11/15/11 200 W, 1 I - + 2 - 8 Running The Rigs Out on Rainy Days, 1885

In days of old, when crews were bold, and motor trucks hadn't been invented, wooden fire apparatus required maintenance to keep them hydrated. Below is an annual report excerp from 1885, where Chief Engineer Thomas W. Blake reported that apparatus stored in the basement of the Market House were being damaged by the heat of the "eating houses" that also shared the structure.

He noted "The ladders and running gear of the trucks are often so shrunk and dried out as to require their being run out on rainy days to prevent great damage to them, while the valves and pumps of the Hand Engine are seriously impaired by the steady artificial heat." Click once or twice to enlarge and see the excerpt:

Said apparatus was all hand-pulled, and would have included the Hook & Ladder Company's 1872 service ladder truck, the Victor Fire Company's 1875 Rumsey & Company hand engine, and the Bucket & Ladder Company's bucket and ladder truck. Here's a 37-page history in PDF format about the Raleigh Fire Department in the 1880s and 1890s. Perhaps readers versed in wagons can tell more about their maintenance needs.

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