1923 Reo Fire Truck - Bonners Ferry, ID
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 48° 41.854 W 116° 18.717
11U E 550629 N 5394065
Quick Description: This REO is one of the gems of the collection of the Boundary County Museum. The museum is on the east side of Main Street, less than a block south of the Kootenai River.
Location: Idaho, United States
Date Posted: 1/3/2015 6:04:46 PM
Waymark Code: WMN6CE
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member silverquill
Views: 0

Long Description:
In beautiful condition, this has to be a relatively rare one. Though we've encountered REOs in the past, I believe this to be the first REO fire truck we've had the pleasure to view. Built in 1923, it was bought and doubtless put into service in Bonners Ferry in 1925. It has probably been restored in the recent past.

The chassis that REO fire trucks were built on was the legendary Reo Speedwagon, precursor to the pickup truck. The Speedwagon was introduced by REO in 1915 and production continued until at least 1953. Though wooden wheels were still the norm in the early '20s, we note that this one is on steel wheels, possibly a later conversion.

The following description is of a 1925 Speedwagon fire truck. This 1923 truck probably operated in much the same manner:

A Combination Fire Engine means it has two ways for pressurizing water. The large brass tank mounted behind the seat is a chemical tank, which contained 44 gallons of soda water solution. When the fire fighters would arrive at the fires they would turn the handle on top of the tank and break a seal on a jar of acid that would mix with the soda water. This would start a chemical reaction and pressurize the water in the tank for fire fighting.

Located under the seat is a Rotary Gear pump that once a water supply is established can pressurize water for fire fighting. This pump can pump 300 gallons of water per minute.

White Truck bought out REO in 1957, renaming the line the Diamond REO. The REO nameplate was retired by White in 1974.

The sign at the truck:

The REO Motor Car Company, based in Lansing, Michigan, was started by Ransom Eli Olds, founder and former owner of Olds Motor Works (Oldsmobile). REO produced automobiles and trucks, including fire trucks, from 1905 to 1975.

The fire truck, a 1923 REO, was purchased by the Village of Bonners Ferry in April 1925 from Blackwell Motor Company of Spokane, Washington for $5,000.


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