Weccacoe Engine Panel Painting

Description (Brief)
In the nineteenth century, volunteer fire companies often commissioned paintings to decorate their hand-pumped fire engines for parades, competitions, and community events. Sometimes framed with elaborate carvings, they adorned the tall air chamber located at the middle or rear of a pumper. The paintings would often feature patriotic, heroic, or allegorical images to associate the volunteer companies with these lofty ideals.
This small fire engine panel painting is attributed to the Weccacoe Hose Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that formed in 1842. A painted inscription on the reverse of the painting notes that the company was “disbanded by order of the court for rioting” around 1854. The image may be that of the Wampanoag sachem, Metacomet, who led his people against the English settlers of southern New England in King Phillip’s War (1675-76). The painting is similar to a well-known image of Metacomet engraved by Paul Revere in the 1770s. The Indian leader was the protagonist in a popular 19th century stage play “The Last of the Wampanoags,” portrayed by Philadelphia’s Edwin Forrest, one of America’s most famous actors.
Currently not on view
Object Name
painting, engine panel
date made
mid 19th century
artist attribution
Etter, David Rent
Physical Description
tin (overall material)
oil paint (image material)
overall: 5 3/4 in x 5 1/2 in; 14.605 cm x 13.97 cm
Place Made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Fire Fighting
Cultures & Communities
Firefighting Collection
Engine Panel Paintings
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Engine Panel Paintings
Firefighting Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
Additional Media

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