A new improved type of hose had recently been patented and was being introduced into the fire service. The earlier sewn type had proven to be unreliable even though it had been around for 150 years. The riveted leather fire hose was durable and would be the standard type for the next 60 plus years.
Depicted is Alexandria’s “Sun” Company holding a company drill to test the new fire hose and practice hose deployment. The newer volunteers were introduced to the backbreaking labor of pumping the manual engine and forming a bucket brigade to put water in the tub type pumper.
This inefficient water supply would plague the Alexandria firemen until the Alexandria Water Company started business in 1852. The city had few natural water sources except the Potomac River so the use of the new suction type pumper was delayed for more than 20 years.
The hand drawn engine would soon be joined by a hose reel capable of transporting 600 to 1000 feet of the leather fire hose. The two piece engine company had joined the fire service.