07/28/12 335 W, 7 I - + 10 - 10 Super Pumper Appears at Michigan Muster

The legendary Super Pumper appeared this week at the 2012 SPAAMFAA National Summer Conference in Frankenmuth, MI. Reader and Raleigh antique owner Tim Henshaw sent a couple camera photo photos. The tractor-drawn monster is owned by and resides at the Antique Toy and Fire House Museum in Bay City, MI. Visit their web site. Click to slightly enlarge:

Tim Henshaw photos

Below is some historical information about the rig, plus pictures of Code 3 Collectibles excellent 1:64 scale models of same. Recommend also reading John A. Calderone's book about the Super Pumper System, published in 1985 and reprinted in recent years by Fire Apparatus Journal:

The Mack Super Pumper System was built in 1963 for the Fire Department of New York.  Designed by Gibbs and Cox, a marine and naval architectural firm, the Super Pumper System consisted of five pieces of equipment:  the tractor-drawn Pumper, a tractor-drawn Tender, and three smaller Satellite units.  The Super Pumper System was designed for major fires and could deliver 8,800 gallons of water per minute through 4 1/2-inch hose for a distance of a quarter-mile or more.


The DeLaval 6-stage centrifugal pump was powered by a Napier-Deltic 18-cylinder engine of 2,400 horsepower, which roared so loudly that special ear protectors were required of the pump operators. The Pumper drew water from special, high-pressure hydrants or using a 12-inch suction hose which was lowered via rear-mounted winch into the river or harbor. The Tender carried over 2,000 feet of 4 1/2-inch supply hose and was equipped with a rear-mounted, rear-facing steering wheel, to assist with positioning the apparatus.  

Mounted on the Tender's tractor was a giant deluge gun capable of flowing 4,000 gallons of water per minute from four 2 1/2-inch supply lines.  The Super Pumper System Satellite units also had large deluge guns. Both the Super Pumper and the Super Tender were retired in 1982. The Super Pumper, which along with the tender required 15 people to operate, ran 2,200 calls during its time in service.

I was at a 5th.alarm in the South Bronx in the late sixties when the Super Pumper arrived. Five companies were taken off hydrants to supply it and in the interim, the fire almost got away again. The Satellites however were very useful in that they would place a large manifold in front of the fire building and then supply it with the 4 1/2" hose. I feel a better innovation in those days was the introduction of the Tower Ladder. With all the vacant building fires in the War years,it was the greatest tool to reduce exposure to the members.
John Rademacher (Captain FDNY retired) - 07/30/12 - 20:36

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