The "Long John" Fire Engine?
The "Long John" Fire Engine?
Posted by: nordsider ()
Date: March 08, 2015 10:18PM

In February of 1858, Chicago acquired and tested its first steam fire engine, named the "Long John", after Mayor John Wentworth. The volunteer fire people did not like being replaced by a fire engine.

The photo, a view northeast, taken by the photographer Alexander Hesler from the tower of the Court House, was also taken in the year 1858; and I suspect that the "Long John" fire engine could well have been the vehicle with the tall vertical exhaust pipe, that appears on Clark Street, very near Randolph.

http://www.greatchicagofire.org/item/ichi-05740


A sketch of the "Long John" fire engine shown here on page 68:

https://books.google.com/books?id=_idEAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA68&lpg=PA68&dq=long+john+steam+fire+engine+chicago&source=bl&ots=xsf0xTVwh-&sig=yEdTjc-TWzcHlFJHWaFB3R-SpoY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=FsT8VJaECZL-gwTV8YPABQ&ved=0CDIQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=long%20john%20steam%20fire%20engine%20chicago&f=false

What are your thoughts; could this be the one and same fire engine?

Re: The "Long John" Fire Engine?
Posted by: PKDickman ()
Date: March 08, 2015 11:50PM

No. The photo is of a horizontal boiler with the steam engine mounted atop the tank. Most likely some sort of traction engine.

The drawing is of a vertical boiler like most pumpers I have seem. The vertical tank is more forgiving of tilting as the water level is higher above the crown sheet. Also a fire pump would not need a flywheel as the reciprocating action of the engine would not need to be converted to rotary to operate a simple piston pump

Re: The "Long John" Fire Engine?
Posted by: nordsider ()
Date: March 09, 2015 12:19PM

Firefighting in the Horse-Drawn Era - Getting Water (K3 003)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mMlAlfjAXg




Steam Fire Engine: 1899 American Steam Fire Engine; Restored and working

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnxkCW913E0



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/2015 12:25PM by nordsider.

Re: The "Long John" Fire Engine?
Posted by: nordsider ()
Date: March 09, 2015 08:10PM

The Silsby Manufacturing Co. built the "Long John" fire engine and sold it to the city of Chicago in 1857; with an horizontal boiler.

https://books.google.com/books?id=Pw4OAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=History+of+the+American+Steam+Fire-Engine&hl=en&sa=X&ei=28f9VIeGM4arNpLKg9gB&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=chicago&f=false


Also, the Chicago Tribune Nov.29, 1959

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1859/11/29/page/1/article/the-silsby-mynderse-co-steam-fire-engines-trial-of-a-new-machine

Re: The "Long John" Fire Engine?
Posted by: PKDickman ()
Date: March 09, 2015 09:29PM

nordsider Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The Silsby Manufacturing Co. built the "Long John"
> fire engine and sold it to the city of Chicago in
> 1857; with an horizontal boiler.
>
> https://books.google.com/books?id=Pw4OAAAAYAAJ&pri
> ntsec=frontcover&dq=History+of+the+American+Steam+
> Fire-Engine&hl=en&sa=X&ei=28f9VIeGM4arNpLKg9gB&ved
> =0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=chicago&f=false
>
>
> Also, the Chicago Tribune Nov.29, 1959
>
> http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1859/11/29/page
> /1/article/the-silsby-mynderse-co-steam-fire-engin
> es-trial-of-a-new-machine

Interesting.
It is quite possible. Perhaps the engraver from the "History of Chicago" took some artistic license.

The photo shows a lot of similarity to Silby's first, the Neptune, in that it seems to have a square blocky boiler with a flat top (fairly unusual) although the smoke stack is farther forward and the steam dome seems less pronounced.

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