Hook and Irons
Brooklyn Engine Co. 17 July 30 2016, 0 Comments
Last year, I had the honor of donating to the NYC Fire Museum in the name of Dennis Smith (author of 'Report From Engine Co. 82). At that time, after meeting with some of the staff, we decided to make a NYC Fire Museum tee based on their archives and designed by Hook & Irons. The result of our first effort is Brooklyn Engine Co. 17.
The design is based on a banner that is displayed in the museum. It shows the active roll of all the members of Engine 17. The banner is beautifully drawn. We wanted to take elements of the banner and use them to capture the spirt of the company and its story. Below is a picture of the main part of the banner.
After reading more about the history of the company, we decided to focus on the engine's logo--a grasshopper.
The grasshopper was unique and the story behind the 'hopper club' was very interesting to me.
In 1849, Engine Co. 17 purchased a Philadelphia patterned 'piano box' style engine which quickly earned the name 'haywagon' because of its long and flat appearance. The brake and the pump levers were located on top of the engine and the men who climbed up and down it so skillfully were said to look like grasshoppers. Even after they purchased a newer engine the name stuck. 'The Hoppers' kept their name for the rest of the company's existence. At its high point, Engine Co. 17 boasted 75 members and their firehouse was regarded as one of the most beautiful in the country.
The resulting design is our best effort to create a station logo and design as if the company were still operating today. We wanted everything to be hand-drawn and we wanted to bring the story of the 'hoppers' back to life.
It has been an amazing experience to be able to access the museum. If you're visiting the city, you should stop by and support them. You can even pick up a Hook and Irons shirt in their gift shop, our first retail location.
If you'd like to purchase Brooklyn Engine Co. 17, you can click here.
You can read more about the history of the Brooklyn Fire Department by following this link.
Tools Of The Trade - Birth of 'The Hook' November 25 2014, 2 Comments
Earlier this year while visiting a neighboring firehouse, I saw that they had displayed a very cool shadow box with all of the different knots used in our fire department. I really liked the idea and all of the other 'knot boards' I've seen. I thought that it would be nice to see a board with many of the different types of hooks used in the fire service around the country laid out in a 'knot board' style so the viewer would be able to see all the different variations next to each other. As far as I knew, I had never seen anything like this before.
The first problem was finding the right designer who would be willing to research and sketch the different hook variations and lay them out in an interesting manner. I chose Adam Weaver for this project because not only is he a very talented hand-letterer, he is also extremely talented at creating authentic and original illustrations. The only problem was that Adam is not a firefighter. He did not know how important this tool is to us or it's many uses. How could he feel as passionately as I do about our tools and our history?
Fortunately, I've learned that Adam is a life-long student of many subjects and after the Keys To The City project, I know that he relishes learning the finer details of a subject rather than the broad strokes.
First, we set out choosing which hooks to use. I tried to pick not only the most popular hooks, but ones that are unique to certain parts of the country. After we settled on the subjects, Adam got to sketching. We tried to never stray too far from the 'knot board' feel. I wanted the design to be educational as well as visually interesting.
In the end, I feel Adam created a design that is truly original and unique--a design that I hope most firefighters would be proud to own.
I want to thank Adam for being so patient and taking the time over these past months to learn so much about our world. We have become fast friends and I hope Hook and Irons can tempt him into creating more designs for us in the future.
As for me. . . Well I hope you guys dig all the care, dedication and time that went into this one. And, as I always say, 'Wear it with pride.' And this time, since we're offering a limited edition print, you can 'display it with pride' as well.