Fire Department Patches and the Cincinnati Fire Department



Lapel pins are not the only way to denote pride in your club or organization. Embroidered patches worn on jacket sleeves or backpacks perform well, look stylish, and have room for customization. Both accessories, however, are used by fire departments all across the United States (and over the world). Each fire department patch is the signature of the unit’s pride, location, and what the men do. In honor of all the men and women who serve in volunteer and professional fire departments, we at PinProsPlus would like to spread some knowledge. We’re here today to tell you about the United States’ first professional fire department and what are fire department patches.


Brighton's Bravest Fire Department design by PinProsPlus.

The Cincinnati Fire Department

Until 1853, America ran on volunteer fire departments. Conscientious members of society, who did not necessarily have formal training, would band together to fight the flames that would crop up. For that stretch of time, it worked. However, one man from Cincinnati, Ohio, did not think it worked well enough. Let us introduce Miles Greenwood, owner of Miles Greenwood’s Eagle Ironworks. His business was damaged greatly by a fire in 1852. He was displeased with how the situation was handled and believed that the current engines were insufficient to respond to fires. He and two other men from the town worked together to invent a more practical steam-powered fire engine than those created before. They were successful in cutting down the start-up time to 10 minutes, a much more reasonable response time.

Greenwood and company presented their finished product to the city council in 1853. The results were pleasing, so much so that they men were contracted to make more. That same year, Cincinnati became the first city with a steam-powered fire department. Their improved techniques also spurred officials to make them a professional organization instead of leaving the fires to volunteers.



Example of a patch by PinProsPlus.


What Are Firefighter Patches?

You may be wondering “why does it matter? Who cares that Cincinnati had the first professional fire department?” Having a professional fire department fills many with pride that their work is worthwhile and respected. This blossomed from a general feeling to individual pride. Each member's feelings are showcased by the firefighter patches they wear. These patches represent the departments and what they do. They display everything from the location of the organization, the colors of the town, or the types of calls that necessitate the fire department’s help. The men and women in each unit wear their custom fire department patches with pride and show off their units. Others collect the patches when offered for charities or during fund raisers.  Wherever you look, whoever owns a patch is glad to have it.

Are you in a fire department? Do you have a favorite patch? Let us know!

We at PinProsPlus are always glad to give you a little lesson on history as well as thank those who work so hard for us. If your organization wants any lapel pins or patches, or if you want to thank your favorite fire fighter with a gift, call us to get your free quote!