Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Vigilant Hose Co.’s 1950 Seagrave Pumper

Nothing major occurred in the Shippensburg area on this date.

On Friday March 17, 1950 the Vigilant Hose Company voted to purchase a new rural pumper. The membership unanimously approved the purchase after hearing a report given by M. Garfield Barbour, President, concerning reaction to a meeting held by the Vigilant’s with supervisors, auditors and councilmen of the rural areas served by the company and held in Middle Spring on March 8.

President Barbour reported that all the areas represented at the meeting reported favorable to raising their annual payments for fire protection, pending final decisions by their respective official bodies.

The Vigilant’s had requested the rural supervisors either discontinue the rural pumper service or vote to raise their respective payments with the thought of making the purchase possible. Most of the townships paid $50 a year, while two townships paid $75 and two areas only paid $25 (the research didn’t reveal what areas paid how much amount). It was pointed out that the rural townships in Chambersburg and Carlisle paid upwards of $200 per year for rural fire protection. The Vigilant’s agreed at the meeting to pay half the purchase price of the rural engine.

Specifications for the pumper were to be a 1950 Seagrave with a 750 gallon-per-minute pump, 200 horse power motor, two ¾ inch 150 foot booster reels, two flood lights, two carbon dioxide extinguishers, two fog nozzles, one foam extinguisher and a 1,500 watt generator. The company decided against a cab or hood over the cab in order to save the $750 it would cost to purchase additional equipment.

The color of the new rural pumper was to be the same as decided upon recently for the new borough quad on order; the fenders and skirt to be painted red, with the body and hood finished in eggshell cream, trimmed in gold and black. The engine cost was $14,218.50.

On July 7, 1950 the Vigilant’s excepted delivery of the new engine just in time for the jubilee event being held by the C.V. Hose Company in conjunction with the dedication of their new firehouse. The engine responded to its first run and working fire on July 15, 1950 when a barn was destroyed at the J. Craig Fry residence, Shippensburg R. R. 3.

The engine replaced a 1931 Seagrave and became the company’s second rural pumper.

The Vigilant’s ran the engine until 1962 when a cracked engine block sidelined it. Faced with a $4,000 to $6,000 bill to repair the rig and having to constantly add water to keep the rig running it was decided to replace it. Seagrave took the engine as trade for $6,000 towards a new rural pumper. The company paid Seagrave $10.00 per month to rent the engine until their new on arrived but the motor didn’t last that long and a loaner engine was obtained from Media, Pa. until the new engine could arrive.

It is unknown what Seagrave did with the pumper after they got it.


Sparky said...

Boy it would be nice to run that down the road today. Having people hanging off the back.

Anonymous said...

Didn't this engine end up at station 2 in Walnut Bottom? I recall seeing this in the early 70's....

Bradley Myers said...

I guess you didn't read the post before this one, this is not central pa whacker fest, if you don't sign a name or initials the comment will be deleted.

Anonymous said...


Need some info. Is this not the engine than R. Hosfelt has? Was there two of them?

Pat Shoop

Anonymous said...

Man what I'd do to get my hands on that piece! I'd start the Cleversburg FD.(That is after Saturday when I move into my new house!) The only rules of my department is no drama and no bullshit allowed! I'll be the 'engineer'...but I'm wearing a black helmet!


Anonymous said...

I believe that Rick has the '63 Seagrave that looks like this one except it does not have the hose reels in the back.
TJ: these engines were fast, real fast. I know the '63 had a 12 cylinder gas engine and it flew.


Anonymous said...

I rode the 50 Seagrave and it was not fast. There was a total differance between this engine and the 63. The 63 had the big 900B Seagrave motor. The old ladder truck which Andy Spotts has is the mate to this, same motor same style.
It appears that Rick does have a 50 behind his garage also.

Bradley Myers said...

Not the same engines Pat, not being smart but since it is a detailed history of the rig and this one says it went to Seagrave in 1962 and it is unknown what they did with it that should have been a tip off that they were different.

Barry, Grizz you guys are somewhat correct. I think the 1963 is at Rick's but it is a different model and unless something changed it belongs to the Viggies. Rick owns the 1948 the Vigilant purchased in 1966 for Station 2 (not the 1950, he purchased it from Andy, the 1950 Quad (ladder truck) went to New York two years ago). Barry you may have rode that engine (1948), but the 1950 would have been long gone before you rode fire trucks (they looked the same).

The 1948 had the small motor in like the 1950, 200 horse power compared to the big V12 250 horse power in 1963 and yes the 1963 was super fast, depending on who was driving I think we broke the sound barrier a few times.

Did I confuse anyone? If so speak up and I will try and clarify. I didn't want to give to much history on the 1948 Seagrave engine and the 1950 Seagrave Quad since they will become there own post someday.

Oh yes and guys thanks for signing your names or initials to you post.

Sparky said...

Yes Brad The 1948 belongs to Rick and is sitting at his shop. The 1963 is also sitting at Rick's and belongs to the Vigilants. And lets not forget the 1969 it belongs to ANdy and is sitting at his house.

Anonymous said...

I believe the loaner had Jones Quick-Connect couplings on its discharges, or some not-friendly variation of it. An old guy might know for sure, Brad.


Seagrave (Barry) said...

Brad you are so correct, It was the engine from station 2 that we had in Station 1 for a while. So did the 50 have the big V12 as in 63?

Also I was not aware that the ladder truck left Shippensburg.
I guess thats why we have you Brad for the FACTS !

Bradley Myers said...

Not many people left to check with RB, I know Dad remembers this rig because he joked that my uncle pronounced the name wrong all the time.

Barry the 1950 engine had a smaller 200 horse power motor and I believe the 1963 was a 250 horse power. I never found reference to the amount of cylinders, if it was a 12 it was smaller.

The 1950 quad if you remember was sold to Larry Kerns dad, from there I need to make contacts to complete the history. I no he sold it some time ago. I don't know if it changed hands again but I found it out by Pittsburgh two years ago. I went out with Ivan and Greg Bretzman and photographed it, looked it over good and was going to bid on it (it was an auction for fire apparatus this guy collected). Ivan talked me out of it with all the work that was needed and the cost to restore it along with the difficulty in finding motor parts. Someone from New York state purchased it and plans to do a museum.

In the future the 1948 engine and 1950 quad will show up on this site with detailed histories, or what I know of them. Eventually I hope to do all apparatus operated by the SFD, that would number around 150 pieces including utilities and chiefs cars.