Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why did fire stations have spiral staircases?

In the mid 19th century, firemen began to use steam-powered fire engines but they were so heavy that required horses to be pulled to fires.

Firehouses were usually  multi-storied and the horses lived in the stable on the ground floor while the firemen were on the upper level.  Nevertheless the horses, attracted by the smell of food eaten by the firemen, sometimes climbed the stairs.

To avoid this, spiral staircases were installed because they could not be navigated by horses. Everybody happy? No because the new circular staircases also slowed down the firemen. A solution was found in 1870s, by David Kenyon, a Chicago fireman who had the idea to install a "pole" connecting the upper level(s) of the firehouse with the ground floor. And we all know, thanks to the Ghostbusters (scene below!!!), how cool it is! ;)

While it is not surprising that present-day firehouses do not have staircases anymore, because, you know, horses are no longer needed, the majority of them doesn't a pole either (safety reasons they say...)!!!

Ghostbusters - First Call Scene

If you liked this post, probably you could also be interested in these others too ;)
Why fireman use spiral staircases 
Why Did Fire Stations Have Spiral Staircases?

If you stumbled into this post while searching something like "How to draw a spiral or circular staircase well ... these videos (from can help you!

That's all folk!


Kate Dunkin said...

Great post and video Eddie! I actually didn't know that fire stations had spiral staircases so this was news to me. Thank you for sharing this with us!

eddie said...

Thanks Kate and I am glad that you appreciated my post ;)
Living is sharing too!