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Central Mutual Insurance Antique Fire Equipment Museum

During the 1800s, in  rural midwestern towns like Van Wert buying fire insurance was a difficult and costly proposition.  Building construction was primarily wood and there was little, if any, organized protection against fire. The "Van Wert County Mutual Fire Insurance Company" was formed to fill that need.  The threat of disastrous fire was always very real in rural communities and the equipment used to fight fires was primitive.  Central’s Fire Museum is one of the finest privately held collections in the United States. The home office of CentralMutual Insurance has recently undergone a $4 million expansion/renovation project that included a new home for the museum.  During your visit you will see:

* A collection of leather fire buckets dating back to the 1700s.
*Over 600 antique fire toys
*A large display of fire extinguishers and glass fire "grenades" dating from the 1850s
*A rare and valuable collection of "firemarks" dating back to 1720
*A wardrobe of antique fireman helmets and uniforms
*Van Wert's first hand-drawn pumper used in 1871, and an Ahren's horse-
  drawn steam pump which was purchased in 1907
*and much more.

Central Mutual Insurance Company
800 S. Washington St.
Van Wert, OH 45891

Phone Number(s)

Local Number: (419) 238-1010


Friday: 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Special Hours: 3rd Friday of every month and by appointment


Additional Information





1907 Ahrens horse-drawn steam pumper

One of the many items on display at Central's Fire Museum is this horse-drawn steam pupper which was purchased new in 1907 by the city of Van Wert and restored by Central Insurance.

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