This hand-powered pumper ranks as one of the oldest pieces of fire-fighting apparatus in the United States. It was built in England in 1795 for the city of Philadelphia, where it was used for almost forty years by the fire department founded originally by Benjamin Franklin.
On September 23, 1836 it was purchased from Philadelphia for $75 and shipped here at a cost of $50. The funds were raised by public subscription from the citizens of Beaver to equip their newly-formed volunteer fire department. It is one of just seven pumpers of its type known to be preserved in the United States, and may be the only one to be still listed on the active equipment roster of any fire department.
The pumper is drawn by hand and is operated by two opposing hand cranks, which are detachable for transport. The metal-lined reservoir is supplied by water delivered by a bucket brigade. With sufficient energy applied to the hand pump, the slender nozzle will send a stream of water seventy feet into the air.
From 1836 it did duty for many years under the supervision of Daniel Reisinger who was often assisted in drawing it to the scene of action by his daughter.
The hand pumper was the featured display piece at the Beaver Area Heritage Foundation Museum’s exhibit on the History of Fire fighting in 2004.