Northern Liberty Hose Company Fire Hat

The work of art on this parade hat of the Northern Liberty Hose Company combines a number of patriotic emblems. The female figure, known as Lady Liberty, is a personification of the United States. In her left hand, Liberty holds a pole with a red liberty cap on top. The liberty cap was originally a Roman symbol given to freed slaves. It became an internationally known symbol of the American Revolution when colonists carried them atop poles in parades and rallies. The U.S. flag and shield are also included in the picture. Possessing similar features, both of these symbols were adopted by the Continental Congress. By the design of the flag, it can be determined that this parade hat was painted after 1795. Before that date, the thirteen stars of the flag were arranged in a circle, not the pattern visible on this hat.
Currently not on view
Object Name
hat, fire
date made
Northern Liberty Hose Company No. 4
Physical Description
pressed felt (overall material)
painted (overall production method/technique)
paint (overall material)
overall: 5 3/4 in x 12 1/2 in x 12 1/2 in; 14.605 cm x 31.75 cm x 31.75 cm
Place Made
United States
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Fire Fighting
Cultures & Communities
Clothing & Accessories
Fraternal Associations
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
Related Publication
Harden, J. David. Liberty Caps and Liberty Trees
McCosker, M.J.. The Historical Collection of the Insurance Company of North America
Additional Media

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