Monday, May 23, 2011
1904 MERRYWEATHER FIRE ENGINE
The Merryweather name is one of the most venerable in fire fighting history. With roots that trace to Adam Nuttall’s fire-engine works around 1750, the firm was taken over in 1836 by Moses Merryweather who had worked as a mechanic for the company. In the second half of the nineteenth century, along with companies such as Shad Mason and Baddley and Roberts of London, Merryweather still sold many manual pumps to hospitals, factories and country estates. However, the company began achieving important breakthroughs in the realm of steam. In 1900, Merryweather introduced “Fire King,” its first self-propelled steamer and, within another three years, the company would introduced a vehicle that would change fire fighting forever. It was the first gasoline-powered motor driven appliance ever to be used by a public fire brigade. The following year, in 1904, the Fitchley Fire Brigade received from Merryweather the first gasoline-powered engine with a Hatfield 500 gpm pump driven directly by a shaft from a road engine, an innovation that had enormous impact on fire engine manufacturing. (This chassis, engine and pump are housed in the Science Museum in South Kensington, London.) Soon, many fire brigades wanted gas-powered engines for their companies and, for many years, Merryweather was a leader in providing and developing such vehicles. Now, the 1904 Merryweather Fire Engine has been re-created in precise and authentic detail for The International Fire Engine Collection: The Turn-of-the-Century Edition.