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Pole dancing and brave firefighters – what do they have in common?

Two irefighters with red helmets putting out a fire

The history of poles in human civilization goes a long way back. The first pillars were made of wood and date back at least 800 years ago in India. They were not intended for dancing like today but were used in a traditional Indian endurance and strength sport called “mallakhamb.” Of course, there is also the phase of the Chinese pillar dating to about the same time as the Indian one but in this case, we speak not of one but of two poles on which men performed “gravity-defying tricks,” leaping from one pole to another.

However, at some point poles would take a different direction. In the west people were not aware of their use and had other things in mind. Actually, for them, the poles followed a completely unexpected ”career” when people understood that they can be used to move down faster. For them, the emergency was the deal.

The fireman’s pole is like that of pole dancing, with the only difference that instead of lighting fires, it helps to put them out. The fireman’s pole was invented quite by accident around 1870 by David Kenyon in Chicago. One day, a firefighter wanted to get to the ground floor super fast because he heard the phone ringing and knew someone was in an emergency. So, instead of coming down using the stairs, he saw a wooden pole fixed somewhere on the staircase, and he decided to slide down to the ground floor using that. If one thing is for sure is that he was ready to take action. Kenyon had made up his mind ” Well guys, from now on we’re going down using poles instead of stairs and slides!” Next thing they knew, they opened a hole between the floors of the section and placed a pole.

At first, the other fire departments were making fun of Kenyon’s Department for coming down using the poles every time someone needed their help. However, it eventually started to be noticed that the fire department with the pole was always the first to reach the point of action when called upon. So it was decided to install pickets in all Chicago Fire Departments. Who is laughing now, right?

Unfortunately, today firefighters get off poles mainly in movies and cartoons. Although it sounds like fun, today this phase in the fire departments has begun to disappear. Although the firefighters were coming down faster thanks to the poles, unfortunately, there were also many accidents. Sometimes they would not hold tight and fall. Also, when the fire departments started becoming open to the public, it was quite dangerous for visitors as well. It is even said that once, a visitor entered the little room where the pillar was because he thought that there was the toilet, he did not notice the hole and eventually got injured.

Finally, the bizarre object is again used for amusement instead of work. Following its initial fate, the pole is used to entertain people. Today dance poles can be either permanently installed in a place or portable and they come in various sizes. They can be rotating or they can be static and are made of various materials. The typical dance pole today is made of steel or bronze and extends from the floor to the ceiling. We have all met people who do Pole Dancing and know how hard it is, so if someone is thinking of starting it, well, ”good luck.” It demands a lot of muscle strength. Of course, the result compensates the viewers and the performers and it looks super fun. Actually, in recent years, the supporters of Pole Dancing have been trying to bring it to the Olympic Games so that it becomes an Olympic sport.

Besides, it is important to point out that in Eastern countries it is still used by men a great deal. In western culture, it is mainly associated with the expression of female sexuality but the poles can be used by everyone who just wants to do something with their bodies and need an instrument to help them. All in all, they have always made us happy and this is why we will probably keep them in our lives.

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Anna Siampani
Anna Siampani, Lifestyle Editorial Director at the CEOWORLD magazine, working with reporters covering the luxury travel, high-end fashion, hospitality, and lifestyle industries. As lifestyle editorial director, Anna oversees CEOWORLD magazine's daily digital editorial operations, editing and writing features, essays, news, and other content, in addition to editing the magazine's cover stories, astrology pages, and more. You can reach Anna by mail at