Colorful advertising lithograph in its original wood frame, showing a horse-drawn steam fire engine manufactured by the Amoskeag Manufacturing Co. in Manchester, New Hampshire. The one depicted here is labeled “Brooklyn 10” on the lantern on top of the pressure dome and “BFD 10” on the side lantern. The steam engine is shown in a country landscape. A related folio print of this period, published by Rand, Avery & Co. (not available here), shows an Amoskeag steam fire engine surrounded by a vignette of other engines and parts.
The Amoskeag Manufacturing Co. began as a textile mill in 1804 at Amoskeag Falls on the Merrimack River in New Hampshire. It was incorporated under this name in 1831. The town of Manchester grew rapidly around the mill, and during the 19th century became the largest cotton textile plant in the world. Meanwhile, in 1849 the company manufactured its first steam locomotive, and a decade later, expanded into steam fire engines. Amoskeag produced high quality locomotives and fire engines that sold throughout the world. Fire engine production stopped in 1876 and the factory was sold to Manchester Locomotive Works. The Amoskeag Manufacturing Co. went bankrupt during the Great Depression and closed in 1936.
The company records are in the collection of the Manchester Historic Association. According to an inventory of the collection, Ezekial A. Straw, whose name appears on the print, was an agent with the company from 1859 until 1878. His correspondence related to fire engines is dated 1859 to 1863. This suggests that this print was likely published between 1859 and 1863, but no later than 1878. The engine depicted strongly resembles one in a photograph in the collection of the Maine Historical Society, built in 1863 (see References below).
Full publication information: Chas H. Crosby & Co Lith, 46 Water St. Boston.
Lower left: Wm. Amory, Treas., 60 State St. Boston, Mass.
Lower right: E.A. Straw, Agent. Manchester, N.H.
Condition: Generally very good, apparently professionally restored to remove oxidation and discoloration of paper. Still some very faint toning, some possibly from a former mat, is present, but unobtrusive — mostly indiscernible. Original frame with usual expected wear, shrinkage, etc.
“Amoskeag Manufacturing Company.” Wikipedia. 20 December 2010. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amoskeag_Manufacturing_Company (18 January 2011).
“Item 11521 – Cumberland No. 3 Fire Engine, 1862.” Vintage Maine Images. 2000-2011. http://www.vintagemaineimages.com/bin/Detail?ln=11521 (18 January 2011).
nSchwartz, Alan M. Guide to the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company Records at the Manchester Historic Association. Manchester, N.H.: Manchester Historic Association, 1985. http://www.manchesterhistoric.org/Amoskeag.pdf (18 January 2011).