I feel a strong bond with the firemen of the late nineteenth century. The organization, practices, and customs of contemporary firefighting derive from that era. The activities on a twenty-first century fireground would not overly surprise a nineteenth century fireman somehow transported into the modern era.
American cities and towns suffered great fires from the colonial era into the early twentieth century. In that time fire was never conquered, only controlled. The level of control achieved meant that the scope of fires went from whole cities, to blocks, to neighboring buildings, to single buildings, to floors, to a single floor, to room clusters, and now to mostly just a room and its contents. Despite fewer fires today, the courage, devotion, and vigilance of firefighters remains strong.
Late nineteenth century America was literally a crucible of fire from which the modern fire service evolved. My goal is to explore the historical development of fire services and their role in society through writing, photography, and illustration.
The Practical Fireman's Notebook surveys urban fire history, firefighting, and the impact of fire and disaster on society. All material is presented for educational purposes and copyright is retained as applicable. To learn more about Crucible of Fire visit my website and follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Crucible of Fire is available from major book-sellers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell's in print and digital editions.