief  with The Fellows Club Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service in Conneautville, PA that owns an 1882 Remington Fire Engine.  As the result of that and further correspondnece, he has provided the following treatise on the history of their fire engine.  His authorization to post this info follows. You can learn more about Conneautville at Conneaut Valley Area Historical Society

I want to express my gratitude to Allen Clark and the entire membership of the Fellows Club Volunteer Fired Department and Ambluance Service in Conneautville, for their involvement in making this story possible for posterity to enjoy. 

--Paul T. McLaughlin, Village of Ilion Editor

"Here is the information on the Remington. Please let me know when and where you can post or publish this information.  Thanks for all your help!"

--Allen W. Clark

The 1882 Remington Fire Engine

By Allen W. Clark, 1st Assistant Fire Chief
Fellows Club Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service in Conneautville, Pennsylvania

      The Fellows Club Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service in Conneautville, Pennsylvania owns a rare fire engine that fought many fires in the Borough of Conneautville for several years.  The 1882 Remington Horse Operated Circular Pump Fire Engine was built by the famous Remington gun makers in 1882 at the Ilion, New York Remington Agricultural Works.  There are now only two known fire engines left in the United States.  The second one being kept on display in Phoenix, Arizona at the Hall of Flames Museum. [Editor's note: this second fire engine is also one based on the Howe patent Patent, however, it was built by the Rumsey Manufacturing Co. of St. Louis (see the Hall of Flame Fire Fighting Museum site for more info). Thus the fire engine owned by the Fellows Club Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service in Conneautville is the only Remington built fire engine that is known to exist today.]

      After several disastrous fires in the Borough and the Borough funded fire departments disbanding due to the lack of newer equipment, the Borough Council of Conneautville in a special meeting in August 1882 made a motion to purchase the fire engine that was on loan to them for $600 dollars.  The fire department never owned any horses but who ever was closest to the fire station when the fire gong was sounded, dropped their wagon and hitched up to the fire engine.

      This fire engine has a Howe patented three piston sweep pump which can be operated by one or two teams of horses or 24 men walking in circles around it.  The pump is operated when the teams of horses hitched to two long poles which is then attached to the turn table on the pump, walks around the fire engine making the pistons operate.  The three pistons together make for a smoother flow of water through the hose with less vibration.  Mr. Howe built this type of fire engine with a fifth wheel which was great for factories and cities that had narrow passageways and streets allowing the fire engine turn on its own radius.  The concept, according to records, never caught on due to the expense of having horses and was quickly replaced by steam powered technology.

      The fire engine weighs about 3,000 pounds and is constructed of iron except for inside the pistons which are made out of leather.  This was one of the newer inventions in fighting fires.  During this era, most apparatus was horse pulled and man operated.  Mr. Howe himself came to Conneautville to demonstrate the usefulness and to train the firemen on the use of the fire engine.  On one trial of the fire engine, water was pushed from a 3 ½ inch suction hose in a pond through 350 feet of 2 ½ inch hose forcing a stream of water reaching 80 feet over the flag staff on one of the buildings on Main Street.

      Borough Council requested that it never be taken more than a mile from the fire station, however, in December  1898, the  L.C. Graves Company in Springboro, three miles north of   Conneautville, caught fire with $20,000 dollars in losses.  The fire engine responded to the fire on an awaiting work train at the Conneautville Depot.  The train made the three mile trip to Springboro in three minutes and ten seconds according to newspaper articles.

      The 1882 Remington Fire Engine was used up unto a motorized fire engine was purchased in the mid 1920ís by the Fellows Club, a menís social club, who was asked by Conneautville Borough Council to fund and operate the fire department.  It was kept in several different places in storage until November of 1981, when the fire engine was taken to the Firefighterís Historical Museum in Erie, Pennsylvania for restoration and to be placed on loan as an exhibit of firefighting equipment of years gone by which can still be seen today.  Mr. Richard Robb, the museum curator and president, has done a tremendous effort in restoring the fire to its original condition.

      The fire engine has rarely been seen by residents of the community during parades over the past years.  It was pulled during the 1964 Sesquicentennial Celebration and parade of the Borough of Conneautville, once in 1981 in a parade in Erie, and then recently on July 13, 2002 through firefighterís efforts, it was brought home from the museum and was pulled in the Conneaut Valley Homecoming Parade by a pair of Belgian horses owned by David Nicolls of Conneautville.

Following are copies of the:

Minutes of the Meeting held by the Borough Council during which approval was voted to purchase the fire engine,

The New Fire Engine newspaper article, July 22, 1882.

Howe Patent Advertisement Flyer.

The Remington's First Big Fire newspaper article, 1886.

Homecoming of the Fire Engine newspaper article, July 2002.

Conneaut Valley Homecoming Parade Summary with several photos, July 2002.

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Established: 6 Mar 2003
Updated: 18 Dec 2005
Digital Image Copyright © 2003 Paul McLaughlin
Original Artwork Copyright © 2003 Mark Jenca (deceased)/ Mrs. Ardie Jenca (the artist's mother)
Copyright © 2003 Allen Clark and the Fellows Club Volunteer Fire Department and Ambulance Service in Conneautville
Copyright © 2003 Paul McLaughlin/ Lisa K. Slaski/ Martha S. Magill