Helmet Frontpiece, “Philadelphia Fire Dept. Engine Co. 26”

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 patent leather frontpiece was made by Cairns & Brother of New York, New York the mid-20th century. The frontpiece has a brown leather exterior with cutouts revealing a white interior. The frontpiece has stitching around its white recessed upper and lower banner, with stitching also around its edge. The upper banner reads “365” in black paint; the lower banner has the initials “PFD” in black paint. The center of the frontpiece has cut-outs to shape a recessed number “26” in white, surrounded by stitching.

Date Made: unknown

Maker: Cairns & Brother

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:

Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2005.0233.1504Accession Number: 2005.0233Catalog Number: 2005.0233.1504

Object Name: frontpiece, helmet

Physical Description: leather (overall material)Measurements: overall: 6 in x 4 1/4 in; 15.24 cm x 10.795 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ad-45dc-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1395405

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.