Handtub Junction, USA

Handtub of the Month

April 1999

Atlantic #1  -   Swampscott, MA.

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The Atlantic #1 was built by the William Hunneman Co. of Boston, Massachusetts in 1845. It was the260th of 717 hand fire engine manufactured by the company. The engine has 6 5/8"" cylinders and competes in  Class B hand engine muster competition. The engine was originally delivered to Lynn, Massachusetts and was named Atlantic #7. The engine went to Swampscott, Massachusetts in 1852 and was renumbered Atlantic #1 at that time.  It served Swampscott faithfully for many years but after being retired from fire service the engine sat in storage for many, many years and it's condition deteriorated over the years.

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In the late 1950's, the restoration of the Atlantic was begun by a Gerry#5 member and Swampscott firefighter whose last name was Sullivan. It was not restored to pumping condition but it did appear in Marblehead muster parades. In 1965,a man by the name of  Dick Maitland led a group that completed the restoration. In late fall, they challenged the Gerry to a playoff and put up the Ephraim Taylor Trophy for the winner. The first playoff was held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in 1965 at the Swampscott football field. The Gerry pumped first. The Atlantic followed.  The Atlantic played only walking starts but blew the dome because the tip was undersized. The playoff is conducted annually if the handtub not holding the trophy challenges the other. In the 1970's, the Gerry always conducted a fish fry at their clubhouse after the playoff.

The Atlantic first pumped at a New England League muster in the modern era at Hampton Beach, NH in August, 1966. They pumped last, (pumped 4 streams in 5 minutes), went into 2nd place, and (pulled off the platform with 10 minutes of their time left). Their first victory was at Atkinson, NH on Labor Day in 1967.  In 1968 in Seabrook, NH they showed up but did not pump.

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While 1968 started slow for the Atlantic #1 it would come on strong as the muster season wore on. Teaming with the powerful Class A machine Gardner #4 of West Newbury, MA the Atlantic went on to win the 1968 New England States Veteran Fireman's League Class B Championship, while the West Newbury engine captured the Class A title. Both engines would go on to win their respective championships for the next 4 years, at the time a record for the New England League. The Atlantic #1 would go on to win the Class B championship 3 more times in 1976, 1977, and 1981 and has been a regular participate at league contest throughout the second have of the 20th century.

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The Atlantic #1 has won $20,770.00 in muster competition and with a longest stream of 280' 4", is one of only a half a dozen or so hand engines ever to throw a stream over 280'.

I would like to thank Robin Symonds of Kokomo, IN and member of the Gerry #5 & Oko's VFA of Marblehead, MA. for major of the Atlantic's history.

If anyone as anything that they would like to add or has any photo's of the Atlantic #1 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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