The Austin Fire Museum is fortunate enough to have about 15 of its firefighter business cards in our archive collection. These cards were traded between firefighters at the annual Texas State Firemen’s Convention that took place for many years beginning in the 1880′s. Recently we acquired a new card which belonged to Julius Schutze, a prominent Austinite and Hook and Ladder #1 member of the late 1800′s and early 1900′s. The card dates to 1911 and is in very good shape for its age. The graphic is a beautiful representation of the pride and esteem associated with being a member of the Austin Fire Department around the turn of the 20th Century.
In this case, the card is obviously for recruitment. The Austin Fire Department would remain a volunteer organization for only five more years. In 1916, the voters decided to create a paid, municipal fire department ending the volunteer era that began in 1857.
It’s amazing the amount of detail that was possible as far back as 1911 for this type of card.