Merryweather & Sons
The James Hall Museum of Transport is the largest and most comprehensive land transport museum in South Africa. In the East Hall of the museum can be found a motor vehicle fitted with a steam pump. Sadly it is now missing its original engine, gear box and pump. Peter Hall, the curator, writes that the motor chassis is similar to the 1904 motor pump in the Science Museum, London but of a later design. It has a chain driven rear axle on solid rubber, wooden spoked wheels. For display purposes it carries a Merryweather ‘Gem’ boiler and pump, c1903. This particular vehicle was used in Kimberly in the early 1900’s and was found by James Hall, the founder of the museum in 1967.
Tokyo Fire Museum has an 1885 Shand Mason & Co steam fire engine on display.
The model would appear to be a ‘Volunteer’ model ‘A’ size introduced by the company in 1877. The big difference between the ‘A’ size and the ‘B’ size is the position of the pump. With the ‘B’ model the pump is located at the rear of the engine while the ‘A’ model has the pump situated between the boiler and the hose box.
Photograph supplied by Frank Sidney, a Dutch firefighter stationed at Rotterdam.
My contact, John Barnard, believes the original engine is named after the then governor of Singapore and was taken out of service and broken up when motor driven appliances came into use and proved to be more suitable/easier to use. John has been trying to contact the museum regarding engineering drawings/information on this engine as he is contemplating building a 1/2 size version but the various email addresses listed on the SCDF website only result in an ‘unable to deliver’ message. If anyone can help him in anyway I will forward your contact details.