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Tilly and the Fire Engines

Mischievous sisters Tilly and Sally borrow a fire engine and take it for a joy ride in this spirited film comedy.

Comedy 1911 2 mins Silent


Disobedient, mischievous and anarchic, the Tilly sisters lit up a popular series of film comedies in the early 1910s. In this episode, Tilly and Sally purloin a horse-drawn fire engine and take it for a joy ride. Fixing the hose to a hydrant they proceed to drench their pursuers before awarding themselves medals for bravery. The film is sadly incomplete - having lost about half its footage - but it does retain the 'emblematic shot' at the end. This was a comedy convention in the 1900s and 1901s adopted from the music hall: the film closes with a close up of the performers, as if it were their curtain call.

The Tilly films were an occasional series of comedies starring Tilly and Sally as a pair of independent-spirited girls who cause havoc in pursuit of fun. The Hepworth Manufacturing Company released nearly 20 Tilly comedies between 1910 and 1915.