December 16, 2009

Hunneman Fire Engines

William Cooper Hunneman (1769 –1856) was the founder of a fire engine company in Roxbury that was operated by three generations of the Hunneman Family. His monument at Forest Hills Cemetery is an open Bible set on a marble altar. Hunneman was a successful blacksmith, having learned the trade from Paul Revere; he opened a blacksmith shop in Boston and manufactured brass hardware for shipbuilding. However, in the mid nineteenth century he began to produce standard pumper fire engines, the only difference with others being the angle upon which the pistons operated. Many of the builders of the early fire engines purchased the pump and accessories from Hunneman & Company. To complete these new pumpers, a local cabinetmaker was engaged to build the “tub” which is formed from sheets of copper, and designed to hold water. From 1792 to 1883, three generations of the Hunneman Family were to produce 750 fire engines that were shipped to all parts of the world, and helped to fight fires.

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