'Sutherland' steam fire engine, 1863.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This 'Sutherland' engine is believed to be the oldest steam fire engine still in existence. Built by Merryweathers, it won first prize at the international competition held at the Crystal Palace in 1863. After the London Fire Engine Establishment used its first land steam fire engine in 1860, interest in such machines developed and competitions were organised in order to discover the best designs. The 'Sutherland' proved capable of throwing a powerful jet to over 160 ft. It was taken out of service in 1905 but was used again in 1918.