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Tools of the Time: The Role of Equipment in the History of Firefighting

Fire is a dangerous destructive force that causes scorching heat as well as producing smoke and noxious gases. As long as fire has existed, so has its ability to destroy...

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Engines Part 3: Motorized Engines
By the 1900s, gasoline engine technology had been invented and its use was spreading rapidly. While firefighters initially saw gasoline motors as unreliable, the cities they were protecting had...
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Alarm Gongs

As the Gamewell alarm system progressed, a second part of the telegraphic circuit became necessary: the firehouse gong. In some cases, alarm boxes were originally wired directly...

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Fire Alarm Boxes
Before the invention of the alarm box, the threat of fire was announced either by the verbal warning of “Fire, fire, fire!” or, later, by watchmen stationed in bell towers. This system...
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Fire Helmets
As firefighters hurry to respond to an alarm, they must don protective gear to prevent injury from the perilous conditions of a fire. The fire helmet is an important part of this equipment as...
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Bunker Gear
A typical house fire burns at 600°F and some fires can reach temperatures as high as 1200°F. Early firefighters were not equipped to handle this kind of heat and buildings often burned to...
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Self Contained Breathing Apparatus
Even without the scorching heat and flames, a fire can still be deadly due to the smoke and toxic fumes it produces. Early firefighters had no protection against smoke inhalation although there...
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Engines Part 1: The Pumper
One of the oldest problems in firefighting is the question of how to supply water to the fire. While early firefighters used bucket brigades, they had to have access to a large source of...
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Engines Part 2: The Steamer
The 19th century brought the development of steam power, and with it, the steam powered fire pumper, or steamer. The first steamer was developed in London in 1829 but did not become...
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Ladder Trucks
Another essential apparatus for the fire department is the ladder truck, often used by hook and ladder companies. While the pumper is responsible for directly attacking the fire with water...
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Find Us
Denver Firefighters Museum/
1326 Tremont Place
Denver, Colorado 80204
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Mon - Sat 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Closed Sundays & Major Holidays
Email: info@denverfirefightersmuseum.org
Phone: 303.892.1436
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