4. Firetruck

You may be wondering why there is a firetruck in the museum. Well, a firetruck is traditionally placed at the end of the parade, signifying the end of the parade. For more practical purposes today, EMT services are partnered with Fire and Rescue Department, so having a firetruck in the parade helps with public service needs.

However, originally firetrucks were in a parade because there were literally fires at the parades. Before generators were used to power float lighting, flambeaux, or flares, provided the lighting. There are two flambeaux displayed in the far corner of the den. Note that fuel was put in the top can. When the fuel lines were open, the fuel would travel down the center pipe and be funneled through the four burners, which were adjusted by the flambeau bearers.

Flares were also used for float illumination, as seen in the pronged flare holder. The bearers would walk alongside the float so that the flambeaux and flares could provide lighting for both the maskers and parade-goers alike. As you can well imagine, with papier-mâché floats and an open flame, there were bound to be some fires, and who came to the rescue? Fire trucks, of course!