Fireman Parade Hats

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Paint Decorated Leather “America” Parade Hat and Paint Decorated Leather “Western” Parade Hat

Probably Pennsylvania, Circa  1790 and 1840. Both 6 x 13 1/2 x 12 1/2 inches

The first, with scrolled brim, in black paint, the top bears initials M.A., the sides bear word “AMERICA” and initials “FA” with a fire hydrant. The central field depicted an image that was chosen by the fire company, with the initials of the owner on the top. The initials “FA” stood for Fire Association; they frequently flanked a hydrant, as in this example.

The second ,with scrolled brim, in red paint with gold lettering and black accents, the top bears initials “G.S.”, while the sides bear word “WESTERN” and initials “WEC”.

For more information on antique fire hats, see Courtney E. Booth and Robert E. Booth “Parade Hats of America’s Early Volunteer Firemen,” The Magazine Antiques (April, 2004), pp. 94-103.

Early fire hats probably originated around 1740 and were probably made by saddlers and leather workers. They were most commonly painted red, black, green or blue, with contrasting lettering or ornament. The central field depicted an image that was chosen by the fire company, with the initials of the owner on the top. The stovepipe form of the earlier hats eventually gave way to hats with extended protective brims but the stovepipe hats were still created and worn for parades and ceremonial events.

For more information on antique fire hats, see Courtney E. Booth and Robert E. Booth “Parade Hats of America’s Early Volunteer Firemen,” The Magazine Antiques (April, 2004), pp. 94-103.

Provenance:

Ditmar Collection, Pennsylvania

Old Hope Antiques, Pennsylvania

Prominent Southern Private Collection

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