Handtub Junction, USA

Handtub of the Month

March 1999

Vixen  -   Derry, New Hampshire

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The "Vixen" was built in 1895 by Gleason and Bailey engine builders of Senaca Falls, New York. It was built for the City of Lowell, Massachusetts. It has 10 inch cylinders and competes in the Class A division. The "Vixen" is the only hand engine that was ever built specifically for muster competition. It did respond to one fire which at the time was a requirement to participate in muster competition. As a result of the building of the "Vixen" and the fear that the league would see a large amount of engines in the future being built for muster purposes only. On August 19, 1896 following the Annual League Tournament held at New Bedford, Massachusetts a League Meeting was held and "On a motion if Capt. John Exley of Newton, MA, it was voted that only engines built prior to January 1, 1896 be allowed to enter League  contests". This vote assured the "Vixen" as being the youngest engine ever to compete and assured that hand engine musters would continue using only engines that were made as a firefighting tool.

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In 1903 the Vixen was sold to Somersworth, New Hampshire and competed there till 1907. In 1908 the Vixen was sold to Berwick, ME, where it became a champion. The powerful machine won it's first of 5 championships in 1926 in Salem, MA.. The engine would go on to win the New England League Championship again in 1931, 1935, 1938 and for the Last time in 1946. !946 was the first year the New England States Veteran Fireman's League awarded a crown in Class A & Class B, making the Vixen the first ever Class A N. E. Champion. The Vixen ceased it's muster exploits in 1954 when it was "retired" from competition. The tub was brought back out by Berwick briefly in 1965 .

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In 1974 the Vixen went to Newburyport, Massachusetts where it competed for 2 seasons and on Aug. 30, 1975 at a muster in Essex, MA the Vixen set a new League record with a stream of 279' 1/2" and the record would stand for 8 years. In 1976 the Vixen went to Derry , New Hampshire where it has been a faithful member of the N.E. League ever since.

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If anyone as anything that they would like to add or has any photo's of the Vixen they would like to see on here, please email me or mail it to:

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

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