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1860 Hand Pumper
1888 Silsby
1899 American Steam
1900s A.L.F. Ladder Wagon
1903 American Steam
1905 Nott Steam
1907 A.L.F. Steam
1915 Chief's Car
1915 Ford A.L.F.
1916 A.L.F. "Disneyland"
1923 A.L.F. Ford TT
1924 A.L.F.
1924 A.L.F. Home Gardens
1925 Stutz
1925 Ford Model T
1927 Chevy Phaeton
1928 Seagrave
1930 Moreland
1947 Ford Wagon
1954 Mack B-85
1955 Crown Triple
1970 Chevrolet Ambulance
1965 Crown
1972 Dodge D300
1973 Ward LaFrance
1981 A.L.F.

 

1903 American Steam Fire Engine
American Metropolitan · Second Size

 

Sacramento · Engine 5

1903 American Steam

This steam pumper is the most valuable piece in the Museum's collection. It has served as the symbolic image in the Museum's logo. Originally purchased by the Sacramento (Calif.) Fire Department, this steamer was horse-drawn and served as that city’s Engine 5. It is operational and, in recent years, has been used on occasion at musters and other fire service events in Southern California. Currently under restoration, the steamer’s wheels have been rebuilt, with all spokes and felloes milled from new wood by a wheelwright in Ohio.

The second size or the second class refers to the pumping capacity. This steam engine could produce 700-800 gallons of water a minute. A first size would pump around 900 GPM, and a third size would produce around 600-650GPM.

This was pulled to the fire by three horses, and was in service with the Sacramento Fire Department, Sacramento, CA. It was Sacramento Engine 5. It was in service from 1903 until about 1904. Upon its retirement it was purchased by Fox Studios and was in use at the studios until sometime in the 60s or 70s when it was sold at auction. A private collecter purchased it at that time.

During its' movie career it made appearances in the Little Rascals, The Three Stooges, East Side Kids,  and most famously, it was in the movie Gone With The Wind.

After the private collector had it, the steamer somehow ended up in a warehouse in the city of Carson, CA. where it was found by Los Anegeles County Firefighters while doing fire prevention inspections. They struck a deal with the owner to borrow it to take it to a Department muster in 1984 in the city of Carson. This steam engine was the star.

After that, a deal was struck and the Museum purchased the engine. Two of our Museum members actually took out liens against their homes to fund the purchase of this engine for the Museum. Terry Lee was one of them, we are researching the name of the other. This deal was completed solely on a hand shake with a promise to pay them back. The museum fulfilled its side of the bargain, and the families are still ourfriends.

Before the muster, the firefighters took it to LACoFD Fire Station 10, and some of the mechanics and engineers, one who's father had a steam license and had actually worked on steam fire engines,  came by and started to work on the engine to get it back into service. They were successful in putting a fire in the coal box and heating up the water in the boiler, and producing steam. They were able to operate this under steam pressure. It is unknown how long it had been since it had steam pressure prior to this time. The last know certification of the boiler was 1927. We found the stamp on the boiler while we were doing this aspect of the restoration.

Since that time the Museum has been using the engine for musters across California and Nevada. This engine won many awards for producing the quickest steam pressure,  getting a hose line into service faster than the other teams and their steam pumpers, the longest stream, and a host of other categories.

CURRENTLY UNDER RESTORATION

closeup

 

It has not been pumped since the early 1990s, and it was completely disassembled in about 1999. We are redoing every nut and bolt in this engine, we have gone through the boiler, and cut out any corroded steel so it will be safe to operate again. We plan on getting the boiler certified so it is safe to operate around the public.

We will have the original pattern of gold leafing redone on every painted surface. Much of the original gold leafing had been worn off through a hundred years of service. As we redo the gold leafing, we are taking every step we can to be as accurate as possible in the recreation and reproduction of that gold leaf design. Just about every painted surface of this vehicle will have gold leafing.

We are also completing plating all of the parts. Each part will be plated as original. As of June 2010, we are planning to have it completed in about a year to a year and a half. When the restoration is completed, it will be one of the most accurately restored steam fire engines in the country. We are taking great pains to make sure the decoration and paint scheme is correct. As well as plating it with nickel instead of chrome. We are working on everything we can think of to be an accurate representation of what the vehicle looked like in 1903.

Read more and see more photos on our 1903 American Steam Restoration page.

The Sketch for our Logo

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