Fireman's Hat

Artist/maker unknown, American

Made in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America


Painted leather

13 1/4 x 12 x 6 1/2 inches (33.7 x 30.5 x 16.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Bequest of R. Wistar Harvey, 1940

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nhd 1815 to 1860 uniform [x]  

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In the early nineteenth century the disciplined and heroic volunteers at Philadelphia's several dozen fire companies wore special hats to identify themselves. Modeled on fashionable stovepipe hats but made in leather to withstand heat and water, these hats were also proudly worn at pumping contests and when marching in parades. Fire companies carefully selected their names and painted symbols; these included Ben Franklin, founder of the first fire company in 1736, evocations of the power of water, and the nobility of the American Indian.