Fairmount Fire Company Fire Hat

The emblem painted on this Fairmount Fire Company's parade hat was inspired by William Rush's sculpture entitled "Nymph and Bittern." This somewhat feminine symbol seems unusual until the history of the sculpture is known. The artwork was part of a fountain commissioned to commemorate the completion of Philadelphia's new water system in 1822. The system was state-of-the-art, and the statue was considered the best piece of public art in America. Wearing these hats linked the Fairmount Company with Philadelphia's technological advancement, cultural supremacy, and proud fire fighting history.
Object Name
hat, fire
Date made
Rush, William
Shotwell & Garden
Physical Description
painted (overall production method/technique)
pressed felt (overall material)
red (overall color)
black (underbrim color)
gold (deocation and lettering color)
cream (painted figure color)
paint (overall material)
overall: 5 1/2 in x 12 1/2 in x 14 1/2 in; 13.97 cm x 31.75 cm x 36.83 cm
Place Made
United States
location of statue in painting
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Fire Fighting
Cultures & Communities
Fraternal Associations
Clothing & Accessories
Nymph and Bittern
Family & Social Life
Artifact Walls exhibit
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Artifact Walls exhibit
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
McCosker, M.J.. The Historical Collection of the Insurance Company of North America
Additional Media

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