|battling a fire in Cincinnati 1854 style|
You might think this was a swell gesture to properly compensate hard workers for a dangerous job well done. Nope. It was arson. Firefighters were paid on an as-needed basis. No fires meant no pay and only the first team of firefighters that arrived on the scene got paid. It seems fireman started setting fires to get work and on top of that rival fire companies were sabotaging each others equipment to be the first responders. And the professional US firefighter was born. Don't get me wrong, modern firefighters do a fantastic job but they certainly have come a long way since the mid 19th century.
Click here for more info on Cincinnati's firefighting history.