Norway’s 1852 Fire truck

Here is a piece of local history you can still examine in person. The photo shows Norway’s first “firetruck,” purchased by the town in 1852.Many towns had these.

Prior to this, fires were fought with bucket brigades – passing many buckets of water along a line of volunteers from the water source – a pond, lake or stream – to be thrown on the fire.

This fire engine was a big improvement. It was run by teams of firemen who could keep a steady stream of water going by pumping in a seesaw motion, using long handles on either side of the engine. It was exhausting work.

In the beginning, this fire engine was pulled to the scene by the firemen, but was later modified to be pulled by horses. The wagon attached to the back in this photo was used to carry fire hoses.

Norway’s 1852 fire engine still exists. It was restored in the late 1970s and you can see it in the lobby of the Norway Town Office.

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