Featured Early fire helmet

Discussion in 'Antique Discussion' started by David Askett, Nov 17, 2023.

  1. David Askett

    David Askett Well-Known Member

    Does anyone here know anything about early fire helmets? Today I picked up an eight-comb Cairns & Brother “New Yorker” leather helmet that I’m trying to research. Inside, it has a “Cairns and Brother Successor to Gratacap” sticker. There is an embossed Cairns mark on the back of the frontpiece / shield as well but, interestingly, there is an embossed Gratacap mark on the rear brim. These features lead me to believe the helmet dates to soon after Cairns & Brother bought Gratacap’s business in 1869, and were using up Gratacap’s stock of parts. Does this seem correct?

  2. bosko69

    bosko69 Well-Known Member

    Yikes-killer piece ! Where may I ask did you find it ?
    PS-This would be one of the 'barn finds' of my dreams (not that i'd rule out emeralds).
    PSS-Sorry can't be of any scholarly help.
  3. komokwa

    komokwa The Truth is out there...!

    Minneapolis firefighters museum
  4. sabre123

    sabre123 Well-Known Member

    I don't know jack about fire helmets, but it seems like a logical deduction to me. I would not think that Gratacap would have a huge surplus inventory of helmets lying around at any point in time, but who knows. If you plan on selling it, I think you could state that info in your description to put an approximate date on the piece..

    Awesome find.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2023
  5. David Askett

    David Askett Well-Known Member

    It came from a gentleman who owns a storage locker business, who I occasionally buy items from. He finds some pretty random things in abandoned lockers!
    NewEngland and komokwa like this.
  6. David Askett

    David Askett Well-Known Member

    Thanks! Very similar, down to the shape of the “1” on the frontpiece. Cataract, too. Could be from the same fire Company!
    komokwa likes this.
  7. bosko69

    bosko69 Well-Known Member

    Storage Wars-well I'll be *^%#,you've got way better connections than me !Your date sounds logical to me. Gratacap basically invented this form of 8 comb helmet in the 1820's.
    I'd drop $800-$1200 on a clean example in a heartbeat,but being a sane husband wiser heads shall prevail.
    PS-Researching an 1860's 'high eagle' helmet like this,it could fetch lots more than $1200-'Gangs of New York' Civil War helmets look pretty rare and desirable.

    Last edited: Nov 17, 2023
    David Askett likes this.
  8. David Askett

    David Askett Well-Known Member

    Figtree3 and komokwa like this.
  9. bosko69

    bosko69 Well-Known Member

    Yep,it looks like the mid 19th century ones are in a whole different league than the 1900's and up.
    I think now to find real high-end quality pieces (affordably) takes sweat & great deal of luck.
    Congrats-That's a lotto-size pick !
    J Dagger and David Askett like this.
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