Helmet Frontpiece, "Fellowship 27 SFE"

Helmet Frontpiece, "Fellowship 27 SFE"

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 frontpiece was worn by a member of the Fellowship Steam Fire Engine Company No. 27, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Organized in 1819 as the Fellowship Fire Engine Company, a hand engine company, it acquired a steam engine in 1860 and changed its name to the Fellowship Steam Fire Company of Germantown. The company was active until 1871 when Philadelphia’s paid firefighting department was established. This white leather frontpiece has two recessed black banners at its top and bottom with the text “FELLOWSHIP / SFE” in white leather letters. The center of the piece has a circular recess with a scalloped border, and the number “27” in white leather letters at the middle.
Currently not on view
Object Name
frontpiece, helmet
date made
place made
United States
Physical Description
leather (overall material)
overall: 7 1/4 in x 4 1/2 in; 18.415 cm x 11.43 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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