Tradition of the Fire Axe

The fire axe (pick head) is arguably the first tool specific for fire service use. Everyone had at least one axe. A double faced ax for wood felling, single bit or large faced adz for shaping timbers, small axes (hatchets) for use in the home, axes were everywhere.

Some time in the early history of firefighting it was discovered that the standard wood ax had deficiencies. A tool was needed to get at the hidden fire. Somewhere, in the world people decided to adapt a battle axe to cut into building construction and to pry open window casings, plank floors, ceilings, and walls.

This pick on the back of a common ax head created what became the first improvement to a working tool specific for firefighting purposes. And the beginning of a long tradition for the pick ax as a firefighting tool. It has remained relatively unchanged into current times. Today, every, ladder truck, engine, fire squad, tanker even some ambulances have a pick head ax in their inventory.

Over the years many tools have entered the fire service inventory that compete for a place as the most important tool for forcing entry and opening up but none have the versatility, ease of use and history as the Fire Ax..

Early artists, Currier & Ives, and others show firefighters running with their axes or swinging their axe while bravely going about their tasks. The ax appears on the earliest membership certificates. Axes were even used as a symbol of rank in many fire departments.

Today in many fire departments a fire ax is presented as a retirement gift or as a memorial plaque remembering a proud, faithful or honored career. We at stationhousegifts.com carry on this tradition with our personalized ax plaques. as retirement gifts recognizing a firefighters work in service to his community and department.