The fire engine jack

The nature of a fire engine means that even an old wooden wheeled Merewether engine has weight. Of necessity, there is a hefty pump on board. After all, pumping water onto a fire has long been a function of the fire engine. So if, for any reason, a wheel needs attention, the engine has to be jacked up. The jack from the old engine is something of an unlikely survivor. And here it is.

Market Lavington fire engine jack dating from about 1890

Market Lavington fire engine jack dating from about 1890

This is nearly all wooden in construction. There is a stand and a long lever which pivots around a sturdy metal pin, the height of which can be adjusted. This end of the lever has a leather top and could be placed under the frame of the fire engine. A collection of strong men could then push down on the other end of the lever to raise a wheel off the ground.

The jack dates from around 1890. Both wooden parts have a mark of ownership stamped into them. This is on the lever.

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Both wooden parts have this mark stamped into them

At a guess it stands for Lavington District Fire Engine. The same mark is on the stand.

What a lovely item – a survivor from the Victorian era.

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