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A fan page dedicated to the history of the

Chicago Fire Department

 

 

Note: This is an unofficial site and it is not in ANY way affiliated with the City of Chicago or any of it's agencies.

I created this website mainly to show some of the rarely seen vintage pieces of the Chicago Fire Department apparatus and other equipment which are mostly not covered on the web so far like the very first self-propelled rigs or the early breathing apparatus devices. Hope you'll enjoy the pictures and if you have any more info or suggestions you want to share or any questions or comments on the apparatus shown here, please don't hesitate and write to me at nevid@seznam.cz or directly to the comments page.

Thank you for your visit!

 

This site is more or less under permanent construction, so please excuse the unfinished parts or missing info. I'll try to improve the site as soon as possible.  

 

 

EARLY BREATHING APPARATUS

 

Chicago Fire Department members wearing a German made Dräger closed circuit breathing apparatuses (CCBA). These devices provided the firefighters with breathable air for up to 30 minutes. According to the Dräger company the Chicago Fire Department received 42 of these early CCBAs. The picture is from 1912.

Copyright Dräger Safety AG & Co. KGaA

 

 

This photo shows members of one of the Chicago Fire Department Squad companies drilling with an unknown early version of SCBA. Photo was probably taken sometime during the 1920s or 1930s as one of the Squad company White rigs used during that period can be seen behind the firefighters. Note the 3/4 rubber "hip" boots - a classic feature used together with the "long coat" up until cca 2007 when the Chicago Fire Department finally adopted the "Bunker Gear".

This photo was donated to the web page by George Sup.

 

 

 

EARLY MOTORIZED APPARATUS (1877-1908)

 

 

This drawing shows one of the first three Chicago Fire Department self propelled (automobile) steam pumpers placed in service in 1877. The rigs were first size goose neck style made by Amoskeag and were converted into a horse-drawn steamers during late 1878. Engine companies 1, 10 and 17 received this apparatus. These rigs were the first self propelled vehicles used by the CFD.

 

 

An extremely rare piece of Chicago Fire Department equipment on an equally rare photograph (please excuse the poor quality of the digital reproduction). A 1907 Seagrave AC-30 Hose and Chemical car that was tested by Engine company 104 during May of 1908. The rig was purchased from Seagrave for a one month trial after which it was decided that it is not suitable for permanent service and was subsequently returned to the manufacturer. Note the snow chains, hand crank and the large gong on the front which was a common sight on the hose wagons and other horse drawn apparatus of the time. The snow chains are a rather unusual feature for the time of the year, but the reason they were used may be because of the lack of paved roads in some parts of the downtown area. It also appears that the rig has a plate with number 104 attached just above the gong. This apparatus was the first motorized vehicle placed in service with the Chicago Fire Department.

Photo from an unknown photographer was taken from the book "American Fire Engines Since 1900" from Walter McCall.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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