NEW YORK HERALD, Saturday, September 4, 1858:
The announcement in the Herald of yesterday, that the Philadelphia steam fire engine which won the prize in the trial at Boston, would play in the Park at 10 A.M., drew a large crowd to that locality at the time designated. The machine, which is a neat, compact looking engine, was worked by twenty-five members of the company who visited Boston with it. They are a respectable and vigorous looking body of young men, and handled the machine admirably. Their dress was similar to that worn by New York firemen, with the exception of the cap, which is of glazed cloth, and in shape like a Zouave's chapeau.
The Philadelphia has been at every fire that has occurred in the city of Brothery Love since last January, and the firemen of that city, who at first were prejudiced against it, now regard the steam engine as a valuable auxiliary for checking conflagration. The fire is kindled as soon as the alarm is given, and in seven minutes the required amount of steam is ready to work the engine.
While the Philadelphians were preparing yesterday morning to make a trial of their machine, the fire at No. 13 Bowery broke out, and at the request of Mayor Tiemann they proceeded thither to test their apparatus. On arriving on the ground the visiters were somewhat surprised to find that the New York companies threw obstacles in the way of their procuring water, and for some time they were unable although ready to go to work. The Assistant Engineers, however, at length procured water for the Philadelphians.
They first played through a single hose, and although seventy feet from the blazing building, they succeeded in throwing a stream quite as strong as the heavy old hand engines which stood immediately opposite the fire. The force of the water, however, burst the hose they were using, and the Philadelphians were compelled to stop. This disaster, strange to say, instead of exciting the sympathy, provoked the derision of some of the New York firemen, who hurrahed and cheered, and acted generally as though they were rejoiced at the bad luck of their Philadelphia visiters.
The latter, noting daunted by their mishap, next proceeded to play two streams, with new hose. These two streams were thrown to a height nearly equal to the one thrown by Adriatic Engine Company No. 31, one of the "crack" hand engines of this city. The success of the steam engine seemed to enrage the New Yorkers, and the man who held the pipe for Engine No. 31 turned the stream of water full upon the Philadelphians. This magnanimous feat was cheered by the firemen, while citizens on the walk cried "shame!" "shame!" At this juncture it seemed as though a general attack was about to be made upon the visiters, but through the effors of Assistant Engineer Baulch and the police the stranger firemen were protected from personal violence.
After helping to pout out the fire, the Philadelphians with their machine returned to the Park, but as they were compelled to take the Amboy boat for home at one o'clock they had not time to make the trial of the apparatus they had promised the public.
Although two days in the city, this company received no courtesies from the New York Fire Department, and they were allowed to go home without even an escort to the boat.
New Orleans, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Boston and other large cities, are now using steam fire engines. As yet New York has been without one in active service. Our fire insurance companies should see to this.