1. #1
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    Default History of Turnout Gear

    I am looking for some information on the history of turnout/ bunker gear. Where it originated? Early styles? Types of material first used?

    Any help is greatly appriciated!

    Whitey
    Situation dictates proceedure!

    Margate Fire Rescue Extrication Team
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    Dont quote me because I am not sure...

    But IIRC Globe invented what we consider mondern turnout gear.

    I days long past I think FFs made due with heavy cloathing.

    As far as way way back, IE Rome and Samurai FFs, I dont know what they used.

    Drager made some of the first SCBAs.

    Leather helmets first came about I would guess early 1800s. Many were one of a kind made by leather smiths I would imagine.

    Plastic and fiberglass apeared in the 50s IIRC.

    I am sure there is a much better source then my soft brain...
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    http://www.hallofflame.org/


    Whitney, Here is the link to the Hall of Flame in Phoenix. They might be able to help or at least direct you in the right direction.

    Hope it helps somewhat! My brain is not quite fully caffeinated yet so the thinking processes are not fully functional yet.

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    Default GREAT THREAD!

    Interesting stuff. Thanks for the info!!!

    -Bou

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    Thank you all for your help!!!


    Whitey
    Situation dictates proceedure!

    Margate Fire Rescue Extrication Team
    www.fdwhitey.com

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    Globe Manufacturing Company has a long and interesting history. The company was founded in 1887 by James D. Cleaver Jr., in Lynn, Massachusetts. Mr. Cleaver was a bookkeeper who originally manufactured leather clothes. After operating the company for two years, Cleaver sold the business to an employee, John D. Wentworth, a shoemaker, turned cloth cutter (great great uncle to the present owners). No one knows exactly when the company came to be known as Globe, but in 1891, an advertisement carried in the Lynn newspaper referred to Globe products, calling them "the most satisfactory coats for all classes of mechanics, or for anyone wishing a garment as protection clothing."

    During this time, the company developed and patented a special way of sewing pockets so that they resisted ripping ten times better than metal riveted ones. Also developed and registered as a trademark was the Globe Lock Seam, one of the first in a long line of major developments made by the company. Globe first advertised Fireman's clothing at the end of the nineteenth century and stated that "Fireman's clothing was a specialty."

    Even today, Globe is known throughout the world, and is recognized as the most progressive and innovative manufacturer of turnout suits, combining technical knowledge with Yankee practicality to produce the finest products manufactured anywhere. Even the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) ground crews used Globe proximity suits for years, as they worked dangerously close to the rockets that have propelled man into space.

    In 1901, Courtland F. H. Freese, great, great-grandfather of the current owners of the company, acquired the business from Mr. Wentworth, moving it from its location in Lynn to a small room over his harness shop in Pittsfield, New Hampshire. From there, the business has grown to its present size - a 73,000 square foot building in Pittsfield.

    During World War I, the division of the company that was engaged in sportswear was making the original "Homespun" overall. In the early 1930's Globe began manufacturing snow suits, ski wear and general outerwear. During the 1950's this division was probably best known for its car coats and rain coats, but from the early 1960's on, Globe of New Hampshire produced and successfully marketed some of the finest ski wear in the world.

    In 1973, the rapid growth of the Firesuits product line coupled with an acute shortage of space and a very unstable Sportswear market, resulted in Globe's decision to phase out the Sportswear line. This difficult decision was followed by an extensive modernization program. As a result, the company has been able to make major increases in productivity and has improved its position in the firesuit industry. In 1994, the company entered into a licensing agreement with Cairns and Brothers of New Jersey, and now also sells and produces protective clothing under the trade name Cairns Protective Clothing.

    Globe's market is international. We manufacture garments that are sold and used all over the world. In order to maintain our position in these markets it is absolutely necessary to maintain the highest quality. Our employees, through their hard work and dedication, are the ones who ensure that we continue to make the best quality garments available in the market today.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

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    Thumbs up

    Good read.

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    Default Update

    Here is an update on info I have found...

    Turnout Gear

    "Always Ready"—This Currier and Ives painting illustrates the clothing of the early American fire fighter. The mid-19th century gear consisted almost entirely of wool, which was used both to ward off the heat of the flames and the cold of the winter air.

    Turnout gear, or the protective clothing worn by fire fighters, has come a long way since the last century. In that era, fire fighters wore Civil War-style uniforms that featured heavy wool trousers, a cotton or wool shirt (usually red), and a heavy wool tunic. Wool was the obvious choice, because of its ability to shield against heat and cold, and because of its mild water and flame resistance. Rubber slickers were sometimes worn over the wool uniforms. Fire fighters brought their own gloves to the job, usually standard leather workingmen's gloves. Knee-high leather boots worn in the early years eventually gave way to rubber boots, some of which could be extended to the hips like modern waders (called "three-quarter boots").

    Turnout gear took a great leap forward after World War II, when various organizations, foremost among them the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), began issuing standards. The NFPA 1971 Standard on Protective Clothing for Structural Fire Fighting, for instance, called for an outer layer of flame-resistant fabric that would not be destroyed through charring, separating, or melting when exposed to 500°F for a five-minute period; a second layer to prevent moisture from penetrating through to the wearer; and a third layer to provide thermal insulation from radiant, conducted, and convective heat. Similar standards required gloves that could withstand flame, heat, vapor, liquids, and sharp objects, and footwear resistant to puncture, flame, heat, abrasion, and electrical current.

    In the 1980s, fire fighters began wearing turnouts made of three advanced materials: an outer shell material that raised the fire resistance level to about 1,200°F before the material began to break down; a layer that allowed the fire fighter to release moisture from inside the gear; and a fire-resistant synthetic material. Ideally, the latter will last about seven seconds in a flashover situation (when all combustible materials, including walls and floors, suddenly ignite) before catching on fire, which is usually enough time for someone to bail out of room. Further, it is self-extinguishing, meaning once out of contact with a fire, it will not continue to burn. These materials have become the standard for virtually all American fire departments.

    Modern protective clothing, or turnout gear, such as the Smart Coat System above, incorporates sensors to help the fire fighter assess dangerous conditions, ranging from thermal saturation to the location of a colleague who may be injured or lost in the black smoke.

    Modern turnout gear has become so effective in insulating the fire fighter from heat that new equipment is now being introduced that has an internal alarm to alert him or her when the external temperature exceeds a set limit. These next-generation turnouts consist of six silicone-encapsulated heat sensors located at the shoulder, back, and chest of the turnout coat, just under the outer shell.

    Finally, NFPA 1982 called for Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) devices. Fire fighters trapped in smoke-filled buildings can become disoriented as they attempt to escape, sometimes leading to incapacitation from smoke inhalation. Using small motion detectors, PASS devices set off an alarm if motion is not detected after 30 seconds.




    Helmets

    An essential part of any fire fighter's gear is the helmet. Traditionally, the helmet was made of leather strengthened by the use of combs, or leather seam reinforcements. The helmet pictured above has 8 combs.

    In the last century, the leather firefighter's helmet was common. The helmet's long rear brim and curled up side brims helped prevent water from running down the firefighter's neck and into his coat. The earliest leather helmets featured four combs, which are ridges of leather marking stitched seams. Theoretically, the more combs a helmet had, the stronger it was, so later helmets came equipped with eight, 12, or 16 combs.

    At the turn of the century, aluminum helmets began to be popular. Though they were molded to look like leather helmets, they were cheaper. However, fire fighters quickly learned that these helmets had problems of their own. They not only conducted heat but electricity. As a result, a move back to leather helmets became inevitable. Strong enough to provide protection from falling objects, the leather helmet of the early 20th century shed water effectively and prevented objects from dropping down the back of the fire fighter's neck.

    Helmet design really took off after World War II. By 1979, when NFPA issued its Standard on Structural Fire Fighter's Helmets, designers were taking into consideration a mind-boggling array of factors, including impact force and acceleration; penetration, heat, and flame resistance; resistance to electrical current; effectiveness of chin strap and suspension system; flammability and resistance of ear covers; resistance of the face shield to heat and flame; and brightness and surface area of fluorescent markings.

    The modern firefighting helmet has a smaller brim but uses ear covers and a flame-resistant hood (worn underneath). Using high-tech plastics and composite materials, the helmet must be puncture-proof and resistant to heat, flame, electricity, and sudden impacts.

    Beginning in the 1970s, high-tech plastic and composite material helmets came into vogue. These featured a suspension system and energy-absorbing foam impact liners; a face shield for partial eye and face protection from heat, sparks, liquids, and flying debris; flame-resistant flaps to protect the ears and neck; and a lighweight-fabric protective hood.




    Respiratory Protection

    The first breathing devices used air pumped from a bellows through a hose to a "smoke mask" worn by the fire fighter. These devices were rarely used because of their bulky construction and unreliable performance. World War I led to the introduction of the gas mask proper. A few fire departments began to make these available to fire fighters in limited numbers, even though most did not protect well from carbon monoxide, and none worked in an oxygen-deficient atmosphere.

    In the 1920s, the U.S. Bureau of Mines commissioned the design and introduction of "rebreather" devices for mine rescue, and these were eventually adapted by the fire service. Rebreathers mixed a small stream of pure oxygen with exhaled air, which had been passed through chemicals that removed a portion of the carbon dioxide. These early rebreathers were better than their World War I predecessors but were clumsy, fragile, and difficult to control. In addition, the oxygen bottles for air supply were costly, and extensive training was necessary. As a result, they were seldom used by fire fighters.

    The World War I era saw the emergence of the first self-contained breathing apparatus, or SCBA (not to be confused with self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, or SCUBA). The devices featured metered compressed breathing air, which was sent directly into the face mask. As with the earlier rebreathers, however, there were drawbacks for fire fighters. SCBAs were expensive and uncomfortably heavy, adding to the fatigue and strain of fire prevention.
    World War II pilots used oxygen breathing systems in high-altitude flights, which led to the development of open-circuit, positive-pressure firefighting SCBAs (self-contained breathing apparatus).

    Before World War II, most SCBAs were closed-circuit rebreathers, which did not rely on the local atmosphere to supply breathing air or dissipate exhaled gases. But following the war open-circuit SCBA became the norm. The advance was based upon breathing oxygen systems used in high-altitude aircraft, where compressed oxygen was supplied by high-pressure cylinders through regulators and half facepieces to individual aircrew members, either on demand or through continuous flow.

    In 1981, the National Fire Prevention Agency issued a standard on modern SCBA systems mandating positive pressure airflow at 100 liters per minute and a minimum service life of 30 minutes.

    In the 1970s, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration required the use of positive pressure SCBA for firefighting. By maintaining a small amount of pure oxygen in a mask at all times, positive pressure above ambient prevents toxic smoke and gases from entering the face mask and being inhaled. A 1981 NFPA standard for SCBA mandated, besides positive pressure, a minimum service life of 30 minutes and 100 liters per minute airflow.
    Situation dictates proceedure!

    Margate Fire Rescue Extrication Team
    www.fdwhitey.com

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    Default thanks

    I know this wasnt my post, but i'm getting a degree in firefighting and i am doing a report on turnout gear, but couldnt really find out any history of it, this helps out alot.

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    I think the timelines is wrong for the Breathing Apparatus.


    IIRC the first Drager SCBA were used in Mines in Butte MT in 1907.

    Check out the big "WE just switched SCBAs" Thread for some SCBA history.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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    Harve, weren't you around when they invented turnuot gear?

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    Im currently trying to do a project on the history of turnout gear too, if someone can post some links, or titles of some books that would have any information it would be greatly appreciated.

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    I am a highly trained professional and can find my :: expletive deleted:: with either hand in various light conditions.

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    Default Early GLOBE TURNOUT SUIT

    I'm posting this link of an item I recently acquired, not knowing much history on this early Turnout Suit, made by Globe Of Pittsfield, NH, which may be of interest to someone. I am looking for more information on the date of this suit, which I assume dates to approx. 1920s. The Suit is a Heavy Canvas with Cotton Felt lining, Leather Findings with metal hooks, Riveted Pants. it may be of interest to some of you in this community, thanks for your help!
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