by Rebecca Kurtz
In 1733, Benjamin Franklin, upon observing that fires in Philadelphia were extinguished primarily by groups of well-meaning citizens, suggested that a “Club or Society of active Men belonging to each Fire Engine; whose Business is to attend all Fires with it whenever they happen " should be formed.
When the fire was extinguished, the buckets would be collected, distinguished by the names painted on them, and returned to their owners. If a household’s fire
|Citizens working together to extinguish a fire with buckets|
The fire buckets that are currently on display at Schuyler Mansion are reproductions. Oftentimes, when visitors see the fire buckets on tours, they ask whether they would have sometimes contained sand as well as water. The answer is yes, they would have. Not only would the Schuyler family have utilized their fire buckets in order to contribute to the community effort to extinguish fires, but they also would have used them to put out fires in their own fireplaces. It would often be easier to store sand in the buckets, which we kept nearby fireplaces, because, unlike water, sand did not evaporate.
Come see the fire buckets today at Schuyler Mansion! Our final day of the season, October 31st, is just over a week away!