TRIVETOLOGY

Collecting, cleaning, displaying, researching, and appreciating TRIVETS and related go-withs!

Volunteer Firemens Association NYC horseshoe plaque trivet

The majority of horseshoe plaque trivets date from the late 1800’s through the early 1900’s, paralleling a period when fraternal orders were at their peak of popularity. For an overview of horseshoe plaque trivets and my research on antique glitter, see my blog post Merry Christmas 1888.

This handsome horseshoe plaque trivet features an unusual design.

●  Composition: cast iron with a gold wash and a subdued silvery-grey glitter.

●  Dimensions: 6 3/8″ x 4 1/8″, flat on the reverse with backcoping.

●  On Face: VOLUNTEER FIREMENS ASSOCIATION N.Y. CITY

●  On Reverse: DESIGN PAT APL’D FOR BY C. J. HOAG

From my experience only about 10% of horseshoe plaque trivets are signed DESIGN PAT APL’D FOR BY C. J. HOAG on the reverse. They are among the most nicely cast of all horseshoe plaque trivets. I have not yet been able to document C. J. Hoag or a company registered in that name.

In 1892 Benjamin S. Whitehead and Chester R. Hoag incorporated Whitehead & Hoag of Newark, New Jersey. That company was famous for their use of celluloid in making banners, fraternal badges, campaign buttons and bookmarks, and would be a natural for distributing fraternal plaques. However, I’ve been unable to substantiate a relationship between Whitehead & Hoag Company and C. J. Hoag.

Researching the Newark, New Jersey Hoag family genealogy reveals that Chester R. had a son named Chester Jr., but he died in early childhood. Further investigation did not reveal any other Hoag brothers working for Whitehead & Hoag, or in business at the same time. If you have any documentation on C. J. Hoag, please Contact Me.

Plated brass badge, 2 11/16″ x 1 3/4″, numbered 1337.
Images courtesy of Ron Burkey of Flying Tiger Antiques.

The Volunteer Firemen’s Association of New York City was founded on December 22, 1883 as a fraternal social organization for former firefighters that provided fellowship as well as a burial benefit. The badge above, circa 1890s, features the same design and inscription as my horseshoe plaque trivet. It more clearly shows the design of a fire helmet surrounded by the firefighter’s equipment. Note the American eagle with wings spread at the top of the shield; the individual’s membership number would have been engraved in the small panel at the bottom. The National Museum of American History describes this badge and its history in further detail.

What was firefighting like in the late 1880s? Fire horses were in use from the end of the Civil war to 1911, when they began to be replaced by motorized vehicles. “Fire horses served for only half a century, but their introduction heralded the most stirring and romantic time in firefighting history.” That quote and the following video “Firefighting in the Horse-Drawn Era – Getting There” are shared on YouTube courtesy of the Aurora (Illinois) Regional Fire Museum.