The first firecart
In 1664 three men from Amsterdam took out a patent for a fire engine. The painter and technician Jan van der Heyden improved their invention with a combination of pressure and piston pumps and fixed hoses on wheels. This made it possible to drive quickly to the scene of a fire, draw water from the canal with the pump and spray the seat of the blaze with the pressurised water. They were in use until late in the nineteenth century. They were also given as presents abroad: an example of Dutch ingenuity. This model has been handed down in the family.