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The Green Tree: Highlights from the Collection of the Mutual Assurance Company of Philadelphia - April 2007
 
 
painting
 
Unknown Maker

Moyamensing Hose Company Parade Hat, 1837–1865
Pressed felt, 5 1/2 × 13 1/2 inches
References: Garvan and Wojtowicz 1977, 130–131.
RS 6325


Confusion at early fire sites made it necessary for different volunteer fire companies to have some way to distinguish their members quickly. Brightly colored parade hats, or “stovepipes,” served this purpose. Usually made of pressed felt, these hats were often elaborately decorated with mythological figures, patriotic symbols, or images of famous individuals that had some relevance to the fire company. They often bore the names or initials of their owners. This example belonged to a member of the Moyamensing Hose Company, founded in Philadelphia in 1837. It was originally located on Eighth Street below South Street, and most of its members came from that area. The top of the hat is decorated with a human eye. The company ceased to use this form of hat in 1865 when it began to use New York–style helmets.

  


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