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Pope-Hartford Chemical and Hose Engine 21 Portland Oregon

For something a bit different from our typical daily coverage today’s feature image contains two Portland, Oregon, Fire Department Vehicles. The chemical and hose truck is a 1913 Pope-Hartford unit based on a heavy duty six-wheel equipment chassis with double chain drive powered by a 50-h.p. four-cylinder engine. The Company also produced lighter duty four-wheel shaft-driven 50-h.p. fire trucks and Fire Chief’s cars.

Captain William Heath, the driver, and other firefighters posed for this image taken in 1916. Following the Machine is a Portland FD roadster by an unknown automaker. The Pope-Hartford Company produced mainly high-quality automobiles in addition to the trucks between the years of 1903 t0 1914.

Share with us what you find of interest in this photograph courtesy of Vintage Portland.

  • 1913 Pope-Hartford 50-h.p. four-cylinder fire engine. – Below is an interesting account in the “Municipal Journal & Public Works”, Volume 34, 1913, of a 1912 Pope-Hartford serving the City of Norwich, CT.

17 responses to “Pope-Hartford Chemical and Hose Engine 21 Portland Oregon

    • The fire house may have been on that block and when the fire department was dispatched it could stop traffic around that block with those fire semaphores and bells.

      Check out the fireman with his hat on backwards!

        • You must not live in the Portland area or you would know we get plenty of sun 6 months out of the year and often late afternoon even in the rainy months. OK, it’s not Palm Springs, but we deal with it.

  1. Interesting look at trucks of the day and what was taken as normal operating performance. Doing a little math gives an average of 9.6 miles per quart of oil. It appears the truck didn’t have any stationary purpose so most of the miles stated could be the great majority of use. While accumulating an excellent record over it’s first 650 miles of duty, the truck sort of changed it’s own oil while under way or so it appears!

  2. Pope also manufactured motorized bicycles from 1902-1905 (using de Dion-Bouton engines) and motorcycles from 1911-1918. Steve McQueen owned a one-cylinder Model K, and Jay Leno has a 1918 Model L, which had a 61ci (1000cc) V-Twin.

    Kilham Stationery first opened in 1898. It went out of business in 1991. I think their only store at the time this photograph was taken was at SW Fifth and Oak.

  3. Uh, I think I would pass on riding that monster on those ‘very bad’ roads in the area, especially on the right or left running boards. That exposed chain looks hungry! And with all the rain in Portland, one would be pretty soaked by the time the truck arrived anywhere. I imagine the backwards hat is a way to keep it from flying off on the road, the large brim acting as sort of an early ‘downforce’ mechanism…or a fashion statement!

  4. The car is a 1913 Velie roadster. You can find a photo of a very similar car in the archives of the Utah State Historical Society (also 8 wheel bolts front, which is rare, and 12 bolts rear). The model is close to the Dispatch roadster, but on the Utah photo two other names appear: Tribune and Pathfinder. Whether these are model names or used for another purpose is not yet clear to me, but maybe someone else knows? The car in the background must be a Hudson.

    • The photograph in the Utah State Historical Society archives is of Bill Rishel. According to Pete Davies’ book “American Road,” Rishel was the auto editor for the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper and the Pathfinder label is because that was a company car used for mapping roads around the state of Utah.

  5. Steve K nailed it before I was able to chime in. I thought I had seen that low -sided roadster style someplace before. Good eyes! Rishel was Utah’s famous “pathfinder” in the early days of the good roads movement. Each season he would tap a local dealer to supply a sturdy car for his adventures. Over the years he used EMF, Velie, and Overland autos just to name a few. Of course, the Salt Lake Tribune’s name was featured on the car as the sponsor. Rishel would launch out into the great Utah outback and explore unknown paths and trails, often to small Utah towns or places. He would keep an accurate mileage log and detailed notes about terrain and conditions. Then, as a feature in the motoring section of the Sunday Salt Lake Tribune, the whole log would be published, along with a detailed map and often many photographs. He eventually published many of these excursions into a handy book called “Rishel’s Routes”.

  6. The car partially visible at the right edge of the photo is a six-cylinder, 1913 Hudson “54” touring car. The hood is too long for it to be the four-cylinder “37”.
    Both models of the ’13 Hudson used the 6 / 24 volt DELCO starting system introduced on the 1912 Cadillac.
    Bill

  7. I also say that: the “dual bell Alarm” on the pole, — was near the Fire Station. Many neighborhood Alarm stations, citizen operated , were activated by a (protected ) pull lever: A Clock-work mechanism transmitted a Telegraph Wire Signal to the Fire Station, — identifying the Alarm Box location. Chances are : That the Roadster behind the Fire Engine — is the Fire Chief, In a Fire Chief’s car! The Fireman’s hat got put on fast, — not correct! “Chemical” can mean: Soda/Acid (chemical reaction) pressurized water. it can also mean: pressurized /pumped Carbon Tetra-Chloride , an efficient Fire Extinguisher, (but NOT kind for Humans! to breathe! IF near a Fire plug , then real water could be used, but a fast Chemical Truck was sent out for smaller fires, and initial rescue. Our 1930 Ford AA Truck has a 4- position “Semaphore Arm” , manually operated from the cab, for Turning or Slowing : 1.) “Off “, 2.) Slow down, 3 .) Left turn, 4.) Right turn. Early traffic signals also had GO- STOP Semaphore arms. Edwin W.

    • “That the Roadster behind the Fire Engine — is the Fire Chief, In a Fire Chief’s car!”
      How did you determine that it is the Chief? I believe a city the size of Portland probably had a number of roadsters like this one used by officers other than the chief who often had his own driver.

  8. So much for safety. Riding on the running board and rear platform dropped out of favour back in the 60’s. Enclosed crew cabs are now mandatory. Also the turnout gear of that time provided little protection in the intense heat. Great advances have been made including incorporating female firefighters – firefighters being the correct term of reference – not firemen. Firemen stoke furnaces! Cheers!

  9. According to the book “History of the Colton Fire Department,” a 1913 Pope-Hartford combination chemical hose and ladder cost $5,600. A similar Webb was $5,700, and a Seagrave was $8,000-$10,000.

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