Antique Fire Equipment Featured at Sioux City Public Museum (IA)

A 1886 cart used by the all-volunteer James P. Wall Hose Company No. 2 in Sioux City (IA) has been restored and is on display at the Sioux City Public Museum, along with a dress uniform worn by one of the company’s firefighters.

The cart was purchased from the Silsby Manufacturing Co. of Seneca Falls (NY) and featured a leather hose weighing more than 1,000 pounds.

This is the first time the cart — featuring 5 ½-foot-diameter wheels — has been shown to the public since it was donated to the museum 42 years ago. The cart was too large to fit inside the museum’s former home at the Peirce Mansion.

Walt Beggs, who owned a photography studio in Sioux City, donated the cart in 1971. No one recalls where Beggs found it. He died in 2009 at the age of 85.

A little more than two years ago, Sioux City businessmen Irving Jensen Jr. and his son, Irving Jensen III, decided to have it restored. They enlisted craftsmen from six companies who volunteered to do the work.

Now the fire-engine-red cart with spiffy gold and black trim is taking center stage in the museum’s “What Ever Happened To?” exhibit.

The cart has four handles that four volunteer firefighters grabbed. On hills and over muddy streets, the rest of the 17 men of the James P. Wall Hose Company No. 2 pulled the cart with an attached rope. The leather hose alone weighed more than 1,000 pounds.

Last October, Irving Jensen III donated a dress uniform that had been worn by one of the hose company’s firefighters, Leonard Hummel. He was a boilermaker at the Sioux City Foundry and Machine Works.

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