Innovation of the Era!
Mid to Late 1800s

Horsing Around at the Firehouse

As fire apparatus became heavier, firemen started to use horses to pull the apparatus to fires. Some firemen felt pulling the apparatus was "a man's job" and did not like using horses. But, by the mid 1800's, the use of horses became common place in fire departments. Soon, the firemen became so attached to their new "co-workers" they took great pride in the horses' training and appearance. The horses became local celebrities and children would bring apples and sugar cubes to the firehouse for the horses.
A well-trained fire horse would leave its stall when it heard the fire alarm sound and line up in front of the apparatus. With the aid of automated harness, fire horses could be hitched and out the door in fourteen to eighteen seconds!
It was said that a horse able to handle the duties of a fire horse was a one-in-a-hundred selection. Fire departments with fire horse breeding programs often mixed Arabian horses (for stamina in relation to high temperatures) with draft horses (for strength) to create horses with the traits they wanted for fire horses.