Helmet Frontpiece, "1"

Helmet Frontpiece, "1"

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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.
This metal frontpiece dates to the late 19th century. The frontpiece design features a variety of firefighting paraphernalia including two hydrants with protruding hoses whose nozzles cross at the top of the frontpiece, a lamp and axe behind the nozzles. A crossed hook and ladder is at the bottom of the piece. A large number “1” is in the center of the frontpiece, with a crossed hook and ladder behind it.
Currently not on view
Object Name
frontpiece, helmet
date made
ca 1866-1867
place made
United States
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 3 1/2 in x 4 1/4 in; 8.89 cm x 10.795 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Clothing & Accessories
Firefighting Collection
Helmet Frontpieces
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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