#TBT From the NFPA Archives: antique wood water pipes

Blog Post created by jrodowicz Employee on Oct 18, 2018

The NFPA Research Library & Archives maintains a large collection of gifts and historic fire artifacts that the organization has received over the years. For example, here's an antique wood water pipe we've acquired:


Wooden water pipes (similar to the one seen here) were used in the first U.S. waterworks system in our beloved city of Boston starting in 1652. Due to the many fires in typical wooden structures and chimney fires, this installation was imperative to saving lives. Firefighters drilled holes in the main pipelines, sunk smaller wood pipes into them, and used fire pumpers to extract the water. A small piece of wood known as a “fireplug” was then inserted to keep the water stored.

For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please feel free to reach out to the NFPA Research Library & Archives. NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic. Library staff are available to answer research questions from members and the general public.