Helmet Frontpiece "Insurance Patrol 1"

Description (Brief)
The frontpiece (also known as shield or badge) of firefighting helmets has been a distinctive part of the American firefighter’s helmet since it was developed by Henry Gratacap in the early 19th century. These frontpieces displayed a variety of information. The fire company's name and number appeared, often alongside the city or town where it was based. The frontpiece could also include the owner's initials and rank. Most fire helmets had leather frontpieces, but frontpieces could also be made of metal, especially on presentation helmets or those worn in parades.
This leather frontpiece was made by Henry T. Gratacap of New York, New York between 1868 and 1869. The frontpiece is painted black, with painted gold lettering that reads “INSURANCE/1/PATROL/R.D.” Museum records note that the Insurance Patrol No. 1 Company was founded in 1869 and located on Little Boys Court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1850-1900
Gratacap, Henry T.
place made
United States
Physical Description
leather (overall material)
overall: 8 in x 6 1/4 in; 20.32 cm x 15.875 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Clothing & Accessories
Firefighting Collection
Helmet Frontpieces
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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