Monday, March 12, 2012


The word steamer means different things to different people. Mention steamer to my kids, they immediately think of the dogs leaving more work for them on the lawn. Mention steamer to a train buff, they think of a long, black locomotive, belching smoke as it pulls it's load down the track. Mention steamer to a firefighter, they think of a steam powered fire pump, a symbol of our firefighting past.

Dave Hubert has a steamer, a 1902 American Steam Fire Engine. I have seen it many times, it is wonderfully restored and still pumps water. Dave, his wife and dogs share their steamer throughout the state as the California State Firefighters  Steam Fire Engine Team, attending events and spreading goodwill.

The Steamer - An American Icon from HubiePictures on Vimeo.

Dave is a retired Fire Captain from the Orange County Fire Authority. It took him and his son over five years to restore this engine. Their efforts were rewarded with this beautiful example of an American classic. The American Fire Engine Company made about 140 of these engine, only eight survive today. Of those eight, seven are in museums, this is the only functioning example left.

If you think that this fire engine is a station queen that never gets dirty, check out this video:

CSFA Steam Fire Engine Team at Santa Margarita from FSTI Media Group on Vimeo.

I guarantee that Dave and the crew jumped on it and had her looking like new shortly after the evolution was complete. He runs a first rate crew, they are the perfect stewards of this iconic piece of history.

VISIT DAVE'S WEBSITE and check out images, the Steamer Team's schedule and some of the DVDs that they have for sale.

Better yet, look at the schedule and attend one of the events. You won't see a finer example of a working steamer.

Thanks for reading,


  1. Wow, Capt. Schmoe. That's beautiful.

    Any idea how they handled the team of horses to keep it ready to go on a moment's notice? It seems like it'd take some time to get them harnessed.

  2. Great stuff! I wish I lived in the area, as I'd really like to see that rig in person. I'll tell you what, someone sure got those horses trained. I've never seen a team that would tolerate the racket from the steamer, and that steam locomotive that the team was next to would send most horses into orbit.

  3. Wayne Conrad - It is my understanding that the harnesses were suspended in proper position on the apparatus floor. Upon receipt of the alarm, the horses were led under the harness, where it was lowered onto the team and secured.

    I have also heard that the many of the horses were so well trained that they required little guidance in the process.

    As with any manipulative process, practice makes perfect.

    Mad Jack - I was impressed with those horses as well. I spoke with Dave about the horses many years back and if I remember correctly, someone else owns the horses, though they train together. An impressive team indeed.

    Thanks for the comments.