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Archives Outside - For people who love, use and manage archives
  • Iain Stuart says:

    Well the first thing you have to consider re fire engines is the chassis series in this case it is a Dennis chassis and then work on the type of body …etc and then note the earliest possible date and remember that fire engines in Australia stayed in service for a very long time unlike today when they seem to get turned over every 20 years.

    September 4, 2013 at 6:32 pm
  • enno says:

    I can date this photograph ! I can tell you with a high level of certainty that this photograph was taken on 30 August 2013.

    September 5, 2013 at 11:38 pm
  • enno says:

    If you look at this website
    the most similar ones are the 1927 and 1929 ones. The later ones don’t have the front end of the springs protruding so far in the front, and they have larger engines.

    September 5, 2013 at 11:53 pm
  • Jennysoldcars says:

    General vehicle dating:
    • It has 1910s-1930s attributes and styling:
    o Radiator is not under the bonnet/hood but separate and distinctive
    o Mudguards separate to the bonnet/hood and body, not incorporated into the overall body shape
    o Straight up and down firewall/scuttle without any windscreen
    o Plain motor buggy style seat, a wrap around bench seat not incorporated into any cabin body structure.

    • To narrow down the vehicle date:
    o Probably not 1910s because:
     the mudguards are more typically 1920s-30s curved, not earlier flattened style
     the wheel size and rim type, these are light truck wheels and a tyre size more typical of 1930s onwards [see note 2 below] in fact 1910s trucks in original condition would likely have solid rubber tyres not pneumatics as shown.
    o By the later 1920s and increasingly afterwards even service vehicles provided improved crew protection and comfort so we can say the body is likely before the mid 1930s.

    So those clues put the vehicle itself in a probably date range of 1920s to early 1930s.

    1.Were this to be a period photograph it could indicate a photo date during or after WW2 because of the military paint colour. Why WW2? –
    • the olive drab (green) paint was not always a WW1 vehicle colour, but it was in WW2 and after;
    • the ‘blackout lights’ – those louvres on the headlights are a WW2 fitting,
    • the ‘blackout lines’ – white painted lines outlining the sides, front and back of a vehicle to make it a little easier for other traffic and pedestrians to see in blackout conditions, these are a WW2 characteristic after December 1941 in Sydney.
    2.It is important to remember that older service vehicles like fire engines often had several incarnations, with modifications and modernisations such as updates in wheel and tyre sizes, addition of electrical systems e.g. for starting, newer engines, newer bodies or changed crew seating on old chassis and fitting of newer apparatus. Therefore for photo dating noting such modifications may also give useful clues.

    Of course seeing the Dennis at the Open Day and knowing it came from the Museum of Fire gives an advantage especially as it’s on their website as a 1931 Denis 250/400

    An aside – I drove one of these vintage de-commissioned NSWFB Dennis fire engines for a parade in the 1970s. While I was and am well used to driving historic vehicles of all ages the Dennis rates as one of the tougher drives with very heavy steering and heavy clutch, and it was not much better when we got out on the open road but it was a lot of fun! Left me with a sense of admiration for the blokes who drove them when they were working engines.

    September 6, 2013 at 1:22 pm
  • Anna Gray says:

    Thanks Jennyoldcars – a brilliant run down of all the clues to look for when dating old cars.

    September 9, 2013 at 8:15 am