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Some of the collections at Engine House No. 5

In 1658, efforts to fight flames with gourds, tubs and pails of water proved useless. Remout Remoutzen, a New York shoemaker was commissioned to make 100 leather buckets, each with a capacity of 3 gallons.

Bucket brigades threw water directly on the fire. Later as hand operated fire engines were created the buckets were used to fill the engine reservoirs. Until the early 1800's buckets were the only means of supplying water to engines.

Engine House No. 5 Museum is home to an extensive collection of these leather buckets.


Firemen were conscious not only of the appearance of their apparatus but also of themselves. Unique uniforms were worn by each company. Engine House No. 5 Museum's collection of uniforms date back to the 1800s.


In 1700's the first helmet was invented by Jacobus Turck of New York City. It was round with a high crown and narrow leather rim.

Henry T. Gratacap is credited with the creation of the traditional American fire helmet. He created it around 1836 and called it the “New Yorker”.

Early helmet makers were saddlers by trade. Helmets were made from hard leather that cushioned the direct force of falling debris. It's large cape-like brim carried off water preventing it from running down the neck of the fire fighter. 

Engines and Hose Carts

Engine House No. 5 museum is home to several apparatus including an 1836 hand pump fire cart, a 1875 Silsby Steamer, 1928 American LaFrance pumper, a 1929 Ahrens Fox pumper, a 1948 Ahrens Fox pumper and a 1972 Ward LaFrance pumper. A fully restored Edward B. Leverich hose cart with 24 carat gold inlay is the pride of the showroom. We also have an intricately carved hose cart used by the Humane hose company with an original riveted leather hose. 

The history of fire extinguishers

There is quite a history to fire extinguishers dating back to the first record of a patent in England in 1723. The photo to the left is an example of a fire grenade.

This consisted of a glass sphere filled with Carbon tetrachloride or salt water, that was intended to be hurled at the base of a fire.

The copper soda-acid extinguisher, popular among todays collectors, mixed a solution of water and sodium bicarbonate with tartaric acid, producing the propellant CO2 gas. Later a soda-acid extinguisher used the reaction between sodium bicarbonate solution and sulfuric acid to expel pressurized water onto a fire. Come see the extensive collection and broad range of extinguishers at Engine House No.5 museum. 

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