Antique Fire Helmets

The fire helmet dates back to the 1700s, when leather helmets were first produced. Originally an impractical "stovepipe" shape, fire helmets were redesigned in 1836 by New York City firefighter and hatmaker Henry Gratacap. Gratacap's design, with its domed crown, flat front, and extended rear brim, is still the basic shape of fire helmets today. Around the same time, a New York-based company called Cairns began producing embossed shields that could be mounted on the front of a fire helmet for identification, and the helmet as we know it today was created.

Fire helmet materials have changed as the technology advanced. In the 1920s, lightweight aluminum helmets became popular for a while. However, these failed in practice because aluminum is too good a conductor of heat and electricity, and firefighters went back to the old leather helmets. Fiberglass and thermoplastic finally replaced leather in the 1970s, and under the direction of the National Fire Protection Association, helmets acquired built-in hoods and face shields for extra protection.

One special category of antique fire helmets is presentation helmets. They are called that because they were presented to retiring firefighters. Presentation helmets are a favorite of collectors because they are more ornate and beautiful than regular helmets. They are also usually well cared for and preserved, with none of the wear and tear an ordinary working helmet acquires.

If you're thinking of starting an antique fire helmet collection, it may help to consider specializing at first. You could choose to collect helmets from a specific city or area, from a particular era, or from a certain type of firefighter, such as only chiefs' helmets or only engine company helmets. Take the time to look and think about which antique helmets appeal to you the most, and you'll get more pleasure out of your collection.

Turnout Gear: Antique Fire Helmets



Vintage fire helmet
Vintage fire helmet $99.00
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Antique CHICAGO FIRE DEPT Original Squad 2 Leather Cairns Helmet New York
Antique CHICAGO FIRE DEPT Original Squad 2 Leather Cairns Helmet New York $228.32 (4 Bids)
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Antique Log Bucket Coal Helmet Scuttle Fire Side Cast Iron Art Nouveau c1890
Antique Log Bucket Coal Helmet Scuttle Fire Side Cast Iron Art Nouveau  c1890 $832.05
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Antique CHICAGO FIRE DEPT Leather Cairns Helmet New Yorker
Antique CHICAGO FIRE DEPT Leather Cairns Helmet New Yorker $89.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 1d 8h 21m

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Vintage GENTEX Made in USA Fire Department Fighter FD 4 Helmet Circa size Medium
Vintage GENTEX Made in USA Fire Department Fighter FD 4 Helmet Circa size Medium $300.00
Time Remaining: 1d 15h 53m
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MFB BRASS FIREMAN HELMET-FIRE CHIEF OFFICE HELMET-FIREFIGHTER HELMET- ANTIQUE
MFB BRASS FIREMAN HELMET-FIRE CHIEF OFFICE HELMET-FIREFIGHTER HELMET- ANTIQUE $79.00
Time Remaining: 2d 3h 7m

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Battalion Chief Fire Dept Helmet Firefighter Fireman White Cairns BC Antique
Battalion Chief Fire Dept Helmet Firefighter Fireman White Cairns BC Antique $59.99
Time Remaining: 2d 19h 14m

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Antique Cairns & Bro Rare Metal Fire Helmet
Antique Cairns & Bro Rare Metal Fire Helmet $69.99
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1880-90s VINTAGE ANTIQUE 19TH CENTURY FIREMAN VIKING STYLE PARADE FIRE AXE HEAD
1880-90s  VINTAGE ANTIQUE 19TH CENTURY FIREMAN VIKING STYLE PARADE FIRE AXE HEAD $299.99
Time Remaining: 2d 19h 49m

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ANTIQUE FRENCH "POMPIERS DE MERREY" BRASS FIRE HELMET
ANTIQUE FRENCH $450.00
Time Remaining: 2d 22h 5m
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Antique Boston Fire Chief 16 Comb Leather Helmet
Antique Boston Fire Chief 16 Comb Leather Helmet $535.00 (8 Bids)
Time Remaining: 3d 5h 53m

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ANTIQUE CAIRNS & BRO LEATHER FIRE FIREMEN'S HAT HELMET PAT # 1,889,537 ST. JAMES
ANTIQUE CAIRNS & BRO LEATHER FIRE FIREMEN'S HAT HELMET PAT # 1,889,537 ST. JAMES $499.99
Time Remaining: 3d 9h 14m
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Cairns And Brothers Leather Fire Helmet Antique Vintage Fireman Firefighter Hat
Cairns And Brothers Leather Fire Helmet Antique Vintage Fireman Firefighter Hat $265.00
Time Remaining: 3d 10h 43m
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JAPANESE ANTIQUE FIRE FIGHTER'S HELMET with SHIKORO Neck Guard INSIGNIA
JAPANESE ANTIQUE FIRE FIGHTER'S HELMET with SHIKORO Neck Guard INSIGNIA $9.99
Time Remaining: 3d 17h 51m

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JAPANESE ANTIQUE FIRE FIGHTER'S BAMBOO & CLOTH HELMET INSIGNIA IDed
JAPANESE ANTIQUE FIRE FIGHTER'S BAMBOO & CLOTH HELMET INSIGNIA IDed $9.99 (1 Bid)
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ANTIQUE CAIRNS & BROTHER LEATHER FIRE FIREMEN'S HAT HELMET
ANTIQUE CAIRNS & BROTHER LEATHER FIRE FIREMEN'S HAT HELMET $320.00 (11 Bids)
Time Remaining: 3d 19h 48m

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1969 New Orleans Saints Fire Helmet Football antique vintage collector
1969 New Orleans Saints Fire Helmet Football antique vintage collector $150.00
Time Remaining: 4d 6h 16m

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Antique Switzerland Metal Fire Helmet Firefighter Fireman Swiss
Antique Switzerland Metal Fire Helmet Firefighter Fireman Swiss $222.00
Time Remaining: 4d 11h 4m
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Antique Austria - Hungary Fire Helmet
Antique Austria - Hungary  Fire Helmet $249.90
Time Remaining: 4d 12h 37m
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antique Fireman Fire fighting postcard PC lot 1909 smoke helmet rare Star Series
antique Fireman Fire fighting postcard PC lot 1909 smoke helmet rare Star Series $7.95
Time Remaining: 4d 18h 23m
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