From the Publisher’s Desk
A Look at Fire Engineering Volume 1, Number 1
We have been on a nostalgia kick lately— fire nostalgia that is—and for a good reason. In just two years from now Fire Engineering will be celebrating its 100th anniversary and there will be a hot time in the old town that year as far as we’re concerned.
Our nostalgia, of course, took us back to Volume 1, Number 1 of Fire Engineering (then called the National Fireman’s Journal). The opening column on the first page of this issue carried a 36-line poem called “The Fire Last Night,” which pretty much told in its opening lines what the fire service and the new magazine were all about:
The alarm flashed over the wire:
The quick horses sprang
To their places and—clang!
The steamers rolled off to the fire.
The poem sounds corny now, but it must have made a hit with the new readers because the first column of the front page of succeeding issues also started with spirited poetry like “The fight is o’er, the desperate battle done…”
The Fireman’s Journal, incidentally, was a weekly, published every Saturday at five cents per copy. “Random Sparks” was the title of an unsigned column published in the early issues of the National Fireman’s Journal. It carried brief notices of fires, personalities, news, apparatus deliveries and what have you. Typical of the weekly entries were:
“The Albany boys are packing their hydrants with sawdust.” (No explanation.)
“A couple of firemen in Kingston, N.Y., walked around their engine house for nine hours for a bet of a glass of lager.”
“The temperance fever has reached Newburgh, N.Y. Nearly forty members of the fire department signed the pledge last week under the preaching of J. T. Doutney, the reformer.”
There were other notable entries in the first issue of what was to become Fire Engineering, but not so strangely that first issue bears a lot of resemblance to the one you have in your hand.