Leadership

The First Fire Alarm System

Issue 26 and Volume 62.

The First Fire Alarm System Prior to 1852, Boston fire alarms were given by the old method of ringing church and other bells. The ringing of many bells for a fire was confusing and misleading. The old engine companies frequently exhausted their strength and enthusiasm as well in running all over the town to locate the fire, and volunteers from the lookers-on often had to man the brakes. It was on this emergency, that Dr. William F. Channing, a physician of Boston, who had made study of electricity, as the subject was revealed in those days, in June, 1843, called the attention of the city government to the possibility of utilizing the comparatively recent discovery of the Morsetelegraph for the purpose of establishing a system of fire alarm signals. At a banquet given in the Baldwin hotel some years ago to delegates to the association of Western Fire Chiefs, by…

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