About this project
The Neptune Hose Carriage was built in 1851 for the Neptune Hose Company No.6, which was part of the then Philadelphia Volunteer Fire Department. In 1853, the carriage was entered into the New York World's Fair where it won first prize for being "the most beautiful specimen of fire apparatus in the world".
What we did
BRH was contacted to transport the vehicle to our lab for a full conservation treatment. The hose carriage was partially disassembled to make components more accessible for thorough cleaning, polishing, and lacquering of the decorative silver plated elements.
Areas of actively flaking paint, on both the wood and metal, were consolidated while the discolored and darkened varnish layers were removed using aqueous and solvent gels. Any areas of lost paint were then in-painted.
The mother-of-pearl panels were removed from the hose drum per curatorial request, cleaned and stabilized, before being placed in the museum archives.
The earlier gilt and stenciled end panels were treated and installed in their original locations on each end of the hose reel. Missing sculptural figures were recast using molds prepared from extant elements. The replicas were gilded and installed as required. The leather hose was cleaned, humidified and reshaped. The cart was carefully reassembled and crated for transport to the Bucks County Historical Society / Mercer Museum where it was exhibited.