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



MLT EHS Buy Brass Fireman Helmet Antique Fireman Helmet Replica Fire Helmet
MLT EHS Buy Brass Fireman Helmet Antique Fireman Helmet Replica Fire Helmet $99.00
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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 $808.06
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Chicago Fire Department Badge Plate Shield Truck 51 Rare Antique Shield Front
Chicago Fire Department Badge Plate Shield Truck 51 Rare Antique Shield Front $25.00 (1 Bid)
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Chicago Fire Department Truck 14 Badge Plate Helmet Shield Front Rare Antique
Chicago Fire Department Truck 14 Badge Plate Helmet Shield Front Rare Antique $25.00 (2 Bids)
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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 $240.00
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Antique Leather Fire Helmet
Antique Leather Fire Helmet $50.00
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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
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vintage industrial wooden helmet fire shield Steampunk folkart rare
vintage industrial wooden helmet fire shield Steampunk  folkart rare $49.99
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Mini Old Vtg Antique Collectible Diecast Red Firefighter Helmet Fire Hat
Mini Old Vtg Antique Collectible Diecast Red Firefighter Helmet Fire Hat $14.41
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antique fire helmet and belt from Grafton WV
antique fire helmet and belt from Grafton WV $199.99 (1 Bid)
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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
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COLLECTOR FIREMAN'S REPLICA HELMET FROM LEHIGH VALLEY ANTIQUE FIRE MUSEUM
COLLECTOR FIREMAN'S REPLICA HELMET FROM LEHIGH VALLEY ANTIQUE FIRE MUSEUM $9.99
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Antique Fireman's Helmet and Leather Belt Fire Chief Director 1839 * GREAT SET *
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Antique Brass French St Germain Morin Firefighters Fire Helmet Leather Lined yqz
Antique Brass French St Germain Morin Firefighters Fire Helmet Leather Lined yqz $125.49 (15 Bids)
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1969 New Orleans Saints Fire Helmet Football antique vintage collector
1969 New Orleans Saints Fire Helmet Football antique vintage collector $125.00
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JAPANESE ANTIQUE FIRE FIGHTER'S BAMBOO & CLOTH HELMET INSIGNIA #3
JAPANESE ANTIQUE FIRE FIGHTER'S BAMBOO & CLOTH HELMET INSIGNIA  #3 $9.99
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JAPANESE ANTIQUE FIRE FIGHTER'S BAMBOO & CLOTH HELMET INSIGNIA #4
JAPANESE ANTIQUE FIRE FIGHTER'S BAMBOO & CLOTH HELMET INSIGNIA  #4 $125.00
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Antique~Vintage Metal Aluminum Cairns & Brother Fire~Firemans Helmet
Antique~Vintage Metal Aluminum Cairns & Brother Fire~Firemans Helmet $100.00
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Antique warren county va Fire Fighter Fireman Helmet hat Carins Bro New jersey
Antique warren county va Fire Fighter Fireman Helmet hat Carins Bro New jersey $99.99
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Antique CHICAGO FIRE DEPT. Cairns ENGINE 43 fire helmet leather front shield
Antique CHICAGO FIRE DEPT. Cairns ENGINE 43 fire helmet leather front shield $75.00
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