Helmet Frontpiece, "Jackson 4"

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 white leather frontpiece has a red banner at the top that originally read “JACKSON” but many of the letters are chipped or missing. A cut-out green star is below the banner. A large black number “4” is in the center of the frontpiece, surrounded by three U.S. flags painted on either side. A blue banner is below the number “4” with a white leather number “10” inside. A blank red banner is flanked by painted images of foxes on branches now faded. At the bottom of the frontpiece is a painted image of a spider-type hose carriage now faded. This is likely a presentation frontpiece, which were often elaborately designed and oversized.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
frontpiece, helmet
date made
unknown
maker
unknown
Physical Description
leather (overall materials)
Measurements
overall: 11 in x 7 in; 27.94 cm x 17.78 cm
place made
United States
ID Number
2005.0233.1450
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.1450
subject
Firefighting Collection
Helmet Frontpieces
Clothing & Accessories
Work
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Firefighting Collection
Helmet Frontpieces
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection

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