America's Bravest Firefighter Ring
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In 1736, Benjamin Franklin organized the first fire company, Union Fire Company, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Due to the fact that many structures were built out of wood, including chimneys, the early colonials had much practice in firefighting. The early fire companies, or clubs as they were first called, used the leather fire bucket lines. Firefighters forming two lines, one with water to the fire and the empty back. This was effective in keeping the fire from spreading but a grueling way to fight fires. As early as 1731, New Yorkers witnessed the very latest in firefighting technology imported from England, two pumpers with the ability to throw water through a primitive nozzle. The revolutionary war brought many firefighters to the front lines and forts to perfect their trade. At this same time, the term “Chief Engineer” came to be.
By the 1840s, the nation was well into the industrial revolution. Growth was abundant in cities and surrounding communities. Fire companies became competitive as to who would arrive and fight a fire first. First on the scene made a prestigious statement. The number of firefighters were growing, making them strong in the political arena.
During the 1850s, the technology of the fire pumpers had changed. Some of the most ornate pumpers were built. The Civil war had brought firefighting to a new level. Entire cities and communities were destroyed and devastated. The art of war outgrew the technology of firefighting.
Throughout the 1920s and 30s, the United States led the world in manufacturing and building, Ford and American La France could produce what the world wanted, the Empire State building would be the tallest building.
In the 1960s, the nation seemed to be on fire, much changed socially and economically, old and new collided. Fire trucks and safety gear got bigger and better. The world got smaller.
Today, over 270 years later, the fire service continues its fast rate of cutting edge technology. But even with the latest innovations, it still requires firefighters to put their life on the line. As it was in the beginning, the firefighter has and continues to serve our communities, our nation and preserve our way of life.