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September 26, 2018

Open House at Firefighters’ Museum to feature Historic Kingsford Fire Pump Wagon


OSWEGO — The John D. Murray Firefighters Museum will host an open house in conjunction with the Oswego County Historical Society on October 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The museum is located at 35 E. Seneca St., behind the Oswego Fire Department.

On display for the first time in more than 20 years is the historic Kingsford Fire Pump wagon, first patented in 1867 and built in 1869 at the Kingsford Foundry & Machine Works in Oswego.

Known as the “Little Giant,” the fire wagon is a part of the historical society collections and has been placed on long-term loan to the firefighters’ museum.

“This historic fire pump was donated to the historical society by the Kingsford family descendants in the 1960s. It is an important part of the history of the foundry, which was in business for one hundred years,” said Justin White, president of the historical society. “It is a very rare fire wagon and in excellent condition.”

The board of the firefighters museum along with the board of the historical society recently collaborated to put the historic fire pump on permanent display.

The historical society housed the fire pump wagon in storage for several decades and had periodically displayed it on the lawn of the Richardson-Bates House, but was unable to permanently display it.

The firefighters’ museum has a large temperature controlled garage which had room and the perfect mission.

“This was a great resolution to putting this historic object on display. The historical society board is pleased to have it visible for the public to enjoy,” added White. “The firefighters’ museum documents a unique niche of community history and this is the perfect place.”

The Kingsford Foundry & Machine Works was founded in 1864 and was part of the Kingsford family dynasty, which began with the Oswego Starch Factory founded in 1848.

Thomas Kingsford, the family patriarch, discovered and perfected the process of making starch from corn.

The Oswego Starch Factory became the largest starch factory of its kind in the world.

The foundry was established to manufacture the equipment necessary to produce the cornstarch, and eventually became a major enterprise of its own.

The starch factory had its own fire department, which was established in 1857.

The Kingsford Fire Pump wagon was hand-drawn and used a soda and acid combination to extinguish fires.

The open house is free and open to the public.

For more information about the John D. Murray Firefighters Museum call 343-0999.

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