There had been a tradition of volunteer fire companies in Philadelphia since 1736. In 1871 professional, paid firemen went into service. At that time there were some hundred fire companies, with enlisted membership of over 20,000 men total, although perhaps only 4,000 of those actually were interested in putting out fires. The rest just enjoyed the comraderie, beer, and brawling. The paid staff would be comprised of 337 men in 22 engine companies and five hook and ladder companies. Base pay was $350 per annum.