Innovation of the Era!

This Rattle is NOT for Babies

During the 1600's in New Netherland, Dutch Director General (Governor) Peter Stuyvesant appointed men to patrol the streets at night looking for fires. If they saw a fire, they were to use their wooden fire rattles to signal the citizens to wake up and grab their buckets to form a bucket brigade, in hopes of putting out the fire. Because of this signaling device, the fire watchmen were dubbed "the rattle watch." Although it might seem that walking around all night with a rattle looking for fires would be a kind of punishment, you must consider that there was a 9pm curfew in New Netherland. So, only those on the rattle watch were allowed to be outside after 9pm. Because of this, appointment to the rattle watch was considered an honor. Wooden rattles continued to be used as "fire alarms" well into the early 1800's.
Wooden rattles, such as this one, produced a loud clacking sound by holding the handle and twisting the top section around and around in a circular pattern.