Company Turns Retired Fire Hoses into Mats, Furniture, Accessories

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Oxgut began by making furniture and durable mats like this one for the kitchen. Photo: Sean Dagen, Oakland, CA / DagenPhoto.com

Oxgut began by making furniture and durable mats like this one for the kitchen. Photo: Sean Dagen, Oakland, Calif./DagenPhoto.com

Oxgut’s Origins

Oxgut Hose Company, which takes its name from the very first fire hose of ancient Greece, emerged from a project Wunsch was working on that involved making accessories for Apple products with a local craftsman. The project used reclaimed wood from trees damaged by the pine beetle infestation in Montana, and Wunsch and her colleague sought additional reclaimed materials for their work.

“We weren’t really interested in denim or leather so much. We had this idea about fire hoses, so I got connected to a fire station in Mill Valley and I went there,” Wunsch explains.

The purpose of her trip was to obtain a sample of fire hose, but while she was there, Wunsch learned just how much of the material needed salvaging.

“I thought I was going to get just a small swatch of off-white fire hose. When I got there, [the firefighters] had scads of it waiting for me and were ready to load up my car,” Wunsch recalls. “It was so cool, the colors and the stenciling. I was blown away at how great it is and how much variation there is.”

Wunsch couldn’t take more than a small piece back to her apartment, but she soon began thinking about how she could use all the material that the fire station would otherwise throw away.

In 2011, Wunsch shared the hose piece with a local designer she knew, which led to the very first reclaimed fire-hose chair. By early 2012, Wunsch decided to pursue this idea of making furnishings from fire hoses.

Next page: Turning Hoses into New Products

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