Innovation of the Era!
Early to Mid 1800s

Fashion and the Fireman

As times change, so does fashion. The new hot trend during the 1800's for firemen's uniforms was the red shirt. Usually worn with dark trousers and a leather firemen's helmet, this outfit was worn in social situations, making the wearer instantly recognizable as a fireman. Although different fire companies made the uniform their own by adding a chest shield or other decoration, the red shirt trend spread across the fire companies of America.
The red shirt was the fashion statement for firemen during this time. In addition, some fire companies wore fancy leather belts or suspenders with their fire company name or number on them.
This Currier and Ives lithograph depicts a firefighter from the 1800's dressed in the typical uniform of a firefighter from this era. It also shows the speaking trumpet, which continued to be used by firefighters during this time period to shout orders to other firefighters during a fire. The lithograph is entitled "Rushing to the Conflict," circa 1858.