Helmet Frontpiece, “Washington Hose 3”

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 19th century. The frontpiece has two banners at the top with raised tan leather letters that reads “WASHINGTON/HOSE.” The text is flanked by stars and there is decorative stitching throughout. A large recessed tan number “3” is at the center of the piece. At the bottom, a tan recessed cartouche has the raised dark brown leather initials “PJD” inside.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
frontpiece, helmet
date made
unknown
maker
unknown
Physical Description
leather (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 7 3/4 in x 5 1/2 in; 19.685 cm x 13.97 cm
place made
United States
ID Number
2005.0233.1484
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.1484
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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