Two teams of firemen pulling wagons to left in image.
Currier & Ives celebrated the bravery, strength and agility of fire fighters through a series of different prints. Here, a company of fire fighters runs toward a blaze, which can be seen illuminating the night sky. The print follows “The Night Alarm,” which took place at 1:22 (a.m.) as indicated on a clock in the firehouse. The scene is ten minutes later as shown on the clock on City Hall which reads 1:32. American men organized into volunteer fire fighting departments in 1731. During the 19th century, when many publishers and artists served as fire fighters, the image of the fireman as heroic became common. Ironically, Currier & Ives began creating their prints of fire fighting as volunteers were being replaced with professional fire fighters. Though professional fire departments were firmly established by 1877, Currier & Ives continued to celebrate the bravery and heroism of the volunteer fire fighters. In fact, “The Life of a Fireman” series was reprinted in the 1880s because of high public demand.