Costume and Textiles
Fireman's HatMade in United States, North and Central America
Artist/maker unknown, American
Currently not on view
1940-16-735Bequest of R. Wistar Harvey, 1940
LabelIn 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.