Lot 134 : Rare Charles Ahren's Our Fire Fighters Working Model
We sold this lot for £4,800 in September 2016

built around 1930, only around half a dozen are known in the UK, with another handful around the rest of the World. This particular machine is believed to be the only one in the outdoor all-steel cabinet, designed for use on piers and amusement parks. A hitherto unknown machine, this has been consigned from a collector of fire fighting items, who bought it some considerable time ago intending to restore it, but it was one of those projects that just never got done.
The machine is completely original and has lain untouched for 50+ years, still being on old penny play. It is all complete, and interestingly does not seem to have ever had feet or a top-flash, as there are no corresponding securing holes in the top or bottom of the cabinet. The cabinet is in pretty sound condition, having been dry stored for many more years than it was ever used on site! Inside it has the original wiring, and the model itself retains original paint.
This does require re-wiring to make it safe, but these models operate as follows: a bulb lights inside the house to give a fire effect. The fire station gate opens, and the fire engine drives out. A fireman climbs the ladder into the first floor of the burning house, and returns shortly afterwards carrying a baby on his shoulders. He decends the ladder with baby safe and sound, and the fire engine returns to the station, with the gate shutting as the fire is put out.
Very rare chance to acquire this wonderful working model from the greatest maker of large arcade machines in the early 1930s. Only 2 other examples are known to have been sold in the UK in the last 25 years, with one of those being exported to the U.S. - although another example formerly in the Dr Smith collection has returned to the UK.
Offered without reserve.
Size approx: 32 inches (81.3 cm) Wide  by 71 inches (180.3 cm) High  by 19 inches (48.3 cm) Deep