This appears to be one of the first piston pumps tested by American rocket pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard in 1923 for his first experiments with liquid propellant rocket motors, but it was only used in ground tests. Goddard began his rocket experiments in 1915 with solid propellants, then switched to liquid propellants in 1921. His preferred propellants were liquid oxygen and gasoline, although he used kerosene to test his first pumps.
On 16 March 1926, Goddard launched the world's first liquid fuel rocket. It is therefore possible that he used liquid oxygen and kerosene with this piston pump. He continued to experiment with liquid fuel rockets until his death in 1945. This object was donated to the Smithsonian by Mrs. R.H. Goddard in 1959.
Gift of Mrs. Robert H. Goddard