overall: 17 3/4 in x 7 in x 8 1/2 in; 45.085 cm x 17.78 cm x 21.59 cm
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
Competition, fraternal bonds and honorable service were the hallmarks of 19th century fire companies, and ornate trophies served as recognition of these values. Trophies were often presented to veteran officers in appreciation of their service. One fire company might give a commemorative trophy to another as a goodwill offering or in gratitude for their hospitality. Trophies and other awards could also be won in competitions between fire companies to demonstrate their professional skills, or even in sporting contests like baseball.
This coin silver ewer was made in 1858 by R&W Wilson Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The pitcher was presented by the Hibernia Fire Engine Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a trophy to Colonel James Page in recognition for his service and leadership. The engraving reads, “Hibernia Fire Engine Company, No. 1 Instituted February 20, 1752. To Col. James Page, their President, In testimony of their esteem for him as a faithful member and efficient officer.” Page was elected a member of Hibernia in 1821 and served three times as the company's President. A lawyer by training, James Page was a veteran of the war of 1812, and an illustrious figure in Philadelphia. In addition to his service as President of Hibernia Fire Company, Colonel Page held many other public positions throughout his life including the Postmaster of Philadelphia, President of the Democratic State Association, Commissioner for the erection of new public buildings, Collector of the Port of Philadelphia, and Commissioner of Bankruptcy.