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They’ve Been Making Fire Poles For 100 Years
“We probably average two inquiries per month about installing McIntyre slide poles in homes or barns, but our primary business is still slide poles for fire stations,” says Arthur Anthony, owner of McIntire Brass Works, Somerville, Mass. “We’ve been making slide poles for more than 100 years and we don’t make anything else.”
  The company’s poles have been installed in some upscale homes and also in barns, but most barn installations have been in well-preserved post-and-beam construction barns that were being converted to homes, according to Anthony.
  Interestingly, Anthony says, original slide poles back in the late 1880’s were made of hickory wood, but the standard has always been brass or stainless steel. “Brass is considered the most desirable because it is the easiest to slide. We polish our brass like a mirror.”
  Brass poles need to be polished at least once a week, Anthony says. That task generally goes to whoever is lowest on the totem pole in terms of longevity, he says. “Kind of like the military, where the lowliest jobs are given to the private as a way of earning his first stripe.”
  McIntire sells four models of slide poles, ranging from a simple unprotected brass pole to caged models with guards and gates.
  The longest pole ever installed by McIntire was a 54-footer. Asked whether a long pole might be a solution for descending fast from a grain elevator leg, Anthony cautions against the idea. “I don’t recommend it. Fifty four feet is a long way to drop, no matter what kind of shape you’re in.”
  Anthony and his wife bought McIntire Brass Works 30 years ago and Anthony continues to show up every day, despite recently celebrating his 75th birthday. “I’m retired, but I still work 40 hrs. per week. The way I’ve always looked at it, when you find something you love to do, it’s really not work.”
   Refurbished fire poles can sometimes be had for as little as $2,000.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Arthur Anthony, McIntire Brass Works, Inc., 14 Horace St., Somerville, Mass. 02143 (ph 617 872-1152; www.slidepole.com).

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2015 - Volume #39, Issue #4