Week 21 2024

Republic Fire Tender, Michigan, USA

In 1918, Republic was America’s largest truck manufacturer turning over 10,000 units a year. By the 1920’s however, the company fell into financial difficulties and was reorganised a number of times before being merged with the commercial vehicle side of American-La-France to form La-France-Republic Corporation. Trucks however were still sold into the UK under the name Republic until 1931.

This particular truck is a 3 ton fire tender and is thought to be unique in the UK today. It is a beautiful example of an early fire engine, complete with wooden wheels, and is photographed here with a range of pre-war fire extinguishers, a fireman’s axe, and a stirrup pump.

Oakham Treasures purchased this lovely fire engine privately in Plymouth in 2003, and has been collecting an unusual range of fire brigade items for a number of years including nine fantastic firemen’s brass helmets from early in the last Century. These are displayed in one of the free standing cabinets in the main museum.