Gould, R. J.

97 - 113 N. J. Railroad Avenue


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From “Industrial Interests of Newark” 1874

The development of steam fire engines to the highest results at present accomplished, has been a great triumph of mechanical ingenuity and skill.  Capital, although taking a prominent part in this development, has been unable to complete with inventive genius and ceaseless energy.  These remarks have been suggested by an examination of the peculiar merits of the Gould steam fire engine, which is now manufactured by Mr. R. J. Gould, the successor of the Gould Machine Company.  This gentleman has certainly been the pioneer in this branch of Newark's industries, and was the controlling mind of the business when directed by the above named Company.

After arduous labors, a zeal which knew no failure, and a succession of minor triumphs, Mr. Gould has now the satisfaction of seeing his perfected invention regarded as the first of American steam fire engines.  This fact is now quite beyond controversy, and is alike an honor to the inventor and the city wherein his wares are made.

These machines are known as Gould's Variable Pump Fire Engines.  As a result of careful study for years, Mr. Gould has several patents, whose great importance is unquestionable.  These improvements have greatly contributed to the supremacy of his engines.  The variable pump consists of two pumps on the same piston rod, with a "churn valve" to shut one off, or render it inoperative, by which means all the power of the cylinder can be exerted on one pump when a long line of hose is required, or when desired a larger quantity of water can be discharged.

The boilers of the Gould engine are upright and tubular, and have a large capacity.  Steam can be raised in from three to five minutes, and a working pressure easily maintained.  The cylinders on the double engines are made in one casting, with one steam chest for both, and all parts of the engine are finished in the most perfect manner.  The forward part of the engine is of the crane neck style, room being provided for the front wheels to pass under, in order that the engine may turn on its length.  On some the forward axle is short or narrow tracked, thus making the fore part light, and rendering the engine more easily managed, which is a tremendous advantage, when dispatch in getting ready for action is the great desideratum.  The rear is hung on substantial springs by braces secured firmly to the boiler above the centre of weight, thus preventing any tendency of the boiler to sway.  The arch of the frame is sufficiently high to allow the engineer to pass through, and, when running, all parts requiring his care and attention are within easy reach from his position.  The Gould machines excel in convenience, and beauty of design and lightness.  All the material is used is of the best quality, and no incompetent workmen are employed.

The double cylinder variable pump engine weighs about 6,500 pounds, is capable of discharging 1,000 gallons of water per minute, and has thrown a 1 1/2 inch stream 354 feet, which is the longest throw ever made by 34 feet.  The advantage of the variable pump is seen in this: with the ordinary pump the proportion of steam to water cylinder always remains the same, although the requirements vary from a two inch stream and 50 feet of hose, to a 1 1/8 inch stream and 2,000 feet of hose.

Gould's machines are known as piston engines, and are made in four different sizes; and on account of the great satisfaction given, many of them are supplied with the variable pump.

Of late a great rivalry has sprung up between the different fire engines in competing for the western market.  This competition is so active that only competitive trial tests will satisfy the western public and purchasing Boards of Fire Commissioners.  A bitter contest has recently been made in Chicago, and as usual the Gould engine is victorious at every point. 

Mr. Gould also manufactures leather and rubber hose, couplings, trucks, hose carts, and all apparatus connected with fire engines.  Orders for engines are received from all parts of the country, showing how quick are buyers to appreciate genuine merit.  In the works as now running, 40 of the most skillful workmen are employed and the summary of weekly wages is $800.  The production for 1873 was valued at $50,000, but it is now rapidly increasing.