Friday, February 10, 2017

well, this is a surprise, I've never seen a steam pumper crashed

in better days it was the above... front wheel drive is the Christie

nearly identical to the 1913 fire engine in the Nethercutt

this Christie front end is from my visit to the Hall of Flame Museum in Phoenix, the Front Drive Motor Company made everything that wasn't fighting a fire on this ladder truck. I look at it and am amazed that one company was making the power and steering section, and companies like Ahrens Fox were making the fire fighting part


  1. I bought a plastic model kit of a Christie...1/16 Entex I believe it was.
    But I sold it at a swap a dummy !

  2. I built a model of one of these. Beautiful kit.

  3. The fire service is a very interesting study of the mechanization of an industry, and how technology changed rapidly but sometimes was not adopted universally. The steam pumper originally pulled by horses were many times converted to be pulled by Christie and other tractors. Even after motorized pumper's were available many stuck with the proven steam to power the pump. It was an art to keep a small pilot fire burning at all times, and to get it going while on the way to a fire so there was sufficient steam power when they arrived at the seen of the alarm. The old equipment is truly built to last and is quite artistic in design. My volunteer department has one of their original 1928 American La France pumper's. I have had the pleasure to drive it numerous times in parades and events and it amazes me what it must have been like to go to an actual call on it. It can still pump it's rated 750 gallon per minute, and it drafts better than any new pumper we have.

    1. I agree completely, as I've posted about it thoroughly in the past 10 years and visited many fire fighting museums in person too. Do you have photos you can share of your 1928 LaFrance? Or a link to a website? If so, I'd like to share that with my other readers, and my email address is

  4. J Walter Christie also invented the tank suspension used on the Russian BT tanks.