Fire Horn - Rare Antique English - Siebe Gorman Ltd
This item is a rare, non-refurbished, antique fire horn or siren manufactured in England around the middle of the 19th century by Siebe Gorman Ltd. The item is in excellant condition for its age. It still works as it was intended. The bellows is made of leather and the leather exterior is cracked in the places where it bends when it is being pumped, but the horn still blows weakly when the bellows are pumped. All of the other parts are in place and working. There is patina on all of the brass parts. The unit measures 25" long x 13" wide x 29" high, and weighs 26 pounds. The manufacturer’s brass tag is signed "SIEBE GORMAN & CO. LTD. LONDON S.E.I."
The history of the development of the Fire Horn/Siren began in the middle 1800s when it was developed as a double billowed pumb to furnish air to a firemen’s smoke mask. The foot pedal was depressed by an operator to pump air into a second spring tensioned bellows to keep a constant flow of air to the helmet. When a Firefighter went into a confined area he was attached to a lifeline and used a code system based on pulls of the lifeline to communicate with the pump operator. These commands are indicated on the large brass plate attached to the top of the pump.
In the early 1900s, more efficient air pumps were developed, so the company adapted a large brass horn to the unit and marketed the pump as a Fire Siren