Original French 19th Century Brass Fire Helmet Shell with Horsehair Comb - Casque de Pompier
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a fine complete example of an all original French brass Casque de Pompier (fire helmet) shell, with horsehair attached to the top comb. The helmet is missing the front plate, which would have identified the area it was used in, however it still has the movable front visor with the crossed fire axes, a definitely sign it is for fire brigade use. It has a lovely rigid brass chin strap, which was most likely kept secured together in the front of the helmet.
The Helmet shell is in good condition, though the liner and chin strap are completely missing. The small socket on the left side for a hackle or cockade is still present, but the cockade unfortunately isn't. There is definitely deformation to the top comb, which is crushed inward on the left side, and separated from the top strip that holds the horse hair.. This definitely looks like a helmet that saw actual service.
These helmets were issued to the "Sapeurs Pompiers". The fire service in France is known as Sapeurs-pompiers. Pompier (firefighter) etymologically comes from the concept of pumping (water) & refers to the manual pumps that were originally used. Sapeur means "sapper" & refers to the 1st official firefighting unit created by Napoleon I which was part of the military engineering arm.
A fine example of a classic fire helmet shell dating from the latter half of the 19th century. Most attractive and ready to research and display!
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