Hand In Hand Company Cape

Description
Some early American firefighters wore capes for protection, ornamentation, and identification. The stiff oil cloth protected their shoulders and upper body against fiery embers and water, and the decorative painting served to identify company members at chaotic fire scenes or on parade. The capes were often painted by local sign painters, some skilled artists like John A. Woodside, who also painted the company’s hats and banners and decorated their fire engines. Many of the capes in the firefighting collection display patriotic names and symbolism, reflecting themes important to 19th century volunteers, as well as the pride they felt in the early founding date of their fire company.
This oil cloth cape is blue overall with the name “Hand in Hand” painted in gold text with red shading and the date “1772” in gold with light blue shading below. The number “2” is painted in gold with light blue shading on the shoulders. The cape belonged to a member of the Hand in Hand Fire Company of York, Pennsylvania. The Hand in Hand Company was founded in 1772, and was one of the oldest companies in the country.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
19th century
maker
unknown
Physical Description
oil cloth (overall material)
paint (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 29 in x 43 1/2 in; 73.66 cm x 110.49 cm
place made
United States
ID Number
2005.0233.0127
catalog number
2005.0233.0127
accession number
2005.0233
subject
Fire Fighting
Cultures & Communities
Work
Clothing & Accessories
Fraternal Associations
Firefighting Collection
Firefighting Capes
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Firefighting Capes
Firefighting Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
listed
McCosker, M.J.. The Historical Collection of the Insurance Company of North America
referenced
McCosker, M.J.. The Historical Collection of Insurance Company of North America

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