Friday, January 18, 2019

Fire Co. Ornaments pay $5.00 dollars, workers are free!! Tumble Inn Talk


Swarthmore Fire Co. and Boro Hall about 1896. The building stood where the parking lot for the library and boro hall are today. Courtesy B!!ill Thomas


Note. When many early Delaware Co. Fire Cos. started over 100 years ago they were social clubs for men. Many men only went for the social aspect not to fight fires. A number of early fire cos. including Swarthmore let working members join for free, "drones" had to pay dues!!



 Organization wants No Drones and Adopts Rule for Active Firemen


If you want the name of being a fireman and belong to the Swarthmore Fire Company, you must be an active fireman and not an ornament, and if you want to be the latter and belong to the fire company, then it will cost you $5 a year.  This has been decided by the Swarthmore Fire Company, with the result that three would-be firemen or ornaments have resigned from the company.
Swarthmore Fire Company has since its organization, earned the reputation of being one of the best equipped fire companies in Delaware County, besides its firemen have done yeomen work at all fires in the borough so much so that there has not been a disastrous fire in the borough for many years.  But this has been due because the firemen have already been active, with few ornaments which seemed to have developed during the past year.
Several months ago, the firemen in the company that is the active firemen, began to grumble because a certain number of men who were on the active list did not appear at drill night practice, and absented themselves on the nights when the fire equipment was to have been cleaned.  This was finally brought up in open meeting, and the result was that the president of the company, William Bitler appointed a committee consisting of Chief Getz and assistant chiefs Edward Whittaker and Elmer Patterson, to investigate the delinquent members.  The result was that the committee reported back that twenty firemen were on the list who had failed to assist in cleaning fire equipment, or who had been absent from drill nights.  After this report was made another committee consisting of Dr. John Roxby, William Warner and William Place was appointed by President Bitler.  This committee also made a similar investigation and it reported back to the fire company that it would be unable to punish the delinquent members, but it did advise that the by-laws be changed so they could be associate members if they did not desire to be real firemen.  This would mean that all persons who had failed to comply with the requirements of active firemen would have to either be active or become associate members, and this would, of course, also mean to be an associate member.  It would cost $5 annually instead of $1 per year, which the active firemen pay.
President Bitler when interviewed said that it was true that there were members in the company who were on the active list, and who had been very inactive which resulted in the real firemen of the company putting up a kick against the drones.  He said that if any of the members wanted to be ornaments, they could do so by becoming associate members and paying $5 per year, if not they must be active.  He admitted that the trouble caused three resignations and he said that the “house cleaning” was a good move and that there would be more active work done by the firemen.  He said there is always plenty of work to be done after each fire, such as cleaning up the machinery and re-charging the chemical tanks.  “Some of the firemen like to go to fires, but they do not like to clean up when they return from the fire,” said President Bitler.

I have talked many places in the last 40 plus years but NEVER at a bar!! Friend Joe Magee has asked me to talk at his new bar the "Tumble Inn" on Chester Pike in Prospect Park on February 2, at 7pm.

The talk will be on Norwood and Prospect Park history.


Hello all! I’m proud to present this seminar on the History of Norwood and Prospect Park by our own Keith Lockhart. Admission is free of course however come early to get a seat!


30 Going · 266 Interested

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