1910 HH Easterbrook Letter

122 Montague St
Brooklyn, NY 

June 9 1911

H. W Parker, Esq.
Chief of Fire Department
Stamford, Conn.

My Dear Sir,

Since I was at Stamford two weeks ago, I have been endeavoring to obtain information relative to the hand fire engines; Rippowam No.1 Company and Golf Stream No. 2 formally in service in your department.

I wrote to Fall River [Massachusetts] where the Gulf Stream is owned by the Veteran Fireman’s Administration, for its manufacturers number… 476. I sent that number to the American LaFrance Company at Elmira, NY; the successor of Button its builder; for information from the books of the old firm, relative to it.  They informed me that the engine was built for Stamford in 1858 and shipped in April. It was sold to Canaan, Connecticut in 1883, according to my records; traded with the Combination Ladder Company of Providence, Rhode Island for free and purchased by the Fall River Veterans in 1897. It was first named “Stamford” and the name changed to “Gulf Stream” after it came to Stamford. This is proof positive that it was not the Rippowam and not the old Troy engine purchased in 1859.

From my records of engines made by Hanneman [sic] of Boston (and I have a complete list of 745 made between 1792 and 1881 when the concern went out of existence) I find that a 5-1/2 inch engine, Stamford No. 2 number 504, was shipped to Stamford in May 16, 1854.  This company was, I believed organized at that time and probably used that Hanneman engine until the arrival of the Gulf Stream in 1858. That Hanneman engine is probably the one you informed me is located at the foundry in your city.

The Rippowam No. 1 company, from what information I have, had three engines. The old gooseneck now at the plant of the Stamford Manufacturing Company, purchased in 1844; a 10 inch Button engine, purchased in 1855; and the old gooseneck Intent No. 3 of Troy, New York, purchased in September 1859

From my records of Firemans musters, I find that the Rippowam, Lorenzo Meeker foreman, at a muster held at Springfield, Massachusetts on September 28, 1855, made a perpendicular play through 300 feet of hose at 109 feet and finished 14 in a list of 22 engines. The best record made at this muster was 148 feet. The lowest 80 feet.

At a muster held at New Haven, September 5, 1856, the Rippowam, Captain Meeker, won first prize of $500 with a perpendicular play through 450 feet of hose of 153 feet, defeating 20 other engines, including many of the best known muster engine of that time. And some of those at the present, including the famous prize winner Hey Cart [sic] of Pawtucket Rhode Island, the Niagara of Chicago, then one of the best known machines in the west, and others of Brooklyn, New York, Hartford, Springfield and other cities, then famous prize winners,

At a muster held at Hartford, September 24, 1857, the Rippowam with Captain Meeker, made a horizontal play through 400 feet of hose of 147 feet, 9 inches and finished 14th and a list of 39 engines.  The best record at this muster was 186 feet, 9 inches, the smallest, 100 feet. The Rippowam made a better record than did several of the largest and best engines of New York, Brooklyn, Wooster, New Haven and other cities.

At one of the largest of the old time monsters held at Wooster on September 8, 1858, with 48 contestants, the Rippowam, Charles Darwin Forman, finish last with 112 feet. I have no Record as to why it made so poor a record but presume that there was some just cause four.

All of these muster records were made before the arrival of the Troy engine in 1859. The records of three of the musters state that the Rippowam was a 10 inch Button engine. It certainly must have been a first class machine to have made so many good records and to have defeated so many of the best Muster engines. Now I would like to know what became of both of the Rippowam engines. It is strange that they should have so mysteriously disappeared and that I have never heard of them in my years of hunting for and buying of 10 inch Button engines for muster organizations.  And I have scoured the whole country for them.  I do not know how we can find out where they went to except from the memory of some of your Stamford people, fire department or city officials who sold them, or files of old Stamford newspapers.

The Gulf Stream had a muster held at Albany, New York on September 30, 1858 one second prize of $400 with a perpendicular play of 149 feet through 300 feet of hose. The Franklin three of Brooklyn one first prize with 152 feet. The engines were classed at this muster. The Gulf Stream was in the first class, of which there were 12. All of the 18 engines in the second class made better records in the Gulf Stream.

The first Rippowam Button may have been one of the original pattern [sic] stationary brake engines and if it was and it was may have been demolished. The second Rippowam, the Troy engine, was rebuilt in 1859 when it was purchased at Stamford, after they commenced to build new style machines and probably had 14 brakes, the same as the golf stream has, and probably not been destroyed.

Old engines are frequently exchange for new apparatus or hose, their name plates removed and new names given to them and they are lost so far as their former history is concerned. One such engine and the only one who’s history I have been unable to trace, I sold a few years ago to the revere Massachusetts veterans. I purchased it at Long Island city where it was procured from a hose manufacturing concerned that went out of existence years ago. Your machines may have disappeared in the same manner.

Manufacturing plants frequently procure engines to protect their plants and when they enter such players they usually go into oblivion.  There is such an engine at Collinsville, Connecticut. I thought it might be one of the Stamford machines and I wrote to them for its number. The L Myra people informed me that this engine was built for the Collins company in 1854 and has always been at their factories.  Your machines may have gone to some manufacturing concern as did the original Rippowam. Now these and the original No.2,  the Hanneman=n to the foundry you have knowledge of.

The Hancock of Brockton, which I have crossed out in my reference to the New Haven 1856 muster (above) I find is not that machine, but the one used by the Hancock of Charleston before it procured the engine now at Brockton. A Hanneman machine.

This information may interest you and possibly give you some data that may lead you to a cleaning future information relative to Stamford’s old Rippowam’s. It will show you that the Rippowam’s and the golf stream are not the same engines.


H. H. Easterbrook