1915 American LaFrance Model T Chemical Hose Car

This chemical/hose car is typical of vehicles that were purchased by small communities to replace horse-drawn and hand-drawn apparatus early in the 20th Century. These light-weight rigs usually had no pump.

The large metal tank behind the driver’s seat contained approximately forty gallons of water mixed with soda. An open-top glass vial inside the tank at its top contained sulphuric acid. To extinguish a fire, the tank would be rotated in its cradle till the acid spilled into the soda-water solution.

The resulting chemical reaction would pressurize the tank to more than 200 pounds per square inch. A pre-connected hose line with a small smooth-bore tip would then be used to apply the soda-acid-water solution to the fire.

In addition, this vehicle carried a quantity of hose that could be used to provide a supply line between a hydrant and a fire pumper. Thus, this type of apparatus was known as a chemical/hose car.


Skip to content