SIGNATURE TOOLS. Obviously, when you’re thinking and talking about fires and firefighting, you’re likely to cover a wide swath of topics before you trickle down to hand tools. That’s fair. To paraphrase a common (but unfortunate) declaration, “fire hand tools don’t put out fires– people do.” But, if the discussion does get around to tools, it’s interesting to note how certain tools have come to be emblematic of a specific high visibility fire department– and vise versa. It’s hard to think about LAFD roof operations, for example, without imagining a set of their signature “Rubbish” hooks and Collins Seagrave-inspired Fire Axe Inc. pick head axes (and Stihl saws, of course).
For years, Chicago has been well-known for teaming up its unique hooks and unusually deep-bladed pickhead axes (top left photo, above (a more typical example is seen in the center photo by popular photographer Tim Olk). And, closing your eyes, it’s hard to form an image of Boston operations without including a haystack of ground ladders and a collection of “Rakes” (bottom photo, above). You wouldn’t be alone if you did; despite its simple quirkiness their hook (rake?) has developed a strong, enthusiastic following throughout the U.S. (right photo, above). Finally, few tools are more popular or more strongly associated with their home department than the “New York Roof Hook,” except, perhaps, the hallowed Halligan bar, itself.
MALVENWORKS– WE HAVE NEVADA. On the other hand, there are literally thousands of fire service tools that are sprinkled throughout the fire service, but without any place, in particular, to call “home.” Some designs may still be waiting for their first sale. Bummer. As illustrated by a set of older generation of tools (in the photo below), MalvenWorks can at least lay claim to Nevada as a longtime, heavy user and patron of our tools.
DID I MENTION THAT’S NEVADA, IOWA? Yeah, Nevada, Iowa– our local fire department. So when you think of Malven hooks and entry bars, think of Nevada (and selected others– maybe yours?). We appreciate every one of you.