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The First Electric-Powered Fire Engine



This combination chemical and hose wagon was built by the Pope Manufacturing Company on a Waverley Electric truck chassis in 1905, for the fire department 

in Hopedale, Massachusetts.  This photo is from the January 31, 1906, 

issue of The Horseless Age magazine.


While an electric powered fire engine may seem like something radically new, it is not.  More than a century ago, electric powered fire apparatus were among the earliest motor fire apparatus to be built.  Among the first electric fire apparatus in America was a unique combination chemical engine and hose wagon that served in Hopedale, Massachusetts.  It was the first electric powered fire apparatus in America. 



This 1899 Columbia battery-powered electric carriage was cost about $3500 when it was built.  It could carry four passengers, plus the driver, who sat in the high rear seat. 


At the dawn of the age of motor vehicles, electricity was a logical choice for propulsion of automobiles.  Many cities operated electric trolleys and the technology was familiar from this mass transit application.  The first electric-powered automobiles had been developed in the 1880s and 1890s.  By 1899, the first electric-powered trucks were built.  These cars and trucks all were battery powered.