A Look Back! The History of the Firefighter Challenge Coin

Jesse Daugherty - Aug 28, 2019
A Look Back! The History of the Firefighter Challenge Coin

Custom challenge coins are a unique means of honoring law enforcement officers and other public servants. This includes the brave firefighters who continually risk their lives for the safety of others.

However, you might be surprised at the long, distinguished, and interesting history of firefighting and the firefighter challenge coin.

Firefighting began with the Emperor Augustus of Rome, around the first century A.D. Before that there were reports of actual water pumps used to extinguish fires, specifically in ancient Egypt. However, it was in the Roman Empire that firefighting became an organized institution. Firefighting remained rudimentary in scope, though, for a long time.

However, in the 17th century, great fires in the cities of Paris and London made all Western governments re-examine the capacity of firefighters. Then in 1673, Dutch inventor Jan Van der Heyden developed the first fire hose. In the United States around the same time, the first fire company went into service in Boston. A year later, Benjamin Franklin established the Union Fire Company in Philadelphia.

It should be noted that George Washington was a volunteer firefighter in Alexandria, Virginia. He even bought a new fire engine and gave it to the town, which adds another chapter in the kind and heroic narrative of those who fight fires.

However, it wasn't until the Civil War when fire departments became universal across the country. They were then fully funded by local, state, and federal governments. The first female firefighter was Molly Williams in 1818, in New York City.

That's just the short end of the long hose of the proud history of firefighting. However, it's certainly enough to consider when realizing the importance of firefighters. Especially when honored by a custom firefighter challenge coin.