Hook and Irons
Fireman Jim Flynn September 08 2013, 5 Comments
On February 13, 1917 Fireman Jim Flynn entered the ring with a young up-and-comer Jack Dempsey. Jim Flynn who had passed the height of his career charged to the center of the ring and quickly sent the Manassa Mauler to ground with a devastating right. Twenty seconds later, Dempsey was still trying to find his feet. Here is an account of the knockout.
'With Dempsey still bent over and walking toward Flynn, both forearms and gloves covering his face, Flynn rushed again. The Pueblo battler gave Dempsey's head a quick shove toward his right and sent a short right hand hook through Dempsey's guard and straight to the point of the chin. (Salt Lake Telegram)
Dempsey was down 10 seconds in to the bout.'
That quick, embarrassing loss was the only time in Jack Dempsey's storied career (66-6-11) that the future champion was ever knocked out and it was the highlight of Jim Flynn's career, a fighter who 'fought them all' but never earned the heavyweight title. For a time, Fireman Jim Flynn was the best hope of defeating the feared Jack Johnson but was never able to best the 'Galveston Giant' in three tries. Jim Flynn was famous however for knocking out aspiring contenders with such neatness that he became known as the 'Destroyer of Hopes.' Jim Flynn ended his career with 47 wins, 41 losses, and 17 draws.
Jim Flynn was born in Hoboken, NJ with name Andrew Chiariglione. He was actually of Irish-Italian descent, but took the name Jim Flynn for professional purposes as the Irish were some of the most devoted boxing fans at the time. When Flynn was a young man, the family moved to Pueblo, CO where he took up railroading and became a fireman for the Pueblo Fire Department and the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. Jim Flynn remained with the fire service throughout most of his boxing career.
While researching ideas, the legendary knockout of Jack Dempsey, the Manassa Mauler combined with the workman-like boxing career of the underdog Jim Flynn inspired us to create a design honoring Flynn for Hook & Irons. Choosing the the designer was easy for this one. Steve Wolf specializes in hand-drawn art and works frequently with different sports topics. Additionally, he is a collector of vintage boxing artifacts and he seemed as excited, if not more, to bring this idea to life. As there is no poster for this event that we know of that still exists, we asked Steve to imagine a poster for the bout using the style of lettering and drawing that was popular at the time. We also asked him to draw his best rendition of Jim Flynn. The final design couldn't be more striking than the photo he worked from. We hope you enjoy the design and the small piece of history where the workman--the fireman--the boxer--the constant fighter--won one for the underdog.
Hugh Halligan's Masterpiece Revisited November 28 2012, 9 Comments
When we created Hook & Irons Co. we came up with the Signature Line as way to pay homage to the parts of the fire service that are historically significant-- the parts of the fire service that so many of us feel passionately about. We brainstormed over so many things during those first days, but always, and without question, we were certain that we wanted to create a shirt honoring every fireman's favorite tool, the Halligan bar.
Hugh Halligan on right
Hugh Halligan is an icon of the fire service. With FDNY, he rose to the rank of Deputy Chief and is remembered as a 'fireman's fireman' working on many of the busiest companies in the city. But, he is known best for the tool he invented that is still carried on nearly every fire truck in America. While today's versions may have been refined a bit, and are now built by different manufacturers, they are very nearly the same exact tool that Halligan invented in the 1940's.
The original Halligan tool was made of cross-drop forged from one piece of No. 4140 (high carbon content) steel, and weighed 8 ½ lbs. This was a great improvement in strength and weight over its predecessors, The Claw and Kelly tool. The standard bar was approximately 30” in length, with a 15/16” shaft shaped into a hexagon for grip. The fork was a minimum of 6” long tapered into two well beveled tines. Spacing between the tines allows for a gas valve to be shut off. And stamped into the steel of the forks of the original Halligan tool was Hugh's signature and the letters AM + DG. Chief Halligan was a very religious man and it is widely believed the letters stood for the Latin phrase , Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam or “for the greater glory of God.” This phrase was a favorite of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus. Pope John Paul II routinely used it in his writings. He would print AMDG in the top left of every page he wrote. The + sign is widely believed to represent a cross.
When creating the shirt, it was important to us to include these elements into the design. We used the original advertisements as inspiration and we picked colors that we thought were as hard-looking as the drop-forged steel of the Halligan tool. The typography is chosen and inspired from the ad, as well as the slogan, "Yes! It is an Ugly Bar." The ribbon at the bottom of the shirt (also taken from the ad) represents the Boston Fire Department who was the first to recognize the genius of the tool and put one on every single truck in Boston.
The genius of the Halligan tool becomes apparent in the hands of a skilled operator and when properly used – provide protection to the arms, hands, and body of the holder during forcible entry operations. Pound for pound, it is the best tool on any rig and paired with a flat-headed axe, the Irons are a Truckie's best friend.
To this day, there are fire companies who still carry and use an original Halligan tool on their rigs. Tools that are nearly 70 years old and still working to this day. Yes, it is an UGLY tool! and yes we are very proud to offer Hook & Irons second Signature Tee--The Halligan Tee.
*All the research for this blog and the t-shirt were done on-line. Information was gathered from a wealth of stories and articles, conversations and forum posts. Thanks to Rob Fisher, Irons and Ladders, and Hugh Halligan's own article entitled, "The Halligan Tool" which appeared in a 1950 issue of WNYF for which most of this research was taken.