Helmet Frontpiece, "Empire Hose 40"

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 black leather frontpiece was made in the 19th century. The word “EMPIRE” is painted in gold on a blue banner with red trim at the top of the shield. A recessed white leather number “40” is in the center of the piece. The word “HOSE” is painted in gold above the initial “D,” but the initial before the “D” is missing. Empire Hose Company No. 40 operated in New York City in the early to mid 19th century.

Maker: unknown

Location: Currently not on view

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: 2005.0233.1466Accession Number: 2005.0233Catalog Number: 2005.0233.1466

Object Name: frontpiece, helmet

Physical Description: leather (overall material)Measurements: overall: 6 3/4 in x 4 in; 17.145 cm x 10.16 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ad-436e-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1394878

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