11-12 October 2012
1867 Gibbs & Gordon Soda Ash Chemical Kettle Hand Pumper
Sold for $26,400
• One of only two known to exist
• Ready for vintage musters or personal display
O.C. Gibbs and Edwin Gordon operated the New England Chemical Fire Engine Company at 60 Sudbury Street in Boston. They left behind a scant trace, save for their mention in the 1872 city directory and this chemical fire engine. The chemical engine used soda ash and water, which, when mixed, formed a slurry to “smother” flames. In this unit, soda ash, from compartments on the side of the machine, was added on the grates to the top of the copper kettles. Water was then applied by bucket or hose, and the corresponding mixture was pumped through the hose to the fire. The concept was similar to the soda ash extinguishers that persisted in homes and public buildings into modern times.
This unit was intended for “little” fires; the nozzle is but a quarter inch in diameter, yet when it competed at a muster in Indiana a few years ago, it pumped more than 100 feet and requires eight people to operate at that level. Found in a Boston area basement, its previous owners are unknown. It was professionally restored about ten years ago, including new wheels, and it recently participated in a parade in Bath, Maine. It comes with ramps and chocks, is easily transported in a pickup truck, the color is original, the brake handles are oak, and the insignias are gold leafed. Only one other example is known to survive; with vintage fire apparatuses enjoying increasing popularity, this is an opportunity to acquire a very uncommon example.
AddendumPlease note this vehicle will be sold on a Bill of Sale only.
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