Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Firefighting History

Vintage Fire Cart

The history of organized firefighting dates back at least to Ancient Egypt, where hand operated pumps may have been employed to extinguish fires. The first Roman brigade was a group of slaves who were hired by an aedile Mareus Egnatius Rufus. Rome suffered a number of serious fires, most notably was the fire in July 19, AD 64 and eventually it destroyed two thirds of Rome.

Over the course of history it became apparent that an organized way was needed to put these fires out. However the first organized municipal fire brigade in the world was established in Edinburgh, Scotland.

On April 1, 1853, the Cincinnati, Ohio Fire Department became the first full-time paid professional fire department in the United States and the first in the world to use steam fire engines. The first horse drawn steam engine for fighting fires was invented in 1829, but not accepted in structual firefighting until 1860. Jamestown, Virginia was virtually destroyed in a fire in January, 1608.

George Washington was a volunteer firefighter in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1774, as a member of the Friendship Veterans Fire Co. he bought a new fire engine and gave it to the town, which was its very first. However the United States did not have government run fire departments until around the time of the Civil War.

The term "fire plug" dates from the time when water mains were made from hallowed out logs. The fire company would dig up the cobbles down to the main, then bore a hole into the main so the hole would fill up with water , which they could using their pumper. When they were finished they would seal the main with--you guessed it--a "fire plug". They would mark where this plug was so they could use it again.

Cast iron came to replace the wooden water mains in 1802 and when cast iron started becoming popular, fittings were placed on the mains at intervals, much like today's fire hydrants. As late as 1868, the city of Buffalo, New York was still installing wooden case hydrants, but by this time the day of the wooden case hydrant were over.

I know this is very long but if I put every detail in this post I would have to use too much space. I just wanted you to get an idea of the starting og the fire department. They have come a long way from passing the buckets of water down the line, most of the time this was to late . Well, thanks for taking the time to read it. I only wish I could of put in more details.


welcome to my world of poetry said...

Yes the fire engine has come along way from the beginning, wonderful account, I guess that's progress for you.
Excellently written,

Have a good day.

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Wo! That old machine is so different!!

Merle said...

Dear Margaret ~~ Great post on the fire fighting history. It sure has improved.
In Australia we have a large amount of volunteer fire fighters in most towns and
they do a wonderful job. Thanks for sharing the info with us. I am so glad you enjoyed the Weekly Workout - how that guy changed in just a week. Glad you liked the post. Take care my friend and have a great weekend
Love, Merle.

Judy said...

Hi Margaret, This is a wonderful post and I enjoyed it very much. I knew a great firefighter and they are great people to make this job a career and protect the public. I love the picture, too.

Becky and Gary said...

Yet another very interesting post Margaret. I love coming here to learn new things. Our son is a firefighter/EMT and I'd like him to see this post if it's OK.
Have a great week-end.

A New Beginning said...

Thanks for the informative post Margaret:)
Have a great weekend!

Babli said...

Very nice, interesting and informative post. Its really wonderful and amazing to see such a old type of machine of firefighting pumps. Very well written.

kavita said...

The picture above is very interesting...the machine looks heavy but is very innovative.It has come a long way since than.I love your blog because of the interesting topics you cover.These kind of posts are a lot of work.....thanks a lot for sharing.

Linda said...

You're a wonderful writer, always informative and interesting. Thanks for another great piece. :)

Kay said...

This was so much fun to see and read. My son was a firefighter so it had a special meaning for me.

Kay said...

Margaret, you wrote on my blog that President Obama is of Muslim faith. Did you really mean to write that?


That was a very interesting post and I love the old fire truck photo. God bless our firefighters.

Post a Comment