General Collections

Fire Fighting


The history of fire fighting can be traced back to the incorporation of Gardner in 1876, and one room of the Museum is reserved to preserve the history of Gardner’s fire fighting tradition. Some of the items on display here include:
  • a hand drawn hose reel
  • the community’s first fire alarm system, circa 1890
  • a mechanical truck siren
  • a fire house alarm bell
  • an apparatus bell used before sirens were mounted on trucks
  • an air alarm horn
  • an early 1900s foam generator
  • a speaking trumpet
  • various fire fighting clothing including a chief’s dress helmet
  • various nozzles and hose fittings


Other Exhibits

  • thirteen appliances manufactured by the Florence Stove Company whose plant in Gardner was in operation between 1899 and 1957. These appliances include such products as old gas space heaters and an oil and gas range.
  • old time recorders from the Simplex Recorder Company which was established in 1902. The first practical time recorder was invented in Gardner in 1888 and, because the device was so simple to operate, the firm that was eventually formed to manufacture it was called Simplex.
  • religious artifacts from the Ohave-Shalom, Gardner’s first and only synagogue whose congregation has been dissolved.
  • a gallery that exceeds over 130 photographs of Gardner’s development.
  • paintings by local artists, the most significant of which is Harrison Cady’s “Spanish Cart.” Cady is well known as the illustrator of Thornton Burgess’ children’s books.