Decatur Fire Engine Company Fire Hat

Decatur Fire Engine Company Fire Hat

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This hat was used in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the first half of the 19th century. The hat has been painted red with a portrait of Commodore Stephen Decatur framed in gold. American flags and black banners with gold trim surround the portrait. The banners bear the gold text “DECATUR/F.E. CO.” The back of the hat features a gold painted image of an early fire hydrant with gushing hose attached, flanked by the letters “FA”. This was the logo of the Fire Association of Philadelphia, an insurance company founded by a group of eleven volunteer engine companies and five volunteer hose companies in 1817. The top of the hat bears the owner’s initials “N.C.” painted in gold. The Decatur Fire Engine Company No. 21 was founded in 1803 in the Frankford neighborhood of Philadelphia as a hand engine company. It acquired a steam fire engine in 1859 and operated as a steam fire engine company until 1871 when Philadelphia’s paid firefighting department was established. Originally known as Good Will Frankford Fire Company No. 2, the company renamed itself in 1842 after Stephen Decatur, the famous naval officer and hero of the War of 1812, whose father had resided in Frankford.
Currently not on view
Object Name
hat, fire
date made
Decatur, Stephen
place made
United States
Physical Description
green (underbrim color)
gold (decoration; trim color)
painted (overall production method/technique)
red (overall color)
fabric, pressed felt (overall material)
paint (overall material)
overall: 6 1/4 in x 14 in x 12 1/2 in; 15.875 cm x 35.56 cm x 31.75 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
Fire Fighting
Fraternal Associations
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Cultures & Communities
Clothing & Accessories
Fire Hats
Firefighting Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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