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A “Kenosha Lost Industry”: The Pirsch Company

August 20, 2012

Nash, the American Motor Company, The Rambler. Solar lamps, wagon works and underwear. Starting in the 1850s, Kenosha, situated on the banks of Lake Michigan, became the home to various and varied industries. Over the years, the city became a major manufacturing center intertwined with regional, national and international economies. One relatively unknown industry was the Pirsch Company, maker of fire engines and fire fighting apparatus. Founded in 1857 by Nicholas Pirsch, the company provided the city of Kenosha with its very first motorized fire engine around 1910. By 1970, Pirsch was the leading producing of fire fighting equipment in the United States, but increasing competition led the company’s bankruptcy in 1987.

Kenosha's first motorized fire engine


Learn more about the Pirsch Company as well as dozens of other companies from Kenosha’s industrial past in Kenosha’s Lost Industries: Photographs and Corporate Materials, 1850s-1990s.

Pirsch Company aerial ladder trucks