Formed in 1891, the American Fire Engine Company was a joint venture between the Silsby Manufacturing Company, Ahrens Manufacturing Company, Clapp & Jones Manufacturing Company, and the Button Fire Engine Company. Though the companies received a new parent name, each manufacturer retained its own factories and product lines until 1904, when the American Fire Engine Company joined forces with the LaFrance Fire Engine Company to form American LaFrance.
In 1898, the Metropolitan model appeared to the public and quickly became the American Fire Engine Company’s best-selling fire engine. Designed by Charles H. Fox of Ahrens Manufacturing Company, the Metropolitan was built in a wide variety of sizes for different purposes until 1917.
This example of the third-size Metropolitan model was originally delivered to Bath, Pennsylvania. The steamer was capable of pumper over 600 gallons per minute, equipped with a double-acting piston pump. Third-size Metropolitans often weighed about 6,800 pounds and were pulled by only two horses.
Restoration on this Metropolitan was finished in June of 2017 by Hal Fillinger of Harleysville, Pennsylvania. The unit received a full, authentic frame-up restoration, including nickel-plating, new paint in the correct factory color scheme, and 23K gold leafing. For original parts that could not be located, custom parts were manufactured, which included processes of metal spinning, wood fabrication, foundry casting, machining, and metal fabrication.