The following article was written by Jean Shanley of the Meadville,
PA Tribune, and published on July 4, 2002. We appreciate the Meadville
Tribune for granting us permission to copy it for our readers,
Classic fire engine comes to Fellows Club Department
CONNEAUTVILLE -- A rare old fire engine that fought many fires in the
borough will be on display at the Fellows Club Volunteer Fire Department
and Ambulance Service in Conneautville for members only on July 11 at 7
p.m. and to the general public on July 12 from 4 to 8 p.m. and July 13
from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 8 to 9 p.m.
It also will be pulled by
a young team of Belgian horses driven by Dave Nicolls of Conneautville
during the parade on July 13.
The 1882 Remington horse-operated
fire engine was built by the famous Remington gunmaker in 1882 in Ilion,
N. Y. There are only two of these fire engines left in the United
States -- one in Conneautville and the other on display at
the Phoenix, Ariz., Hall of Flames.
After several disastrous
fires struck the borough and the borough-owned fire department disbanded
because of lack of newer equipment, the Borough Council of Conneautville
in August 1882 voted to purchase the fire engine that was on loan.
The purchase price was $600.
The fire department never
owned any horses; whoever was closest to the fire hall when the fire gong
was sounded, dropped their wagon and hitched the horses to the fire engine.
The fire engine has a Howe
patent three piston pump which can be operated by a team of horses or 24
men walking in circles around it. The pump is operated when the teams
of horses hitched to two long poles attached to the turntable on the pump
walk around the engine, making the pistons operate.
The three pistons together
make for a smoother flow of water through the hose, according to Allen
W. Clark, a member of the department. The fire engine weighs about
3,000 pounds and is mostly steel.
Clark said this was one
of the new inventions in fighting fires at the time. Most were horse-pulled
and man-operated at the same time. Mr. Howe, who owned the patent,
came to Conneautville to train the firemen on use of the engine.
Council requested the engine
never be taken more than a mile from the fire station. However, in
December, 1898, L. C. Grove Co. in Springboro caught fire with $20,000
in losses. The fire engine responded on an awaiting work train at
the depot from Conneautville to Springboro in three minutes and 10 seconds,
In 1882, Remington Fire
Engine was used up and a motorized fire engine was purchased in the 1920's
by the Fellows Club, a men's social club, which was asked by council to
fund and operate the fire department. The engine, kept in storage
until November 1981, was taken to the Firefighter's Historical Museum in
Erie for restoration and to be placed on loan as an exhibit of firefighting
equipment of years gone by which can still be seen today.
Richard Robb, the museum
curator and president, has done a tremendous effort in restoring the fire
engine to its original condition, Clark said.
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.
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
Copyright © 2002 Jean Shanley and the Meadville Tribune Newspaper
Copyright © 2003 Paul McLaughlin/ Lisa K. Slaski/ Martha S. Magill