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1792 Hand Pumper


Gamewell receiving alarm system from the city of Johnstown, Pa.  It was installed in their new city hall in the early 1920's and dismantled by Fire Museum volunteers and moved to Harrisburg in 1995 and placed in the Fire museum where it is now on display.

The alarm room now includes the Dauphin County Fire Dispatch Console that was in service during the nuclear incident at Three Mile Island in March of 1979. This now gives the PA National Fire Museum the capability to demonstrate the transmission of a fire alarm utilizing a replica " fire watch rattle" for the sounding of an alarm in the 1700’s; visitors can "pull the box" to transmit an alarm through the Gamewell Alarm System, dating from the late 1800’s through the 1980’s; finally using electronic equipment to transmit the "tones" for a fire alarm from the 1970’s to the present.

Follow the alarms from a rattle, the pings and bells of the street corner box alarm, to the tone dispatch of recent years.  


The museum has one of the largest parade hats display.  Parades were an integral part of the volunteer firemen's life.  On parade, the firemen put aside their "work helmets" and donned their handsomely painted, pressed felt hats.


To learn more about our Gamewell System from our specialist Richard Lenker.


The hand pumper was built by Richard Mason of Philadelphia.  The "Enjine" is a single-deck, end stroke, two-piston hand pump capable of discharging about 150 Gallons per minute through the gallery pipe atop the compression chamber. The engine is not suction equipped, meaning that water had to be dumped into the wooden box by buckets or through another hose.

Parade Hat Display

This array of photographs gets its name by using the window frames from the former Royal Fire Co. No. 14. That building is now the headquarters of IAFF Local 428. This years display features the Harrisburg Bureau of Fire. The faces and fires of the Department are showcased in the historic window sashes.