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Fire Helmets46 of 47London Fire Helmets19C French Helmet
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Posted 7 years ago


(74 items)

The Society of the California Pioneers had a lot of great firefighting equipment on display. Maybe I'm completely wrong to think this, but I often associate firefighting during the 19th century to what you see in the movie "Gangs of New York," where a bunch of private contractors fight over who got to fight the fire, with all the different groups being run by gangs. Maybe that was just in New York, or maybe that was just in the movie. If you are a firefighting scholar, do weigh in.

The first image is a fire helmet from about 1900 from 5 Fire House in San Francisco. It is metal and has a Phoenix mounted on top. It likely refers to the Stockton Street firehouse known as Knickerbocker 5.

The second image is also from about 1900 and likely is from 4 Fire House in San Francisco. It also is metal and has a Phoenix on top. It likely was used at the firehouse at 144 Second Street, which was founded in 1866.

The last image is of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, an honorary member of of the Knickerbocker No. 5, despite her gender. The photograph was taken in the 1870s, which seem awfully progressive. It was given to the museum by the Veteran Firemen's Association.

From my recent trip to the Society of California Pioneers...


  1. potrero potrero, 7 years ago
    Is that the Lillie Coit of Coit Tower fame?
  2. bayareamuseums bayareamuseums, 7 years ago
    Indeed, she was the benefactor of Coit Tower.
  3. oldfirestuff oldfirestuff, 6 years ago
    Neat fire stuff. Check out my web site .
  4. Militarist Militarist, 6 years ago
    I have read accounts of volunteer fire companies fightihg each other for the right to fight a fire while the building actually burned down. They were also used to put down riots so your view is very accurate.

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