National Fireman’s Journal: The First Year

Let’s go back that first year and review the fire service through pages of the National Fireman’s Journal in 1878. What were the concerns among firefighters back then? Below is just a small sample of the unknown treasures you can find. Check out the Fire Engineering Volume 1 index, covering from November 17, 1877 to May 11, 1878, HERE to see what the magazine contained back then. However, since an index does not exist for the May 18 through the December 28, 1878 issues, you’ll just have to browse to find out what’s in there. Happy hunting!


Check out these National Fireman’s Journal covers.

How did the Chicago Firemen’s Monument originate? See the front page of the July 20, 1878 issue above and read all about it in “The Chicago Fireman’s Monument” HERE.

See this June 8, 1878 cover HERE the accompanying story, “The London (Eng.) Life-Saving Service” HERE.

How did they fight fires in Turkey back then? It’s on the November 30, 1878 cover HERE and the story, “Turkish Firemen”, is HERE.


Improving response times meant something else back in the day. The March 9, 1878 “City and Vicinity” column HERE and the April 6 column under “More Quick Work” HERE and the April 20 column under “How It Is Done” HERE “”describe how New York City’s Engine 14 achieved its reputation for its speed in “hitching up.”


The lack of standard couplings was a vexing problem, and the consequences of incompatible hose frustrating and disastrous. From the December 28, 1878 issue, see “The Couplings Question” HERE. This proved disastrous in the Baltimore Fire of 1904 HERE


Read HERE about “The Oldest Fire Company” In the United States, in the July 20, 1878 issue.


Check out this June 8, 1878, profile of Eli Bates, pictured HERE, New York’s chief of department, in the “City and Vicinity” column HERE


Boss Tweed (William Tweed), the crooked 19th century New York City politician, was also a fireman. Read a couple of fellow firefighters’ recollections of the then-recently deceased colleague, and of the intense competition among fire companies. It’s in the April 20, 1878, “City and Vicinity” column under ” ‘Boss’ Tweed” HERE.


You can’t fool “A Sharp Committeeman”; find out why HERE.



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