Handtub Junction, USA
Handtub of the Month

January 2000

Erie No.4  -   Georgetown, Massachusetts

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    The Erie No.4 pictured above is the last of a number of hand engines to bear the name. The engine that is currently named Erie No. 4 is a 10" Button machine built in 1851 for Long Island City, New York and originally named Ginger. On January 1, 1908 the engine was sold to the Jamaica Plains, Veteran Fireman's Association of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. The foreman of the engine while there was a man by the name of Phillip A. Mock. In 1916 Mr. Mock sold the Ginger to the Erie No. 4 Association of Georgetown, MA for $300 cash. Along with the engine on July 14, 1916 came a play pipe, shoes for the tub (?) and a canvas cover. The engine has mustered occasionally and is still owned by the Georgetown group.

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First Erie No. 4
Sketch by Frank L. Witham

In 1854 a group men in the Peabody Corners section of Georgetown got together and formed a group to help protect the area from fire. They started with buckets, and when ever fire would break out they would form a bucket brigade to help quench the flames. It soon became apparent to the group that they needed to purchase an engine to make there effort more effective and a committee was appointed to look into this matter. They soon purchased a Hunneman built engine that was at the Leslie Shop in Newburyport, MA. The engine had been delivered new to Peabody, MA and then sold to Danvers, MA in 1810. At that time it was named Erie No. 2. In 1843 it was sold to Manchester, MA(?) and they changed the No. 2 to No. 3. When the Erie No.3 was purchased by the Georgetown gentlemen in 1854 , they decided since they were the 4th owner, that they would call  their new engine Erie No.4 and also give the association the same name. The Erie No. 4 Association continued to fight fires with their Hunneman handtub until 1884 when the Hunneman was traded in part payment for another engine and the new engine took the name Erie No.4.

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Current Erie No. 4 as Ginger around 1908

    The next engine to bear the name Erie No.4 was the North Star, a 9" Jeffers machine that the association purchased from Milford, MA. The engine was received by the Association on June 28, 1884 for trials and and on July 19, 1884 the Milford Fire Department accepted an offer from the Erie No.4 Association and they now owned a new engine. This 2nd Erie No.4 serviced the Association well for many years. At 5:00 AM on May 20, 1915 the Erie No.4 Engine House along with all it's contents were consumed in a tremendous fire. Along with the Erie No.4 handtub, another hand engine named Old Bill, a 10" Button machine which had been purchased by the Association for muster purposes slightly more than a year earlier.

    The Next engine to take the name Erie No. 4 was another Hunneman. The Washington No.3 was owned by the Town of Georgetown and given to the Erie No. 4 Association within hours of the fire. This engine only served the association for a little over a year when the present Erie No. 4 was purchased. This would be the last piece of non-motorized equipment the association would buy for firefighting purposes.

Much of the information was obtain from trhe publication 125 Years of Buckets, Handtubs and Fire Trucks by Charles E. Flanders for the Erie Fire Association Number Four, Inc. 1979.

If anyone as anything that they would like to add or has any photo's of any of the Erie No. 4s they would like to see added, please email me or mail it to:

Handtub Junction, USA,  PO Box 359,  Southborough, MA 01772

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