Alresford Museum

Relax and take a trip back in time

Horse drawn fire engine, steam pump, No.1292.

Made by Merryweather & Sons, Greenwich, England, 1893, used at Tichborne Park Estate, Alresford, Hampshire from 1893.

This Merryweather steam fire engine comprises a boiler, steam pumping engine and various accessories necessary for generating and maintaining steam pressure in order to pump water. All the machinery is mounted on a sprung carriage which has four steel-tyred wooden wheels and was pulled by two horses.

The SteamerA coal bunker is fastened on the rear of the chassis and probably doubled as a step or platform for the firemen. The brass-clad, vertical water-tube boiler is mounted at the rear. It was designed so that steam could be raised to a working pressure of 100 psi (689.5 kPa) in eight to ten minutes. The vertical engine and pump are located between the boiler and the seat for the firemen. The water pump is direct-coupled to the engine, and the water cylinder has a bore of 7 inches (17.8 cm). It comprises a single outlet connection, inlet and outlet air vessels and five pump valves, three down and two up.

The chassis of the pump rides on four wooden spoked wheels, with brass-bound hubs, brass hubcaps and steel facing plates. Iron tyres are fitted to the wheels, and the fore-carriage has a 90-degree turning lock. Suspension is by leaf springs, and there are separate hand-operated wood-block brakes to each rear wheel. The driver was provided with a raised seat and a footboard, while four firemen were accommodated on the long seats behind and at right angles to the driver's seat. The long seats were provided with loose cushions. Two firemen standing directly behind the driver operated the two hand brakes connected to the rear wheels. On the side of the long seats in gold letters were the letters T.P.F.B.

Two horses originally pulled the steamer, with a single pole between them. Two hose branches (jets) were carried at the front beside the driver, above which are the brackets with carriage lamps. A hose is also strapped to each side of the vehicle below the firemen's footrests. This was used between the water supply, usually a pond, and the pump. Leather hoses were used to direct water onto the fire.


Builder: Merryweather & Sons, Greenwich, England
Date: 1893  No.: 1292
Engine: single cylinder vertical
Bore: 6.9 inches (17.5 cm)
Stroke: 5 inches (12.7 cm)
Pump capacity: 200 gallons (909.2 litres) per minute
Steam pressure: 100 psi (689.5 kPa)

Horse drawn steam fire engine pump, metal/paint/wood, Merryweather, London, 1896.
Wheelbase 5 feet, track 4 feet 5 inches, length 11 feet, width 5 feet 2 inches. Height 6 feet 2 inches to top of driver's seat. Four wheels. Weight 1 ton 3 hundredweight.

On painted section of boiler within rectangular box: No 1292 / MERRYWEATHER & JAKEMAN'S / PATENT / 1895. Below this box: M&S No 1292 / W250 - S150.