When and why were fire hoses invented?

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sciencesolve | Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The first fire extinction that used the gut of an ox is registered in 400 B.C., but the first modern fire hose was developed by the superintendent of Dutch fire brigade, Jan Van Der Heiden, who assembled together 50 foot length of leather. The new fire hose allowed a constant stream of water and a proper direction of the stream toward the fire place.

James Sellars and Abraham Pennock brought improvements to the sewed fire hose, replacing the stitches with metal rivets. These improvements brought a higher resilience of the hose to higher pressures but the weight was considerably increased and the maneuverability was hampered. Not only the stitches were the problem in fire hoses but also the leather was an improper material for fire hoses, since, because of the dryness, the leather was often cracking. The maintenance procedures brought other problems in maneuverability of fire hoses,  since, to hamper the dryness, the fire hoses were preserved using whale oil and they became sticky, slippery and smelly.

After the discovery of vulcanized rubber, in 1839, the rubber hose reinforced with cotton ply was developed by B.F. Goodrich, in 1871.

The latest fire hoses are made out of reinforced plastic with rubber lining, they have an acceptable weight and they do not decompose if they are wet packaged.

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