“Vulcan study 01” is the first in a series of furniture and related objects which seeks to explore the use of discarded and reclaimed fire hose as a primary building material while also drawing attention to important New York history. The name is derived from the fraternal order of African American fire fighters which was originally formed in secret to unify this systematically disenfranchised group. The group was, and is to this day, known as Vulcan Society. Using this discarded and humble material to support the human body, this work creates an uncommon perspective through material and form, as an homage to this historically important group of Americans.
“..In many of the houses the most menial porter-type of work was assigned to the Negro fireman. This is the work necessary for the maintenance of quarters. The toilet cleaning, furnace tending, ash removal or whatever work that was considered uninviting was surely to be assigned to the colored fireman. This pattern was followed when assignments to positions on the apparatus were made, and it was an unwritten law that no Negro should drive or be a tillerman high up on the rear of the ladder truck; nor should he operate the pump, neither should he carry certain tools.” .
Walter Thomas . Appointed 1937. Ladder company 41. West Harlem, NYC