The Evolution of Fire Apparatus
The FDNY’s transition to the gasoline combustion engine was slow and cautious. The steam engine was a well-developed and proven technology. The Department was not willing to completely risk the safety of the City on relatively new technology so they experimented with gasoline engines, which proved their effectiveness and caused the FDNY to gradually phase out horse drawn apparatus. Visitors to the Fire Museum can see this transition from steam to motorized apparatus on our first floor. Not only do we have the beautiful horse drawn 1901 LaFrance steam engine, which saw service in Brooklyn, but we have a 1912 steamer with a gasoline powered Van Blerck tractor, and a 1921 American LaFrance gasoline powered pumper.