Station: [002] Bucket and hose

The fire bucket and the hose represent the beginnings of fire fighting.

Spraying with water means extinguishing. Before water cannons and hoses were invented, buckets of water were passed from hand to hand in a human chain and finally poured into the fire - if the helpers had the chance to get close enough.

When finally all the buckets had been emptied and all had been done that could be done, often enough hardly anything had been saved.

In the Middle Ages, organized fire brigades had not yet been established. Instead, the citizens of the cities were obliged to provide leather buckets and helpers in cases of fire.

The buckets were marked with names or house numbers. When a fire broke out, everyone was summoned upon to help. Those who backed out could easily be identified and punished as their buckets were missing.

With the invention of the manual pressure sprayer far more water could be transported and directed onto the fire from a greater distance. This was also necessary as the wooden carts carrying the sprayers would have caught fire themselves if they had moved too close to the flames.

Getting closer to the centre of the fire became possible when the hose was invented around 1680. The large engraving on the wall advertises the new option of using long hoses to attack a fire right at its source, also inside buildings. Such long hoses were, however, not easy to handle, as they were riveted and screwed on heavy brass couplings and were made of leather - which soaked up water increasing their weight.

The hoses could hardly be carried over the roofs as shown in the picture, but advertising has always used the means of exaggeration...

Please continue along the red line and take a look at the different hand pressure hoses shown on your left and right.