One of my things in life is to never forget where I came from. For a firefighter, this couldn’t be more important. Lots of new firefighters are missing the history for the fire service and a lack passion for learning how we got here. History will repeat itself if we don’t learn from our mistakes and despite progress in the fire service being somewhat slow, our history is valuable. And so here is my contribution starting with apparatus from the early 1800s.

In the early 1800’s fire engines were imported to the colonies  in large numbers before George Hunneman, hailing from Boston and Paul Revere’s former assistant, became the premiere builder of “hand tub” style  fire apparatus. With only two cylinders  men were able to pump a lever to produce a water stream shooting over 100 feet. The hand tubs were made mainly of wood held together with iron straps and equipped with brass nozzles.

How many of you “firefighters” know the answers to some of these:

  • Why is the center of our badge colored red?
  • Why do we even wear badges?
  • What is ‘Black Sunday’?
  • Who are Molly Williams and Brenda Berkman?
  • What is the history of the haligan?

We could go on forever and we should. Every chance we have to pass along this knowledge to the next group of new firefighters is an opportunity to ensure our history is not lost. Give me some more of your mandatory firefighter history fun facts and stay safe.

Shameless self-promotion alert:
If you go to my online shop, I’m selling postcards and posters featuring this firetruck as part of a series.