Historians generally agree that the traditional fire helmet was designed between 1821 and 1836 by Henry Gratacap who was a New York City volunteer fireman. Gratacap, who was a leather maker by trade, crafted eight segments of specially treated leather to produce a helmet that was very durable and flame and water resistant. He added an eagle shield holder to the peak to hold a a large shield insignia over the front of the brim. Often made of stitched tooled leather pieces, the shield indicated the fireman’s position, brigade number, etc. Gratacap’s helmet was very well received and was named the “New Yorker”and was adopted by the New York City Fire Department in the late 1800’s. It remained the standard for helmet design for well over 100 years.
Yellow Garage dealer The Acorn Post presents an antique “New Yorker” style leather fire helmet. It has the characteristic extended beavertail bill at the back of the helmet to deflect falling debris and water.The helmet is complete with peak eagle and leather front shield with a large number and 145 at the bottom. This helmet has age appropriate wear and has obviously protected its former owner in many fires. The pictures are intended to be part of the description. Please review each of them for an accurate depiction of the helmet’s condition. The helmet measures 14.5” long X 11.25” wide by 8” high. A leather “New Yorker” fire helmet is a “must have” for any fire hemet collector.
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Antique Leather “New Yorker” Style Fire Helmet