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

Excelsior Fire Company Belt
Leather, 2 1/4 × 39 1/4 inches
Engraved with maker’s name on German silver plate: “Cairns & Bro. 143 Grand Street, N.Y.”
References: Garvan and Wojtowicz 1977, 135, illus.
RS 6318


Firemen’s belts came into use during the mid-nineteenth century when fire companies initially supplied them to their directors as a means to hold their spanners and wrenches. By the 1850s belts evolved into a decorative uniform accessory that was used by all fire company members. In this example the name “Excelsior” is printed in white leather letters sewn onto a black leather insert.

  


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