|Front of the New Town Hall in Amsterdam, 1667, Jan van der Heyden,|
showing off his skills with perspective.
|View Down a Dutch Canal, 1665, Jan van der Heyden|
|Jan van der Heyden|
|A portable, two-man, fire hose pump invented by Jan and Nicolaes van der Heyden, 1672.|
|An illustration from the van der Weyden|
"how to" book on firefighting depicting
the proper use of their equipment.
Oh, did I mention, Jan van der Heyden invented (or greatly improved) the fire hose, also the portable, man-powered pump needed to fill them, while organizing the first trained, volunteer fire brigades needed to make the most of his inventions? Between 1672 and 1685, Jan and his brother, Nicolaes (a hydraulic engineer), literally "wrote the book" (and also illustrated it) on modern day firefighting. Until then, firefighting (and there was a lot of it being done during this age of candle-light) consisted of placing a ladder against the side of a burning building, which some brave (but foolhardy) soul climbed half-way up, then proceeded in trying to douse the flames by dumping leather buckets of water on them. The water (this being Amsterdam) was no problem. Getting it to the fire was. It came, passed along via a human chain from the nearest canal. Hoses, such as they were at the time, were cumbersome, made of leather, and leaky. The van der Heyden brothers pioneered (folding) cotton hoses with rubber or water-resistant linings. They also wrote some of the first books on fire prevention while also going to great lengths to study the causes of individual fires, thus learning from them.
|Burning of the Old Amsterdam Town Hall, Jan van der Heyden. |
The fire was in 1652, the print dates from around 1690.
|Old Firefighting in a New House, 1690,|
Jan van der Heyden