12/18/13 115 W, 3 I - + 7 - 5 Vintage Asheville, Asheboro Apparatus

Photographer Lee Wilson's been digging through his archives and posting bits and pieces from his apparatus explorations of a double-decade ago. Pictured below are Asheville Tanker 2 and Tanker 8 on August 1, 1992, and Asheboro Snorkel 1 in the mid-1990s (?).

The snorkel is a 1966 Ward LaFrance High-Ranger 85-foot and is reportedly still on the roster! We saw plenty of Snorkel-brand snorkels in the state. How many High-Rangers were around? Durham and Greenville had theml.

The tankers are two Fords of unknown model years. Tanker 2 carried 3,200 gallons and Tanker 8 carried 1,200 gallons. Guessing the second truck was shop-built, but maybe the first one as well? Interesting outfitting! See more photos from Lee.

Lee Wilson photos

Looks like snorkels are a thing of the past…are they not built anymore or desired by FDs?
Newbie ff - 12/18/13 - 07:30

Isn’t “Snorkel-brand snorkels” a bit of a mouthful? :)
What’s the definition of s ‘snorkel’ anyway – as a kid I’ve only ever seen the word prefixed by Simon, IE ‘Simon snorkel’ but I still have no idea what a snorkel is. From the picture it looks like any other ladder or tower.

Also, you might find this interesting -> http://books.google.com/books?id=GLXSuv5..
Paul - 12/18/13 - 10:53

Chicago FD with their two-piece Squad concept runs two rigs, one a smaller walk-in rescue and the second piece labeled “Squad #A”, which is a snorkel-esque rig, just placed an order through Rosenbauer for replacements.

The “Snozzle” concept is still in use to this day as well, and still has a small market, as some smaller departments just looking for an elevated master stream may see the savings, in lieu of buying an aerial apparatus.
Silver - 12/18/13 - 12:44

Snorkel is the brand name of articulating platform. If I remember correctly Snorkel is the name of the company that was founded by a (Chicago?) firefighter who came up with the idea.
Rescue Ranger - 12/18/13 - 17:18

He speaks the truth….“The Snorkel as a Fire apparatus has it’s origins in Chicago in 1958. The Fire Commissioner Robert J. Quinn had been looking for something to replace the department’s three antiquated water towers, which manufacturers were no longer making. Commissioner Quinn had watched in fascination, tree trimmers and electric-sign repairmen using trucks with two hydraulically operated elevating arms that lifted them in baskets high in the air. The workers quickly moved up and down, in and out, swung from side to side, and rotated 360 degrees.

Quinn described his ideas with the department’s chief automotive engineer. “Suppose we mounted a nozzle in the basket and attached several lengths of hoseline to it. We could pump into it just as we do our water towers. These platforms will provide the maneuverability and versatility we lack in water towers that remain stationary. We’d be able to sweep the entire fire floors and at better angles, too. What’s more, these same characteristics would make them ideal for rescuing people from upper floors. The Pitman Manufacturing Company, Grandview, Missouri, builder of aerial platforms, was contacted and agreed to cooperate in an experiment to test one for fire fighting.

The platforms had been invented in 1951 by Ted Thornton Trump of Oliver, British Columbia. Trump named his invention the Giraffe and built it primarily for orchards, where workers called it a cherry picker. About three years later, Firemen of New Westminster, British Columbia, lifted a hoseline in a Giraffe and used it to fight a store fire. But practical development of elevating platforms for fire fighting went no further until they sparked Quinn’s innovative curiosity.

In September, 1958, Pitman delivered a 50 foot elevating platform mounted on a General Motors Corporation chassis, and the platforms was outfitted. In the Chicago Fire Department Shops. Tests showed that engines pumping into base mounted water inlets could produce a stream of 1,200 gallons per minute, through a 2” diameter nozzle, at a maximum pressure of 100 psi. The platform got its first test of fire at 1:00 am on the 18th of October, 1958. When it was called to a 4 alarm lumberyard fire on Chicago’s south side. Fireman John Windle, operating the nozzle from the basket, helped to bring the blaze under control in a fraction of the time normally expected for a fire of equal magnitude. First Deputy Fire Marshal James A Bailey said “I can’t believe how quickly and accurately it worked. It really plastered this fire in a hurry.” Chief Fire Marshal Raymond J. Daley said “In 33 yrs of fire fighting I never saw anything as effective and maneuverable.”
Silver - 12/18/13 - 19:29

When LaFrance first got the Snorkel there was a seperate box sent with the orginal driver’s side dooor with two bullet holes from the 68 riots. The last time I was at the museum they told me they still had it. There is another Snorkel in NC at Southern Shores Fire Dept I believe its a 2002 American Lafrance.
Rod Warner - 12/18/13 - 23:39

Pembroke Rural Fire Dept in Robeson County has a Bronto Skylift.
Marcus - 12/20/13 - 13:06

Winston-Salem’s first Snorkel was a 1964 FWD-Pitman Snorkel (75’ with a pump). The second Snorkel was a 1968 model (85’ unit with a pump). (Both units saw a lot of fire in their days). High Point also had an 85’ Snorkel, I think it was around a 1974 model. The Lexington unit was built using a Grumman body and was delivered around 1988 +/-.
Curtis Teague (Email) - 12/20/13 - 22:55

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