Helmet Frontpiece, "President Charlestown Veteran"

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 during the late 19th century. The frontpiece has tan leather lettering on black banners that reads “PRESIDENT/CHARLESTOWN/VETERAN” with a red star under the word “PRESIDENT.” The word “VETERAN” indicates that the owner was likely the president of the Volunteer Veteran Fireman's Association of Charlestown, Massachusetts, founded in 1884.
Currently not on view
date made
19th century
place made
United States
Physical Description
leather (overall material)
overall: 8 1/4 in x 5 in; 20.955 cm x 12.7 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


Hi, I own a Charlestown volunteer veteran fire helmet made by oak hall of Boston, Massachusetts. I've been going out of my mind trying to find information on the volunteer veterans, would you happen to have any more information on this helmet front. Thank you

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