Helmet Frontpiece, “2461 7 PFD”

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 patent leather frontpiece was made by Cairns & Brother of New York, New York around 1939. The black frontpiece has an upper and lower banner with a white background. The banners read “2461/PFD” in painted red letters. A red leather number “7” is stitched in the center of the piece, with a red leather hook and ladder crossed behind it.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1939
Cairns & Brother
place made
United States
Physical Description
leather (overall material)
overall: 6 1/4 in x 5 in; 15.875 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


Add a comment about this object