Helmet Frontpiece, “Lafayette Hose 22”

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 in the 19th century. The frontpiece is made of white leather, with two red banners at the top that read “LAFAYETTE/HOSE.” A large black recessed number “22” is in the center of the frontpiece, with the raised white leather initials “SR” on a red cartouche at the bottom of the frontpiece.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
frontpiece, helmet
date made
19th century
maker
unknown
Physical Description
leather (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 8 in x 5 in; 20.32 cm x 12.7 cm
place made
United States
ID Number
2005.0233.1474
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.1474
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Work
Clothing & Accessories
Firefighting Collection
Helmet Frontpieces
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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