Columbia Hose Company of Philadelphia Membership Certificate


This lithograph from circa 1865 is an honorary membership certificate to a fire company in Philadelphia (the Columbia Hose Company). The certificate contains three pictorial vignettes depicting: fire fighters racing a steam engine and hose carriage past Independence Hall; an exterior view of the Columbia Hose Company station on Cherry Street, north of Seventh Street; and volunteers fighting a blaze (on October 3, 1865) with hoses, a steam engine, and ladders at the French & Richards drugstore, located at the northwest corner of Tenth and Market Streets. The vignette of the Columbia Hose Company station shows the station dog, hose carriage, and pedestrian traffic, including a couple looking at the storefront display window of a neighboring building. Fire fighting equipment, including a trumpet, ax, ladder, hose, and belt are drawn bundled together to form side borders and decorative elements on the certificate. Above the decorative elements, the fire company institution date of “1806” is listed. At the top of the certificate are the American eagle and a shield, the Roman numeral for eight (i.e., VIII), and the Columbia Hose Company motto, “The Public Benefit Is Our Desire.” The certificate was issued to Charles Flowers, who was “admitted to membership” on March 4, 1850, and had “honor conferred” on December 5, 1866. The certificate is signed by G.W. Taylor, (President) and William R. Fraley (Secretary). The lithograph is the work of artist James Fuller Queen (circa 1820–86), a Philadelphia lithographer and pioneer chromolithographer known for his attention to detail and composition, and who was himself a volunteer fireman. The firm of P.S. Duval and Son was the printer. Peter S. Duval, one of the most prominent lithographers and printers of his day, was born circa 1804 or 1805 in France. Duval emigrated from France to Philadelphia in the fall of 1831 to accept a job as a lithographer with the printing firm of Childs & Inman. By 1837 he had established his lithographic printing shop and he remained in business until his retirement in 1869.

Last updated: June 30, 2016