A large fire, Amsterdam, Holland, 27 July 1679.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by Jan van der Heiden, first published 1690. Lightning started the fire which quickly spread to over 50 houses, almost all of wood, tarred on the outside, and very dry. They contained inflammable materials such as whale oil. More than half the buildings were saved by the new fire engines and hoses. From 'Beschryving der nieuwlyks uitgevonden en geotrojeerde slang-brand-spuiten en haare wyze van brand-blusen' ('Fire engines with hoses and methods of fighting fires') by van der Heiden and his son Jan, (Amsterdam, 1735). Father and son were designers and manufacturers of Europe's best fire-fighting equipment and Fire-Masters General of Amsterdam. The book is the most important source of technical information for fire-fighting at that period.