Gowanda NY Fire Dept Diaphone info.

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TimT
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Gowanda NY Fire Dept Diaphone info.

Post by TimT » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:42 pm

Hi folks, I am the training officer and fleet manager for the Gowanda Vol Fire Company in Gowanda NY, a small village about 30 miles south of Buffalo NY. We have had a Diaphone on top of our fire hall/municipal building for all my life"So far, 48 years"...
As far as I know the unit was installed when the old hall was built in 1937. It had the full system, signal unit in apparatus bay with compressor & large air storage tank in the basement and "working" tank, electric/manuel valve with regulator in a cupola on the roof. The unit was in full function until the early eighties, and then pagers, etc, came along and the compressor broke down. The horn itself was taken down and dumped in the cupola because the gasket was rotted or missing about 1985 or so. About 1992 a freind in the fire dept decided to see what it needed for repairs.He took it home and made a gasket for the piston.After a flood hit the village in 1996 we bought another air compressor and hooked it up. The old siganl box still had some current in the old storage batteries and the switch/breaker still worked, although without the signal cogs. "We just blew the horn with the relay switch"
Last year we built a brand new fire hall across town and we have yet to install a siren system, but are planning on it. Many local depts have never repaired sirens because of all the pagers, cell tones, etc, ..we just don't need the siren anymore according to some. But yesterday we went up on the roof of the old hall to see if we could save the old horn just for historic reasons. Once we looked at it we figured we would try to remove the tank, the valve and regulator and horn. We took a K-12 saw up and cut through the old steel casing around the copper riser pipe and turned the horn around in a 360.a few times to unthread the pipe from the valve. The we removed the regulator and valve and pipe from the tank all in one unit, and also the smaller working air tank on the roof. We lowered it down with some rescue rope and took the whole works over to our new hall.We have a vertical compressor/tank in the workshop at the hall and figured we might hook the regulator and valve to the old tank, run the hose out the door and fill it up. We bought a few nipples and connections and made a nice compact unit out of the whole set up, plugged into the tank, filled it up and hit the manuel valve, well she blew a nice blast just like brand new!!! I will post some pictures tommarow amd if anyone has questions I can try to find out more.Regards, TimT

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Re: Gowanda NY Fire Dept Diaphone info.

Post by Jim » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:52 pm

No, no, no! You are supposed to throw the whole assembly out in the snow to be picked up and taken to the landfill.
Actually, that is a great story, one we have heard way too seldom here over the years.
Welcome to the Forum and keep us informed of your progress, with pics and sounds if possible.

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Rob
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Re: Gowanda NY Fire Dept Diaphone info.

Post by Rob » Sun Feb 07, 2010 9:29 pm

Tim, Welcome..
Just a couple of things here.. # 1 .. Dont EVERY listen to ANY fire Department person who says " Horns and sirens arent needed now because we have pagers and cell phones" WOW WOOPTY DOO! I just hate people who say that and i pick fights with them all the time..haha! brawls have started in firehouses because of me! Seriously, it's a Bull*Sh*T excuse and I got sick of hearing it 10 years ago.. Technology is fun to a point, and we are some how forced to buy the latest stuff.. But nothing will EVER replace a Diaphone or old Federal Mechanical siren from the 1940-60's! These are things made in America during a time when America was America and not China, India, Pakastan, Iraq, Bangladesh, and ever other country but here.... The point is, get that damn horn up on the new firehouse roof blowing like a mother F---R and tell your neighboring FD's to F off.... Be better than them, Stronger than them! Blow that horn and wake everyone up! A fire Dept is not a FD without a Diaphone... Anyway PU**SY Dept can spend 80,000 dollars a year on pagers... But it takes a real FD with Ba*lls to keep their Diaphone and sirens working... it's all I have respect for... Thanks!
The sound of a Diaphone is all I ever want to hear as a volunteer! Pagers suck!!!

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Re: Gowanda NY Fire Dept Diaphone info.

Post by TimT » Mon Feb 08, 2010 3:44 pm

Rob, I agree 200%.... We are going to insatall a brand new Federal system...and might put the Diaphone up....after we put it in a few parades and such.... Here are some pics, as of today. We need to polish and paint yet , then build a cradle to hold it so we can put it on a trailer. I will update when we get it all cleaned up. Tim.

Image

Image

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Re: Gowanda NY Fire Dept Diaphone info.

Post by gareee » Mon Feb 08, 2010 4:39 pm

Hi Tim, I would give it a good cleaning right down to the beautiful copper underneath that paint. The trumpet part of that horn is COPPER. The heavy part (in the rear) can be painted(it's I think cast iron)
What many of us did was get some good paint remover and take the old silver paint off of the trumpet .Than you will want to get polish and believe it or not this thing will shine-up. It's going to take a little elbow grease but it is worth it.
To keep it protected from the weather, you will want to spray clear laquer. Apply a few coats ( Guys, jump in if you can help me with this). You will just about get it as shiny as my Avatar picture on the right.

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Re: Gowanda NY Fire Dept Diaphone info.

Post by almdoc » Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:57 am

Tim,
Thats a great story. I get e-mails all the time concerning pager and electronics failures and how the public alarms (telegraph systems, sirens and air horns) saved the day. I am the alarm supervisor for the Schuylkill Historical Fire Society in PA. We have many boroughs still using telegraph systems and air horns. If you need help getting things up and running on your house siren or air horns drop me a note. I have actually devised a way to have a paging system blow a coded signal from municipal air horns. It's usually a county or city station number. On the flip side if there is still ANYTHING laying around from your municipal system we are always looking for parts etc. to assist our boroughs in maintaining their systems. I do have some parts for smith valves and timing and trip set ups for ASCO valves. Good luck with your project.

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Re: Gowanda NY Fire Dept Diaphone info.

Post by blastit » Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:46 pm

This is a great story! One that needs to be told to the younger generation of Volunteer fire fighter. Please keep us posted!!

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Re: Gowanda NY Fire Dept Diaphone info.

Post by slant-40 » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:50 pm

Tim, you did a good deed there, and it might just wind up saving someone's life! Good luck with the new installation. We have a wealth of knowledge here about air setup and diaphone maintenance and repair, if you ever have a question, here's the place to go.

By the way - how many PSI did you blow the horn with?
watcher of the Diaphones...

wayne

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Re: Gowanda NY Fire Dept Diaphone info.

Post by TurgeonFan77132 » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:51 am

This is definitely a great story to share with the Diaphone and audible alram family Tim. Welcome aboard!

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Re: Gowanda NY Fire Dept Diaphone info.

Post by kb4mdz » Wed May 09, 2018 10:04 pm

Reviving an old thread.

On FB there are a couple pages about Gowanda, NY. Recently on 'You know you're from Gowanda.....' there was a discussion of the horn, and the codes. A couple people posted the code cards that you could get.

Thanks, Lori Anderson & Lester Prince!!

First card is from about the 1940's or 1950's the poster said. Again, notice the number format!! His comment was '..before Gowanda had dial phones...'

And notice the funeral home also did ambulance service. :-) Very common back then!!

2nd from about the 1960s; note the phone numbers were listed as LF2-xxxx; the exchange is 532, now.
Attachments
Gowanda NY Diaphone Codes 1940s 1950s.jpg
Gowanda NY Diaphone Codes 1960s.jpg

Jim
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Re: Gowanda NY Fire Dept Diaphone info.

Post by Jim » Thu May 10, 2018 1:19 pm

I am glad to see David's efforts rewarded by the ongoing addition of material.

This is the third or fourth Code Sheet that has been posted with the permanent shadow of a the thumbtack that supported it.

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