Hose reel restored for HOCO Museum

Shawn Hardy
Roger Bitner paints part of an old hose reel that is one of the newest additions to the HOCO Museum at the Rescue Hose Co. Behind him is the fire company’s 1930 Seagraves.

A new piece of firefighting history has joined the HOCO Museum at Greencastle’s Rescue Hose Co. by way of Massachusetts and the Conococheague Institute in Welsh Run.

Dr. John C. Stauffer, founder and president emeritus of the institute, found the old hose reel in a barn in Massachusetts and gave it to the institute.

However, it is more appropriate for in-town firefighting history than the rural, frontier focus of Conococheague Institute so it was given the HOCO Museum, where it was torn apart by Ray Mowen and Roger Bitner, painted and reassembled. Its wheels feature wooden spokes and a two-piece cast hub.

Hand-pulled, it would have been used to lay out up to 500 to 600 feet of hose, explained Mowen, museum chairman.

The museum also is home to an industrial hose reel, probably from Frick Co. Not much is known about the new hose reel, but it may have been used in industry, too, according to Mowen, who said they probably stopped making them in the 1850s.

The hose reel joins a host of HOCO history in the museum at the fire station, where the earliest document is an 1825 list of members.

For more information about the HOCO Museum, call 597-8489, Ext. 111, or email hocofiremuseum@rescuehose.com