December 29, 2023

Earlier this year the WVFC was notified by staff from the Reading Area Fire Museum that our 1812 Patrick Lyons hand pumper needs repairs to its wheels. The hand pumper is on loan to the museum where it is displayed to assist with history and education of fire protection.

The museum will be getting HVAC work done in 2024 which will necessitate the movement of apparatus and getting the wheels repaired would help with moving our hand pumper and not create additional damage when moved. To assist with this project, our fire company was awarded a $2500 grant from the Union Fire Historical Society which will cover the repairs in entirety.

We are fortunate in south central Pennsylvania having an Amish population where members of their community continue the wheelwright trade. The wheels were removed and will be taken to Witmer Coach in Leola, Lancaster County where they will be repaired.

Our records show the hand pumper was re-built in 1851 by John Agnew, a Womelsdorf carriage maker, and it’s possible the wheels haven’t been removed since then, 173 years ago! We hope these repairs will last just as long and our 212 year-old will continue to serve.