Thayer Phoenix No. 6

Thayer Phoenix No. 6

1840 Thayer Phoenix No. 6 Hand-Tub Pumper

The Phoenix No. 6 Hand-Tub Pumper was built by the Thayer family of Boston, Massachusetts in 1840. Fire engine production ran through the Thayer family, with Ephraim Thayer, a former apprentice of Paul Revere, being one of the first of the family to construct an engine as early as 1794.

Early fire engines have been designated as “hand-tub pumpers,” meaning water was collected by hand and fed to the engine with buckets. Once the water was supplied, the handles on either side could be pumped up and down, driving the pistons and producing enough pressure to shoot water to astonishing heights. The Phoenix No. 6 was able to pump water about to 100 feet through its 2.5-inch fire hose line. Water was supplied to the Phoenix by bucket or suction hose.

In 1840, this pumper was purchased by a group of private individuals from Brattleboro, Vermont. The Phoenix provided fire protection for an independent fire company, later known as the municipal Brattleboro Fire Department. Edwin Putnam, a local machinist and member of the Brattleboro Fire Department, took great pride in the Phoenix, completely rebuilding it in 1876. However, as steam fire engines began to evolve through the late 1800s, the Phoenix was put into reserve.

After being put on reserve status, the Phoenix was sold to Londonderry, Vermont. From that time forward, it was stored and owned by several groups and individuals across multiple states, including Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The Phoenix was restored to its 1867 rebuild color and condition by the Granite Hand Tub Association and Vincent Jarosz. The pumper joined the collection at Koorsen Fire Museum in 2013.