Hook and Irons

Our Lady of Angels Fire December 01 2012, 3 Comments

Today marks the 54th anniversary of Our Lady of Angels Fire that devastated so many lives and marked one of the most tragic fires in American History.  The fire occurred at Our Lady of Angels School on the west side of Chicago and killed 92 children and 3 nuns.  Here is an excerpt from a previous Chicago Tribune story about the fire:

"Max Stachura stood outside the burning building, begging his little boy, Mark, 9, to jump into his arms. Children were falling all about the father and he caught or stopped the fall of 12 of them. But little Mark was too frightened or he didn't understand his father. Mark didn't jump."

Fifty years later, Mark's mother has the day in crisp focus, and adds a missing detail.


As Mark stood at that second-floor window, fire to his back, he held a small statue in his hand and waved it proudly through the black smoke, hoping his father would notice. Mark had won the statue that day —a figure of an infant Jesus — for being first to answer a quiz question.

The fire began at the foot of a stairwell in the basement of the school about an hour before school was scheduled to let out for the day.  The fire which started in a trash barrel went unnoticed for 10-20 minutes filling the stairwell and the 2nd floor (which did not have a fire door) with smoke.  Fire department units arrived within four minutes of being called, but by then the fire had been smoldering unchecked for possibly 40 minutes. It was now fully out of control. The fire department was also hampered because they had been incorrectly directed to the rectory address around the corner on West Iowa Street and lost valuable minutes repositioning fire trucks and hose lines. Additional firefighting equipment was summoned rapidly, but by then it was already too late for most that were trapped on the second floor.  Stories from the firemen and victims from that day are truly horrific.

 

 

 

 

 

Our Lady of Angels fire brought sweeping changes in school fire safety regulations which were enacted nationwide, including mandatory sprinkler systems, fire doors, and requirements for specific building materials for the construction of new schools. Some 16,500 older school buildings in the United States were brought up to code within a year of the incident.  We've attached a short docu-film about the fire and if you're interested in reading more about the fire, its cause and the investigation afterward, you can click here.  




Where We Stand October 25 2012, 0 Comments

Today, just over a month after the launch of Hook & Irons we have been overwhelmed by the support received from the firefighting community.  We've made connections and friends in ways we would've never suspected, and received help in the most unlikely places.  

 

Most surprising though is the support we've received from non-firefighters, friends of firefighters, and people who just appreciate the fire service.  The thing about firefighters is we are a tight bunch and can be pretty exclusionary.  Once we become firefighters and join the brotherhood those around us that we love often find themselves on the outside of our war stories and inside jokes.   They get a glimpse into our lives and our passion, but they don't necessarily get the 'invite' to be a member.

What we're discovering is that Hook & Irons Co. is for everyone who loves the fire service.  It's for everyone who respects the best of who we are and what our profession represents.  And when Digital Arts magazine interviewed Tom Lane about our brand we were blown away.  It's not just the firefighters that are H&I company members, but graphic artists, history lovers and people who just dig the designs, the brand, and what we all stand for.

And that is what makes us most proud.  If you'd like to read the article in Digital Arts, you can click here.




Pay It Forward September 20 2012, 0 Comments

Hook and Irons Co. was born with one philosophy, pay it forward. Our idea was simple; we would help the fire service reconnect with its history using the tenets of early American craftsmanship to build our apparel line. Through meaningful, simple designs, we are creating shirts that are more than shirts, they are historical threads and conversation pieces.  Whether you are active, retired, volunteer or just someone who loves the spirit of the American fire service, we want you to feel proud wearing our clothing. Firefighter or not, being a part of the brotherhood is as simple as knowing where we, as Americans come from and honoring that feeling everyday of our lives. 

Recently, we received an e-mail that made us proud and re-affirmed our belief in the Hook & Irons project:

" Thank you for making something that makes me feel like I'm still part of  the brotherhood. I spent 10 years as a volunteer helping other people because of things I witnessed in my youth. I was not motivated by the paycheck but doing my part of being a responsible human being.

When my time with the fire service was done, I felt like I was on the outside. Sometimes hearing the comments from active firefighters has been very disheartening.

Then one day something happened. I was walking through a store and a young man walked up to me and said, " You don't remember me but you saved my life. At that moment every sore muscle and sleepless night I had on the job was worth it. I do remember you Eddie! I told him. Never in my life did I ever feel so humbled. God saved Eddie that day, I was the tool he used.

 -Paul

Paul served on Engine 7474 as a firefighter / EMT at Coloma Lotus Volunteer Fire Department California

                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                        


Richie Stewart and the Social Club September 08 2012, 3 Comments

In the early 1800's middle class Gentlemens Clubs were popular in most major cities. These were later referred to as Social Clubs. It was a place where people would escape everyday life and could meet, drink and tell stories. It wasn't uncommon to see patrons playing bar games, listening to live music or enjoying a fine rolled cigar. Modern day social clubs have evolved over the years.The original concept has slowly become what we know today as our favorite watering hole.  After a long tour of duty, these bars are commonly filled with firemen telling war stories or laughing over the pranks they played on the new guy. These are the times when we celebrate the brotherhood of the fire service. 

While researching photos and the history of the fire service we came up with the idea to create our own Social Club.  We wanted to have an outlet where our fans could come together to celebrate the fire service and it's traditions.  A band of brothers who cherish the history of the fire service and want to carry on its legacy.  We want the Hook and Irons Social Club to be there when the bag pipes are filling the streets and when the bartender rings the bell for the last call. 

When we set out to create the Social Club, we had one artist in mind. Richie Stewart.  

 

We pitched him the idea and he immediately jumped on board. You see, Richie lives in Boston,one of the epicenters of early American Social Clubs, where he is no stranger to a tall glass of golden goodness. We looked through his logos and agreed on a concept; simple, clean and bold. He took his inspiration from catalogs of old Americana union logos, and a few weeks later he sent us this gem. 

 

The bold typography and his artistic renderings of a drop of water and a lick fire represent "firewater" perfectly. We love the double meaning.  Finally, Richie rounded out the design with a smoldering cigar. Richie Stewart's art is unmistakable and timeless, if your interested in seeing more of his retro inspired work, click here.   

With the logo complete, the Hook and Irons Social Club has come to life. We invite you to proudly wear the seal of what Hook and Irons Co. represents. There is a lot more to come from the Social Club.  Until then, like us on Facebook so you can share a pint with us at our next gathering.