Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Red

Phoenix, Arizona.

This week, Patti Moed asks us to Find Something Red. She writes, “…For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, we’re inviting you to a photo scavenger hunt to find things that are red.” You can read her challenge post here. Having just returned from this year’s Barret-Jackson Auction at Scottsdale, my first thought was of the many red cars and other vehicles I’ve photographed since attending my first auction in 2012. In reviewing those images, I happened upon a red fire engine that was for sale. That changed my direction entirely.

Phoenix is home to the Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting. Of course, there is plenty of red in such a place, and it’s a museum I’ve toured several times over the years. The museum features firefighting equipment from all over the world that dates back to the early 1700s. In my opening photo, a mid-20th century fire engine bears the logo of the Phoenix Fire Department.

In October, 1871, a great fire burned the City of Chicago, Illinois. Equipment from many neighboring states, including this horse-drawn 1820 Simpson hand pump engine, was brought to the city to help fight the fire which burned from October 8-10, 1871.

The museum is a treasure trove of historic firefighting equipment, all in service at some point between the years 1725 and 1969. The fire engine above, a Mack, served it’s work history in Pierre, South Dakota, only about 330 miles (531 km) from our home in Fargo, North Dakota.

This early model fire pump and suited manikin features the best equipment of the day in the city of Rugby, England. Many of the museum’s exhibits feature firefighting equipment from around the world.

The museum provides a looseleaf notebook to each visitor who requests one. At the right of this horse-drawn apparatus is a placard with the number “12” on it. If you look for the 12th entry in the notebook, you’ll find a complete description of the equipment, its use, and historical information about the specific exhibit piece.

I was intrigued by this specific piece of fire equipment. The Steiner family emigrated from Luxembourg and from what I understand, they originally settled in the New York area. Those details have been lost to history, but upon seeing this logo, I wondered if this equipment could be somehow related to our family. Alas, corporate records in the city were lost in a fire. There is no history or background available in public sources to determine any of the principals of the Steiner Manufacturing Company. Like as not, they were no relation as Steiner is a relatively common name. I guess I will never know.

Thanks to Patty for helping me “see red” for this 81st Lens-Artists Challenge.

John Steiner



  1. A wonderful choice for the challenge, John. I haven’t been to this museum yet, but I will put it on my list for the next time we’re in AZ. I love these historical “relics” from other eras.

  2. Thank you for this John. I have a soft spot for fire engines. My Dad was Deputy Chief Fire Officer in my home town for many years and I grew up around the fire station.

  3. We meant to visit the hall of flame on the brief occasions we’ve been in the area. Unfortunately time or lack thereof made the visit impossible (if only they served Chili en Nogada). Cool to check it out, thanks for the invite!

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