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Fire engine that saved Bojnice Castle goes on show

During the annual international machinery fair at Nitra’s Agrokomplex fairground, the historical fire engine which among other things saved Bojnice Castle was exhibited. Visitors to the fair were able to admire it recently. The exhibition was prepared by the Slovak Agriculture Museum in Nitra, in cooperation with volunteer firefighters from the municipalities of Veľké Uherce, Ivanka pri Nitre and Svätoplukovo. Out of fourteen items in total, nine belonged to the museum’s collection.

During the annual international machinery fair at Nitra’s Agrokomplex fairground, the historical fire engine which among other things saved Bojnice Castle was exhibited. Visitors to the fair were able to admire it recently. The exhibition was prepared by the Slovak Agriculture Museum in Nitra, in cooperation with volunteer firefighters from the municipalities of Veľké Uherce, Ivanka pri Nitre and Svätoplukovo. Out of fourteen items in total, nine belonged to the museum’s collection.

The most admired and unique piece is the still-working fire-engine, or fire-pump, dating back to 1883, when it was made by Viennese manufacturer Wilhelm Knaust. The company was in business between 1822 and 1938. In 1883, it produced three models of three-cylinder fire-engine with steam injection. One of them was purchased by a factory in Veľké Uherce belonging to Thonet Brothers, which makes bent-wood chairs, for the volunteer fire brigade there, which has preserved the unique piece in working order until the present day.

“This engine has been preserved as the only one in the whole world from the series produced,” the exhibition's expert guarantor Wáclav Gidaszewksi told the TASR newswire. It is notable that the steam fire-engine was used during a fire at the sugar mill of Karol Stummer in Továrniky in 1929 and during the fire of Bojnice Castle in 1950. “The engine was driven to Bojnice onboard a train. At the railway station, a horse-drawn carriage was waiting for it, and drove it all the way to the castle. The steam fire-engine was the only one able to generate sufficient water pressure to put water onto the roof of Bojnice Castle,” Gidaszewski explained.

The oldest exhibit displayed was a manual vehicular fire-engine from 1880, from the municipality of Horný Almáš. At least five firemen are necessary to operate it: four pump water while one operates the hose. Similar demonstrations took place at the exhibition using a younger type of engine that came from Dolné Obdokovce and dates back to 1935. Other interesting exhibits at the show were firefighting vehicles; a manual 'Prometeus' fire extinguisher from the beginning of the 20th century; a manual fire-pump; a fireman's bucket from Napoleonic times; and a historical fire-extinguishing wooden hook. The programme also included demonstrations of a portable engine-powered PS-8 fire-pump from 1958.

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