Newsham Fire Engine
This engine was in use from 1736 to 1886 and was bought for £46, which is the equivalent to the Borough setting aside over £10000 in today's money towards its purchase. It is one of the oldest surviving examples of its kind in the UK.
Richard Newsham, a London pearl button maker, took out patents for improved fire engines in 1725 and 1735. These engines were the first to deliver a continous stream of water, for reasons that are obvious, they were called "bed posters".
The South Molton engine was built under Newsham's 1735 patent and had fixed front wheeels so it was very difficult to manhandle through the streets. Whereas after 1770 the later engines were fitted with pivoting front wheels for easier handling. The engine on display was in use in the Borough until 1886.
It was then replaced by the Merryweather horse-drawn engine, which is also part of the Museum's collection.