Before the invention of water pumps and hoses, fires were put out by throwing water from leather buckets. From the late 1600s to the early 1800s, hand-sewn leather fire buckets were standard equipment in most Canadian towns. Stores, businesses and warehouses all kept their own buckets handy. The buckets were often painted with a scene, a fire picture, or a business name. Many private homes also kept leather fire buckets ready for use. The buckets were used in ‘bucket chains’ where one line of men passed full buckets towards the fire, and another line of women and children passed the empty buckets back for refilling.