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The Green Tree: Highlights from the Collection of the Mutual Assurance Company of Philadelphia - April 2007
 
 
painting
 
Attributed to Mason & Gibbs

End Stroke Philadelphia-Style Hand Pumper, c. 1785
Wood and iron, 40 3/4 (excluding the nozzle) × 53 1/2 × 31 inches
Provenance: Insurance Company of North America; presented to the Managing General Agency of Thompson Derr & Bros., Inc., June 14, 1933; F.E. Parkhurst Insurance, Inc., Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, c. 1965; loaned to the Wyoming Historical and Geological Society, Wilkes-Barre, c. 1965–c. 1975; The Fire Buff’s Friend, Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, c. 1985; purchased by the Mutual Assurance Company, January 16, 1987.
RS 6413


This small Philadelphia-style end stroke hand pumper engine is believed to have been one of the approximately twenty engines that Richard Mason and Parnell Gibbs made between 1783 and 1785, when they were partners in the firm Mason & Gibbs. A nearly identical engine appeared in an illustration that accompanied an advertisement that Gibbs placed in a Philadelphia newspaper on May 14, 1787. Gibbs stated that “all orders from any part of the continent, or elsewhere, shall be punctually attended to, and the greatest care taken to give satisfaction with dispatch,” and that his engines were “equal, if not superior to any yet imported from any part of Europe.”

This engine, which was originally green, was repainted red sometime during the late1920s or early 1930s. At that time the name “Mayflower 1721” was inscribed on each side of its rectangular condenser case, and the word “Active” inscribed on both troughs below. This engine was painstakingly restored to its original appearance during conservation treatment in 1991, according to specifications supplied by the historians Jacob Robrecht and Al Wills of the Philadelphia Fire Museum.



  


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