Fire Engineering—“Our Paper”
From the Publishers Desk
With Fire Engineering’s Centennial Year in mind, we spent a bit of time browsing through our 100 years of bound volumes—and fascinating reading it was. When the first issue teas published (as the weekly National Fireman’s Journal) on Saturday, November 17, 1877, Rutherford B. Hayes was President of the United States. Reconstruction (from the Civil War) had been accomplished and the country was booming. So was the fire service, which had recently entered the era of the steam fire engine and cotton rubber-lined hose manned by an increasing number of paid fire fighters.
The first editors (and publishers) of what eventually became Fire Engineering were P. Y. Everett and Clifford Thomson. And in the first issue, in an editorial titled “Our Paper,” they set forth the reasons why the National Fireman’s Journal was established and the policies it would pursue—reasons and policies that are as valid today as they were then, and which Fire Engineering will abide by for as long as it lasts:
It is with considerable diffidence that the editors of the Fireman’s Journal enter upon the undertaking of providing for the firemen of this country a weekly journal devoted to their interests exclusively. But we have been urged to embark in the enterprise by many veterans in the fire service, who, feeling the need of such a paper, and knowing that we have had much experience in fire matters and in writing thereon, have promised us their countenance, sympathy and support. In these days, when it is the habit to proclaim all newspapers as “organs” of this or that political party or special business interest, we presume the Journal will be called the fireman’s “organ.” If by that is meant that it will watch over the interests of the Firemen in all sections of the country, and endeavor to keep them all informed of whatever occurs that is likely to be of interest or advantage to them, then we shall cheerfully consent to be termed an “organ.” But if it shall be intended to convey the idea that the journal is the tool of any clique or ring, for the promulgation of any particular ideas, or for the advancement of the special aims of any person or set of persons, then we most indignantly repudiate the term, for the Journal will never be an “organ” in any such objectionable sense.
We commence the publication of the Journal because we believe such a paper is needed, and that, with due diligence on our part, it can be made profitable to ourselves, as well as to the firemen of the country, to whom we hope to be of some service. While striving to furnish entertaining matter for their perusal and gathering the news and gossip of the different departments into one common receptacle, that all may read of what their neighbors are doing, we shall also discuss, from an independent standpoint, the many weighty topics which are presented for the consideration of firemen from time to time. Recognizing that the duties which they are called upon to discharge are among the gravest and most important that fall to the lot of any citizen, calling for the exercise of a high degree of intelligence, courage, skill, fortitude, perseverance and endurance, only to be found among the highest types of manhood, it shall be our aim to cheer them on in their noble work; to excite them to honorable rivalry; to impress upon them the bright examples of so many noble ones who have traveled the same path before them, and, to the extent of our ability, instruct them as to the best means of doing their work and bearing their burdens.
Another important part of our mission, as we regard it, is that of addressing the general public in the interest of firemen, and endeavoring to excite a better and more complete recognition of their services. We shall also address those in authority, by whose action the firemen are provided with the ways and means for maintaining their organizations and performing the duties assigned to them. In these respects, with the cooperation and support of the firemen themselves, we hope to accomplish some good in our way. With this foreshadowing of the course to be pursued by the Journal, we launch our enterprise, asking for it that forbearance which is, by courtesy, accorded to a “first appearance.”