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
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.
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.
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: