Firefighting Antiquity at Sutphen Urbana

In the lobby of Sutphen’s new 185,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, Sutphen displays three pieces of fire equipment originally sold by Sutphen’s founder, C.H. Sutphen, in 1907.

Surrounded by a timeline of Sutphen history, Sutphen’s new customer welcome and reception lobby hosts three pieces of original fire equipment sold by C.H. Sutphen in 1907.

The three pieces, sold to the City of Dearborn Fire Department in 1907, are on permanent loan from the suburban Detroit department. Each one has been carefully restored to museum condition with only minor modifications made in over 100 years.

On display are a hand cart, extinguisher cart and hose cart. You can read more about each one below:

1907 Hand Pumper

Sold by C.H. Sutphen in 1907, the City of Dearborn Fire Department needed to invest in the city’s fire protection services and soon began an over 100-year relationship with the Sutphen family. To this day, the suburban Detroit department purchases Sutphen fire apparatus and continues the more than century-long relationship between the Sutphen family and the citizens of Dearborn, Michigan.

The hand pumper, which was sold for $450, is a 20-gallon deluge chemical engine pumper that pumped 150 gallons per minute and could be operated by even the most inexperienced firefighter.

The unit, which was transported to fire scenes by either horse or hand, was recently restored to museum condition.

The pumper received a new coat of paint and only minor, superficial modifications to help restore the antique. The cart’s nearly mint condition is a testament to both the quality of product, but also the amount of pride the Dearborn Fire Department takes in this historic piece of firefighting equipment.

1907 Extinguisher Cart

Sold alongside the hand pumper and hose cart also shown in the lobby, the 1907 extinguisher cart, seen to the right, was sold by C.H. Sutphen to the City of Dearborn Fire Department.

Billed as “The greatest one-man firefighting apparatus put before the public,” this unit is mounted on two, 44-inch wheels with a tank made from the same material as the wheels. According to Sutphen’s documents from 1907, those of which you can see to the right, the unit had the same capabilities as larger fire apparatus of the time and was equipped with large brass screw heads. Sutphen Extinguisher Cart

Used to shoot an impressive stream of fire dampening chemicals 50 to 75 feet, the engine’s capabilities matched that of one carrying 1,000 gallons of water.

Today, the unit is displayed while on permanent loan from the City of Dearborn Fire Department.

1907 Hose Cart

Needed as an auxiliary piece to the fire department’s growing “fleet” of fire equipment, this 1907 hose cart was used to transport hose to fires that could not be stored on the hand cart or extinguisher cart.

The cart, comprised of two spoked wheels, a T-shaped handle and a spool to wind hose around, was wheeled by hand or hitched and towed after the hand cart, also showcased in the lobby.

This hand cart was recently reconditioned by Sutphen with restored wheels and frame and a fresh coat of paint.

We want to thank the City of Dearborn Fire Department for allowing us to showcase these incredible pieces of firefighting antiquity as they remain on loan from the city.


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