The International Association of Fire Engineers

The International Association of Fire Engineers

Its Organization and Record Since Its Formation in 1873— The Membership and Cities Where Conventions Have Been Held —List of Presidents—Some Important Events in the Association’s History

T. A. Clancy, President.A. A. Rozetta, 1st Vice-President.James McFall, Secretary.

The assembling of the International Association of Fire Engineers for its forty-sixth convention in Chicago next week will mark a new situation in the organization’s history. For the first time since its formation the annual meeting was omitted last year, hence, it is practically two years since a convention has been held, that of Providence in August, 1916. Much important business is promised for the consideration of the members of this organization which has made so excellent a record since its formation in 1873, in Baltimore, bringing out the best that exists today in every branch of the fire service and the beneficial results of its work have been substantial and apparent. It has been a course of education in fire extinguishment, fire equipment and fire protection and prevention and one that has raised the standard of efficiency in the direction and control fire year by year to the present time with its advanced and improved methods. The association has only met once before in Chicago. That was more than thirty years ago, 1884, so that there is much that is new to interest the chiefs. At the 1884 convention, Fire Marshal D. J. Swenie, of Chicago, was elected president. There were about 200 delegates and visitors present and the business sessions of the convention were held in the Grand Pacific Hotel. The chiefs were welcomed to the city by the controller, Mr. Gurney.

Great changes have taken place in the fire service of the country since the enthusiastic founders of the association assembled in Baltimore in 1873 and effected its organization and these changes have all tended to the elevation of the members, and the betterment of fire protection methods and apparatus. Looking back over the two-score years, it is not likely that the fifty men who organized the association, as the National Association of Fire Chiefs, could then foresee the importance it was destined to attain, with its present large membership. But their work was well done and the heritage they handed down to their successors was a great one. A name that stands out prominently in what was accomplished at the organiza tion meeting in Baltimore is that of Chief John S. Damrell, who was elected of president. Chief Damrell was an able organizer as well as an effective speaker and to his perseverance and ability may be credited the successful launching of the association. Started with but a few members it reached to more than a hundred in a few years. While it grew apace it felt the effect in lack of larger membership of the fact that in volunteer and part-paid departments chiefs were changed so frequently, sometimes once a year, that they had not the time to join such an association before they were replaced. This proved a serious drawback to building up a large membership and was the association’s principal obstacle it has had to contend with in its long and successful career. It was long ago foreseen that as the volunteer system of appointing chiefs would die out and permanent men be selected for the positions the roll of the association would increase in proportion and this expectation has been realized.

One of the features in which the conduct of the association has been changed is the method of selecting the president. For some time it was the practice to elect as president the chief of the city in which the convention was held so that the selection of a city foretold the election of the next presiding officer. This custom was abandoned some years ago to give place to that of generally promoting the occupant of the first vicepresident’s posffion without, however, any rule governing this action.

Some years ago the future of the Association was outlined as follows: ‘The International Association of Fire Engineers must eventually become more important than it is at present. It cannot remain a mere club composed of certain chiefs, who year after year attend the conventions and ever remain the faithful nucleus. To attain its proper field of usefulness, it must branch out and take under its loving wing all the men at the head of fire departments, small and large, in America.” Since then the association has grown and the ambitions set forth then have been realized to an extent that the association is not only larger and stronger than ever but is of positive value to its members and the cities they represent, as the annual meetings have not only been of substantial value but have developed into the character of an annual college for the study and acquirement of the latest knowledge in respect to fire protection and fire prevention. In this connection the displays that have been made by manufacturers of the latest equipment and devices have been of real benefit to the chiefs, enabling them to keep posted on the modern developments.

Officers of the Association.

Chief William B. Cody, Atlanta, Ga., Chairman of Exhibit Committee.

The present officers of the association have held over since 1916, no meeting having been held last year. The officers are: President, Thomas A. Clancy, Milwaukee, Wis.; first vicepresident, A. A. Rozetta, Nashville, Tenn.; second vice-president, John KenIon, New York; secretary, James McFall, Washington, D. C. Chief George Knofflock, of Mansfield, O., the treasurer, died since the last convention. The Board of Directors consists of: William H. Bywater, Salt Lake, Utah; J. J. Conway, Cincinnati, O.; Phil Wright, San Antonio, Tex. The chairman of the Exhibit Committee is W. B. Cody, of Atlanta, Ga. State vice-presidents include; Alabama, J. I. Reeder; Arizona, W. J. Nemeck; Arkansas, Charles S. Hafer; Alberta, James Smart; California, M. D. Murphy; Colorado, J. S. Hynes; Connecticut, Daniel S. Johnson; District of Columbia, F. J. Wagner; Delaware, Patrick J. Golden; Honda, Benj. F. Driscoll; George, W. B. Cody; Illinois, Frank E. Thomas; Indiana, Irvin C. Bauman; Iowa, Frank Hitchcock; Kansas, Jos. Hanlon; Kentucky, W. A. Jesse; Louisiana, Louis Pujol; Maine, P. H. Kelley; Maryland, Aug. Emrich; Massachusetts, W. C. Sheperd; Michigan, John Lacy; Minnesota, Jos. Randell; Mississippi, James Cummings; Manitoba, J. E. Buchanan; Nebraska, Robert Lewis; New Hampshire, W. C. Greene; North Carolina, J. H. Wentz; North Dakota, J. W. Sutherland; New Mexico, Jacob KJein; New Foundland, John Sullivan; New York, C. E. Forbush; New Jersey, J. W. Bennett; Ohio, R. O. Mesnar; Oregon, B. F. Dowell; Oklahoma, R. C. Alder; Ontario, J. Fowler; Pennsylvania, Theo. W. Alleman; Quebec, Emile Berthiaume; Rhode Island, A. J. Cote; South Carolina, W. J. May; South Dakota, W. J. Sloane; Saskatchewan, E. M. Ross; Texas, John Rowsey; Utah, G. A. Graves; Vermont, F. J. Guerin; Virginia, W. L. Sandidge; Washington, F. L. Stetson; West Virginia, T. B. Davis; Wisconsin, G. P. McGillan; Wyoming, Ed. P. Taylor.

Chief John Kenlon, 2d Vice-President.

Convention Cities and Presidents.

A list follows of the cities in which conventions have been held since the organization of the association, together with the names of the presidents at those meetings:

The International Association of Fire Engineers


The International Association of Fire Engineers

In the special addition of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING, issued for the fortyfourth annual convention of The International Association of Fire Engineers, held in Providence in 1916, this journal said: The International Association of Fire Engineers has made a great record during the long years it has been in existence, by bringing out the best that exists to-day in every feature of the fire service and the naturally beneficial results of its work. It has proved a continuous educational course in fire extinguishment, fire equipment and fire protection and prevention which has raised the standard of efficiency in the direction and control of fire every year until the present time, when those who remember old methods, are compelled to acknowledge the great improvements that have been made during these long years in every direction. The fifty men who organized the Association forty-four years ago did not realize at that time how important their work was to prove to those now following in their footsteps, yet so well was it performed that today it has grown to be one of the most powerful and useful institutions of the many that exist in the municipalities of the country. Some of the members at present in the ranks will long remember these pioneers and recognize what they accomplished for the Association under difficult circumstances. Among those who were most prominent in the upbuild of the Association might be mentioned the names of Damrell, Green, Cronin, Swenie, Bates, Battle, Foley, Hale, Johnson, and others who made records of which the newer members may well be proud. To-day there are many able men on the roll who show as much interest in promoting its welfare as their predecessors; in fact, there are so many that its progress and utility are well established for the future. The membership of the Association is one of the difficult problems with which the officers have to deal, as it fluctuates according to the location in which the convention is held. For instance, when the annual meetings are held in sparsely populated places the attendance drops very perceptibly and when held in large, populous cities the reverse is the case, therefore, it ought to be the object of the members to study out this condition and assist the Association by voting for the place most likely to attract the largest number. The Association now has over five hundred active members, a goodly number, which might be doubled with little exertion if they would try and interest their neighbors who are not on the list to join. One new member secured by each of the five hundred would jump the roll to over a thousand, and as this accomplishment is so easy it is well worth the effort. During the year, the President, Chief Harry L. Marston, passed away, a sad event that takes from the Association one of its most highly respected and influential members. His mantle has fallen on Chief Thomas A. Clancy, of Milwaukee, now first vice-president, who will, without doubt, make a most popular and able officer.

International Association of Fire Engineers.

The International Association of Fire Engineers had its origin in Baltimore, Md., as the National Association of Fire Chiefs. The title of the organization was changed to the present form at the meeting held in Montreal, Canada, in 1894. Most of those who took part in the initial meeting iu Baltimore have passed away, but the organization they then established is now strong and flouristnng. Chiet John b. Damrell was prominent in launching the association and was its first president. His ability as an organizer was of great value and to his ability and perseverance much of its success was due. The convention of 1915 was the second one held in Cincinnati, the first having been in 1882, in Which year Joseph Bunker was elected president. Three times the convention has been held in New York City; first in 1875, second in 1902 and third in 1915. The Association met in the city of Washington on two occasions, first in 1879, and then in 1907. Other cities in which the convention has been held twice are: St. Louis, 1874 and 1898; Milwaukee, in 1893 anu 1911; New Orleans, 1883 and 1914. The furthest west that the convention has been held is Denver, Col., in 1912. Since its inception, in 1873, thirtynine men have occupied the presidency. Chief Miles S. Humphreys, of Pittsburgn, served two terms, 1900 and 1901, and Chief W. R. Joiner, who was president lor three terms, in 1887 and in 1903 and 1904. Eleven conventions have been held in the South. The East and the West have each had thirteen and the rest scattered in more distant places, one convention having been held in Montreal, Canada, in 1894. The convention at New Orleans had a large display of motor fire apparatus, a feature of great value to chief engineers from cities where the purchase of motor apparatus was under consideration, Members of the Association were placed in touch with the latest advances made in fire fighting appliances and equipment, enabling chiefs to go home, well equipped from the personal inspection, to offer advice to the best advantage. These annual conventions are notable for the large number of papers read and topics discusssd that are of great interest and practical value to the Association. Herewith is a list of the places where the conventions have been held and the names of the presidents. The next convention will be in Jacksonville, Fla., and as there was a skip this year it is expected a large attendance will be present.

The Forty-third Annual Convention.

The forty-third annual convention of the International Association of Fire Engineers, which will be held this year in Cincinnati, will soon be here. These annual meetings may well be termed yearly post-graduate courses in fire protection and extinguishment. The vocation of a chief engineer in charge of a fire department is one which requires the incumbent to keep in close touch with the last improvements and conditions of fire fighting, in order to attain the highest efficiency. In these days of rapid advance along so many lines of human activity, the conditions which confront fire departments are constantly changing in many respects, so that the Fire Engineers’ Convention affords the one opportunity for an exchange of information and instruction as to the best methods relating to fire protection. For this reason he has to depend on the practical school of experience in which he works and he can only supplant this by attending the sessions of the conventions every year. It has been the province of this journal, since its inception, thirty-eight years ago, to try and foster the interests of the chief engineer, especially along the line of efficiency, and at the same time to meet any unjust treatment through discrimination or politics aimed against the administration of the department of which he has shown himself to be the faithful head.

Convention Cities and Presidents.

Following is a list of cities where the conventions have been held since the organization of the Association and the names of the presidents elected at those meetings:

National Association of Fire Engineers.

From FIRE AND WATER, August 16, 1890

The convention of the National Association of Fire Engineers, to be held at Detroit, is expected to prove in its results one of the most important ever held by the Association. For seventeen years the Association has pursued the even tenor of its way, accomplishing meanwhile a vast deal of good in the education of its members and the general public on all subjects relating to fire prevention and extinguishment. As FIRE AND WATER has, however, before now, pointed out, despite the good resuts of its labors, the Association has not grown in membership as it should have done, and it is hoped and expected that a policy will be determined upon at this year’s convention which may remedy this defect in its management