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Monday, August 8, 2016

Fireman's bicycle from 1905

History of Fire Service Bicycles

The history of fire service bicycles is relatively hazy. I did however, find a handful of useful resources about early fire service vehicles, which appear to have been primarily used prior to the development of motorized transportation. Although I was haven’t yet be able to get my hands on what appears to be a very useful article by Steven Carter (1999) titled Fire Service Bicycles: Did They Ever Exist?, which was published in The Wheelman magazines, I did read through a journal article that cited Carter’s piece. The citing article – The Product Life Cycle and the Use of Bicycles to Deliver Goods and Services by Ross D. Petty – is a definitely worth the read in general. As for its reference to fire service bicycles, Petty indicates that fire service bicycles of some variety were definitely used in Australia, Great Britain, and France, and for the most part, it would appear that the use was limited to the late 1800’s and very early 1900’s.
In 1905, the Birmingham Small Arms (BSA) Company – who are actually well-known for their motorcycles – commissioned a fire service bicycle. It is probably that the use of those fire service bicycles was limited to Great Britain, and I do not know how many were produced. Nonetheless, the frames were designed to accommodate a fire hose, a siren, and an axe.