Who You Gonna Call? The Fire Boxes of Carleton Place

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firebox

Fire Alarm Boxes–where are they now? In the old days, with wooden houses built close together, and lit by whale oil or gas jets, the threat of fire was constant and very great. Thus, the fire department as well as the police department had boxes. Police boxes were colored blue, and fire alarm boxes colored red and both operated similarly, via telegraphy, before the public phone system was thought sufficiently reliable to entrust with life-and-death matters. A citizen broke the glass cover and pulled a little hook, which telegraphed the box location to the authorities.

The installation apparently began in in the 1880s. At the time, few people had telephones, and many fires were reported by children or neighbors that ran to the fire station to report a fire. The system was seen as a great step forward in bringing safety and security to all citizens. The alarm transmitter consisted of copper wire mounted in a glass case with a nickel frame, which received calls from public alarm boxes and relayed them via telegraph lines to the nearest fire station. This informed the station manager exactly which alarm box had been rung — but did not provide any information on the nature of the emergency.

1976

1976

Photo taken from the Carleton Place Directory 1930’s- courtesy of the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage

Museum

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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