Helmet Frontpiece, "Humane 13"

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.

Description (Brief)

This frontpiece was worn by a member of the Humane Fire Engine Company No. 13, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Organized in 1794, it was a hand engine company until it acquired a steam fire engine in 1863, which was replaced in 1865. The company was active until 1871 when Philadelphia’s paid firefighting department was established. This leather frontpiece was made between 1861 and 1865. The frontpiece is painted black with gold stitching around the perimeter. A gold star is at the top of the frontpiece, which reads “HUMANE/13/CHW” in gold lettering.

Date Made: 1861-1865

Maker: unknown

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States

See more items in: Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement, Clothing & Accessories, Firefighting Collection, Work, Helmet Frontpieces


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2005.0233.1435Accession Number: 2005.0233Catalog Number: 2005.0233.1435

Object Name: frontpiece, helmet

Physical Description: leather (overall material)Measurements: overall: 7 1/2 in x 6 1/4 in; 19.05 cm x 15.875 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ad-3004-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1394464

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