During the early 1700's, the former colonists of New Netherland were under English rule and had been since 1664. The English renamed the colony New York and continued the fire safety practices Peter Stuyvesant had begun. This included the use of Fire Wardens in the colony. As towns became cities with more people and industry, the chance of a fire breaking out and spreading increased. The colonists needed new equipment to better fight fires. Manufacturers in England provided such equipment in the form of a new invention called the wooden fire pumper. The 1700's also ushered in the beginning of New York City's volunteer firefighting force. In 1737, the City's Common Council decided to appoint no more than forty two "strong, able, discreet, honest and sober men" who would hold the title of the Firemen of the City of New York. When the bell rang at City Hall, they were expected to leave their jobs or homes to combat fires. Although they were volunteers like the rest of the citizens who showed up to help combat fires, these men trained and drilled together and were in charge of the firefighting equipment. Similar firefighting forces were formed all over New York State. After the Revolutionary War, many fire companies changed their company names to reflect the patriotic spirit of the time. You would be hard pressed to find a community during this time without a company named Independence, Union, Washington or Eagle. Many firemen who sided with the British during the war found their services were no longer needed in New York's fire companies.
Innovation of the Era!