This 1905 Waterous Gas Engine Pumper was the first piece of motorized equipment to join the Ferndale department. It still needed a team of men to pull it to the nearest cistern or hydrant, but once there it provided the pumping power itself instead of having to have a bunch of men doing the pumping.
This engine stayed in service even after the 1923 American LaFrance was put in service. Sometime around this period, the stock rotary motor was replaced with a more modern engine, probably to make it more reliable to start.
Once the second LaFrance was added in 1937 it really was obsolete, but it remained in Ferndale’s possession, and is currently stored in the barn at the fairgrounds in a disassembled state.
While doing research on this apparatus, we contacted the Waterous company (which is still making water pumps for fire engines) and they were nice enough to send us a copy of the original order from their books for our engine, serial number 4909, which was ordered on July 31, 1905. They also sent along a copy of a 1913 cat.
These videos of other similar Waterous pumpers will give you an idea of how they look and sound.