Fire Bucket, "J. Patch 1776"

Fire Bucket, "J. Patch 1776"

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Volunteer firefighters often marked their buckets with their fire club’s motto, the first letter of their first name, and their full surname. This bucket belonged to J. Patch, whose club adopted the common motto “All Hands Hoa.” “Hoa” was a call used to excite attention or to give notice of approach, and so this motto reflected the fact that all members of a fire society or volunteer company were required to abandon whatever they were doing and report to the scene of a fire. Members would be fined for failing to maintain the required number of buckets or for failing to respond to an alarm. This bucket also features elaborate illustrations of a burning home and a ship. A house being destroyed by flames was a very common motif in bucket decoration, and served as a vivid reminder of the constant danger of fire. Such brilliant decoration proclaimed the glamour and excitement of being a volunteer fireman, and made the owner of this bucket look particularly impressive.
Note: G162 is very similar in decoration, though it was owned by a different individual.
Currently not on view
Object Name
bucket, fire
date made
before 1814
Physical Description
leather (overall material)
overall: 13 in x 8 1/2 in; 33.02 cm x 21.59 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
Fire Fighting
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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