Wooden wheel from 1910 antique fire truck phtograph in San Jose, Costa Rica

  Fire Truck World - Antique Fire-fighting Equipment Photography

 Millard Farmer of Bicycling Photography on a ten year bicycle expedition in China

Fire Truck World,  Bicycyling Photography  &  Millard Farmer

Fire Truck World was created by Bicycling Photography's Millard Farmer.  These photos are just a part of a vast collection of photographs that were taken on a ten year, non-stop, 'photo-hunting' bicycle expedition, that spanned five continents, traveling through more than thirty different countries in Southeast Asia, China, the South Pacific, North, Central, & South Americas, and various islands of the Caribbean as well.

 

During the ten years it took me to pedal over 180,000 miles (290,000 kms.), I stopped at countless fire stations along the way asking information on 'how to get to somewhere', or 'where was a good place to stay, or eat'.  It didn't take long to realize that firemen are an incredibly valuable source, not only for the protective services they voluntarily provide us, but for local information as well.  Ever so quickly, I found fire stations to be a unique and friendly place to take a short break, fill up empty water bottles, and check out their fire fighting equipment.  On several occasions I welcomed their invitation to stay the night, taking a break from the daily task of finding yet another hotel room.  Along with the many friendships encountered, and the helpful information provided, the habit of seeking out fire stations along this journey, resulted in the over 500 different 'antique' fire trucks captured on film and featured here. 

 

The original photographs from this bicycle journey, all captured on 35 mm film and on Kodak slides, remained stored and untouched in a backyard shed for over twenty years, as 'lost and forgotten victims of today's digital world.'  Forced to remove the contents of the shed, these images ended their long journey being hand carried down to Costa Rica and stored in plastic coolers, until finally deciding to scan and restore them into digital images. Many never made it, as their emulsions were stuck together, severely damaged, or were too speckled by age to ever recover using Photoshop. But for those that did survive, these images are proudly displayed here in the pages of Fire Truck World, and also partially in Bicycling Photography's 'sister' website: www.earthlyphotos.com 

  1800 hand fire pump phtographed in Arica, Chile
 

Nearly 30 years has passed since the bike journey ended, but the love of antique fire equipment hasn't.  Now with the luxury of digital photography, seeking out new fire engines has taken me to fire fighting museums from Arizona to Seattle, to Salt Lake City, to New York State, and many fire stations and surprise stops in between.  Though my travels never afforded  the opportunity to be a volunteer fireman, I would like to think this site is somehow helping with recording  this part of our important history.  I also wish to thank the wonderful fire fighting museums around the world dedicated to preserving the actual fire engines and appartus that are survivors of this special part of history.  Please take every possible opportunity to visit a fire museum to see and cherish this magnificient history yourself.  The experience is well worth the journey.

 

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