Hook and Irons

Ben Franklin Was Here September 08 2012, 0 Comments

When creating the Signature Line, we decided to begin at the beginning of the American fire service.  We wanted to create a shirt that honored Benjamin Franklin; the man whose ideas and articles envisioned and called for what would become the fire service that we know today.  On December 7th, 1736, he and four friends founded the Union Fire Company.  This was the first fire department that was started independently to serve anyone who needed fire protection.  Prior to the Union Fire Co. fire brigades were run by large insurance companies to protect their own clients.


The Union Fire Co., which survives today as Engine 8 of the Philadelphia Fire Department is one of the oldest organized fire brigades in the United States.  When the Union was formed it saw its ranks quickly filled to the agreed-upon maximum of 30 members.  After that, latecomers were urged to start their own fire brigades thereby increasing the fire protection and coverage throughout the city.  Within a short amount of time many new brigades sprung up with names like Heart-in-Hand, the Britannia, and the Fellowship.  To belong to one of these companies was a mark of honor and sign of devotion to your fellow man and community.  George Washington, for example, was a member of his local volunteer fire company in Alexandria, Virginia.


It was with this thought that we wanted to pay homage to Ben Franklin and his thought that, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."  Without his activism, the fire service might look very different than it does today.


This is our first offering in our Signature Line.  We hope you like it.  We put a lot of thought and research into creating this limited edition shirt.  Our goal was to make something we think Ben Franklin himself would've worn.  Put some meaning into what you wear and come celebrate our history.  

This shirt was farmed, milled, manufactured and printed in the USA.

The Eagle Has Landed September 08 2012, 2 Comments


When we sat down with Tom Lane to come up with the Hook & Irons symbol, we threw around a bunch of ideas for our version of the 'Nike Swoosh', but nothing ever beat out the eagle--that proud iconic presence that sits atop most of our helmets.  After doing some research on the eagle's history, we took some photographs of the eagles on our own helmets and turned them over to Tom.


The origin of the eagle on the modern fire helmet can be traced to around 1825 when an unknown sculptor created a commemorative figure for the grave of a volunteer firefighter.  The figure on the grave was that of a firefighter, emerging from flames holding a sleeping child in one hand and a trumpet in the other. The figure wore a helmet with an eagle on it, which soon became part of the helmets worn by firefighters to this day.

Even though the eagle's practicality is often questioned and technology has devised better ways of affixing a firefighters unit designation to their helmet, this is one battle that time and technology has not won--yet.  And we love that.


The Hook & Irons eagle was hand-drawn, painstakingly sketched and then inked.  Our design was built by hand, embodying everything that is great about the fire service--everything we fear that time and technology might one day change.

Til then, wear it with pride.



Bill Noonan - Hook & Irons Featured Photographer July 20 2012, 1 Comment

Above all, I craved to seize the whole essence, in the confines of one single photograph, of some situation that was in the process of unrolling itself before my eyes.

-Henri Cartier-Bresson

    When we set about creating Hook & Irons Co., it was always with the thought that we would reach out and collaborate with people in the fire service we admire.  And when the subject of fire photography came up, Bill Noonan was our first choice.  You see, Bill has been the official photographer for the Boston Fire Department for over forty years.  In that time, he has tirelessly chronicled the men and the history of their fine department.   When you visit his site, you will literally find thousands  of photos of the brave men of the Boston Fire Department.  Documented are action shots, candids, portraits of sooty-faced Jakes after some hard fought fire, light-hearted shots that show the brotherhood of the service, and historic shots documenting the old stations and rigs of the BFD.  All the images Bill has compiled over the years are iconic and they tell a thousand stories.
   More importantly, and maybe this is the reason why Bill Noonan's photos strike such an emotional chord with their audience, is that these are not just faces that he happened upon, these are also Bill's friends and brothers--people he has known his whole life.  These are the men and women that he has grown up and alongside with.  Maybe that's why the faces looking back at the camera are so trusting.
    We are honored that Bill allowed us to share a few of his photos.  All the pictures on our home page banner are Bill Noonan's photos and we couldn't have asked for a better way to launch Hook & Irons Co. than by displaying his work.
    If you are interested in seeing more of Bill Noonans photos you can visit his website, or you can like his Facebook page.  He posts almost daily about everything and anything related to the Boston Fire Department and the fire service in general whether it be parades, gatherings, funerals, or anniversaries of line of duty deaths suffered by the men of the BFD.  Bill Noonan is truly an artist and historian of the fire service.  Here are a few more photos from his collection.

     Bill Noonan, thank you for letting us share your work on our site.  


We Are Hook & Irons July 18 2012, 0 Comments

    Well, if you're here reading this right now, then you are proof that a couple of firemen, given enough time, determination and help can get anything done.  To put it plainly, we have no experience with web design, graphic design, clothing design or any other thing you might need to get a business off the ground.  What we had was an idea and the desire to make Hook & Irons happen.  The idea is simple.  We want to create clothing and accessories that truly honor the history and tradition of the fire service with designs that are simple, clean, and meaningful.  We thought that if we found the right people to help us create fashion-forward designs we could build a clothing line with timeless designs that we would be proud to wear.  

    We have been motivated by certain truths.  The first being that there are thousands of other firefighters out there that love the fire service at least as much as us, thousands that live the lifestyle every day, thousands that are proud of the tradition that they were hired into.  The other truth that gave us the confidence to 'put our money where our mouth is', is that we were both curious and dumb enough to see if we could pull this thing off.

    A benefit we didn't realize when we incorporated and started down this path was that Hook and Irons would give us a chance to throw a spotlight on artists, craftsman, firefighters and companies that we respect.  The first person that we found as much by coincidence as anything else was Tom Lane, our graphic designer.

    As we started looking through old fire ads and catalogs, pictures of antique fire trucks and monochrome photos of the 'old days' we knew that we'd have to find someone who studied and loved the hand drawn typography of the early 1900's.  Easier said than done.  Why should anyone hand draw their letters when Photoshop has thousands of fonts to choose from.  And with a few mouse clicks you can manipulate, stretch and warp those fonts in any way you want.  That's not what we wanted.  We wanted a logo with the personality of a hand drawn sign on a cobble stone street and the beauty of a hand built fire truck from the early 1900's.  We had gathered hundreds of photos and vintage ads and no one. . . .I mean no one got it.  Everyone wanted quick and easy, flashy and fast.  Then we found Tom.

    From our first conversation with Tom we knew we had found a true artist who was already doing exactly what we needed.  We gave him access to our photos, our motto, and the style we were shooting for.  A few days later, he sent us this photo directly from his sketch pad.


He had used that early 'gaslight style' that we like so much and to put it over the top, he had incorporated pike poles and the fork of the halligan right into the logo.  Needless to say we were more than a little happy--and impressed.  He had captured the essence of what we were hoping for on his very first draft.

    Things progressed quickly from there and within a week, he had created our mark and the other pieces needed to visually capture a brand.

From these sketches, a brand was born.  We are proud of the look and feel of Hook & Irons Co.  We think the imagery represents everything great about the fire service, and even though we are still in our infancy it is our hope that you come along with us for the ride.  Keep updated on Facebook with everything Hook & Irons by clicking here.