What's a Muster?

The first Fireman's muster was held on July 4, 1849 in Bath, ME. There were 5 handtubs present that day and, unlike today, the streams were played perpendicular. After that muster, there were many more contests held throughout New England during the second half of the 19th century. However, many of these musters were run under different kinds of rules.

In 1890 the New England States Veteran Fireman's League was formed. The League set up standard rules for Fireman's Musters and many of these rules are still in effect today, almost 100 years later. Every summer there is a full schedule of musters throughout New England & New York.

The object of a Fireman's muster is to see which handtub can shoot a stream of water the longest distance. Each handtub has fifteen minutes to do as many streams as they want, any stream shot over the fifteen minutes limit is disqualified. The longest stream over 100' is their official score. To measure a stream, paper with footage markers along each side, is rolled out starting at 100' and extending to 290'. Water drops are measured to the nearest foot then a yard stick, up to the furthest drop of water with the diameter of a dime, is used for exact measurement.

The size of a tub's crew, as well as wind conditions, has a great deal to do with the length of their streams. With favorable conditions, these handtubs are capable of throwing a stream of water we over 200 feet.

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