Their engine is pulled by horses, and the long coats these smoke eaters are wearing look awfully bulky. But that’s how New York’s firefighters did it in 1905, when this postcard image was made.
Amazingly, the city’s fire department had only been professionalized since 1865. Prior to that, various volunteer engine and ladder companies put out New York’s fires, sometimes competing with one another to do so.
Find out more about the rough and tumble early days of the FDNY, when the volunteer companies also served as social and political clubs, in The Gilded Age in New York, 1870-1910.