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The Rushden Echo, June 1907, transcribed by Greville Watson

The Clerk to the RUDC reported the receipt from the Local Government Board of their sanction to a loan of £320 (repayable in ten years) for the provision of a steam fire engine. The Council is to instruct the Surveyor to give an order to Messrs Shand Mason and Co for delivery of the engine forthwith.

The Rushden Echo, June 1907, transcribed by Ed Hitcham
New Steam Fire Engine Testing

Arrival and Official Testing of the Shand Mason New Steamer

An Interesting Occasion

The brigade assembled at the fire station about three o'clock. Captain and Councillor F.W.Knight, J.P. was in command, with Second Officer J.T. Colson, and Secretary G.R. Turner, and the firemen present were Messrs. Green, Sparrow. Twelftree, Whiting, Underwood, Britchford, Nuttall, Wildman and Payne

The Engine

The assembled company examined the engine with critical eyes. It is a light but powerful machine of the maker's patent "double vertical" variable expansion type, as designed for the London Fire Brigade.

The principal features are its twin double acting steam cylinders working directly upon a corresponding pair of double-acting pumps, the whole being placed vertically at the rear of the quick-steaming boiler furnishing the motive power. Two piston-rods convey the movement of each piston to the pump-rod, and the movement is communicated to the double-throw crankshaft by connecting-rods of new and special form, running from a joint in the headpiece of each pump-rod. The design of the engine ensures a steady flow of water whether at high or low pressure, and the machine works without any noticeable oscillation.

Its pumping capacity is 300 gallons per minute, and it will throw a 11/16 th inch jet to a height of 150 feet.

Finished in handsome style, the woodwork painted vermilion and bright metal parts highly burnished, the name of the town painted on the sides of the hose box in gold and colours, the machine presents a fine appearance. It is fitted with powerful double-lever brake acting on both hind wheels, and is furnished with suction-pipe and all necessary accessories.

Testing the equipment
Testing the jet near Jaques & Clark Factory in Station Road
The Trial Trip

About 3.15 the steamer, drawn by a pair of greys turned out of the station. Its appearance in the Newton Road was greeted with a shout from the assembled crowds with wild demonstrations from the hundreds of juveniles who forthwith preceded it as it set off at a good pace in the direction of the Parish Church. It drew up at the bottom end of the Green near the brook, which had been temporary sluiced. Here an excellent supply of water was found to be available to test the engine to any extent required. Two lines of hose were laid across the road, up to the path adjoining the Green to the base of the tower near the north door of the church. The rise from where the engine stood to the church is about 40 feet, and the height from the door to the weathercock is about 200 feet, so that the spectators were able to form an idea how high the water was thrown.

The engine was set to work. The raising of steam took about 4¾ minutes, 100lbs of steam being registered. The whistle was blown, and in a few seconds water from the engine was sent well up into the air by the tower, in one jet. That was continued for several minutes and it was calculated that a height of 140 feet was reached. The crowds now flocked to the vicinity of the church and were watching the scene with great interest when suddenly the wind changed and irrespective of whether they were municipal governors or the humblest of ratepayers all were treated to such a shower bath as compelled them to beat a hasty retreat.

A move was then made to the Midland Road for a test of another character. The demonstration already given was on the assumption that the brigade had an unlimited supply of water, and the second display was from a restricted supply. Here a tank under the footpath, containing about a thousand gallons of water, was utilised, and this was supplemented by lengths of hose from two hydrants. Two and then four jets were put on with complete success. Whilst the brigade were engaged here, the train from Wellingborough came along, and many anxious faces were at the windows, some evidently alarmed at the unusual spectacle.

The next test was at Messrs. Green's factory at the top of Queen Street, one of the highest points of the town, where it was demonstrated how with a limited supply of water the engine can be got to work and be made to render a satisfactory account of itself. The water was thrown well over the highest part of the building, and the striking force of the engine when little water is used easily demonstrated.

This completed the tests, and the engine was driven up Cromwell Road and back to the fire station.

c1910 Carnival Procession
The Fire Brigade's 1907 Steamer passing Horsley's & Ward's Corner,
drawn by two white horses.

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