Reply To: Fire-engines aboard RN ships in 18th-19th centuries

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    Coming back to the matter of Dutch fire-engines, L S Multhauf’s 1996 translation of a Dutch manual for firefighters, published in 1735, includes a foreword by Peter Molloy. On p. viii, he states:
    “If English towns preferred Newsham engines, the English Navy and East India Company favored van der Heiden engines. They were popular in men-of-war and large merchant ships as portable fire pumps, light enough even to be carried aloft and pumped to wet sails to increase a ship’s ability to capture a breeze. By the late eighteenth century, and probably well before, British bomb ketches, frigates, and ships of the line carried several “Dutch pumps.” One British ship of the line used its pump to extinguish a fire at the Battle of Trafalgar that was threatening to destroy it and a French ship with which it was engaged. The Dutch East India Company and the Dutch Navy also carried similar pumps aboard their ships.”

    The Newsham engine was developed in 1720, and the “handtub” pumps widely used in America were its descendants. The Dutch pumps referred to might have been similar to that found in the 1743 wreck of the VOC ship Hollandia. These were of a more sophisticated design than the Newsham pump, or the van der Heiden pump described in Diderot’s Encyclop├ędie. The suction-hose intake connected directly with the cylinders, rather than with the cistern.
    Tony Beales has been helpful in turning up citations about fire-engines used in RN vessels. And Nicholas Blake came up with some others on MARHST, but none of these included mention of Dutch (van der Heiden) machines.
    Can anyone confirm Molloy’s assertion that Dutch pumps were in widespread use in RN or HEIC ships?