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The leather helmet is an international symbol of firefighters dating to the early years of firefighting.

Typically, traditional leather helmets have a brass eagle adornment affixed to the helmet's top front of the helmet to secure a leather shield to the helmet front.

For centuries, firefighters have worn helmets to protect them from heat, cinders and falling objects.

Henry Gratacap, a foreman in the New York City Fire Department, was among the most well-known early fire-helmet makers.

This exhibit allows visitors to compare firefighting today to what it was like a century or more ago.

One of the most interesting stories, not told elsewhere in the City, is that of the early days of fire fighting in New York.

Opening his business in 1836, Gratacap was the main producer of New York City fire hats for the next three decades.

He added the eagle shield holder to his helmets, which extended from the cap’s peak to hold a large shield insignia over the front brim.

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