Today in History – January 1, 1853 – The world’s first practical steam-powered fire engine made its debut.
In the spring of 1852, Abel Shawk, Alexander Bonner Latta, and Miles Greenwood began construction on the first practical steam-powered fire engine. While other fire engines had existed, theirs was significantly faster, being able to pump water in a mere ten minutes. Once finished they presented their engine to Cincinnati Fire Department on January 1st, 1853 (their own city). This engine was nicked name ‘Uncle Joe Ross’ and with the success of this and other steam powered fire engines, the City of Cincinnati went on to create the first professional fire department in the United States.
For more information, see the Engineering Pathway’s resources on fire-engines, fire-fighting and steam. For related educational resources, visit the Mechanical Engineering Education disciplinary community.