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Museum Collections: Badges

Badges of the S.F.F.D.

The Volunteer Period

From the July 28, 1862 Chief Engineer's report in the Municipal Report: "At the last session of the Legislature, (May 14, 1862), at the recommendation of the Board of Delegates, an Act was passed providing badges to be worn by firemen while on duty.  This, in my opinion, is essential to prevent persons from passing themselves off as firemen for the purpose of plunder, &c. I trust that you honorable body will, to accordance with the requirements of that Act, provide the same."

David Scannell
Chief Engineer

In the Municipal Reports from 1863, 1864 and 1865 listed under the Fire Department the Chief Engineers reports state that the badges were not yet issued.  It appears that the Volunteers of San Francisco were never issued badges even though the City was required to provide them.

The Paid-Call Period - The Shield Design

The first badges of the Department were in the shield design.  In addition to being imprinted with SFFD, the badge also was imprinted with the fireman's company.

The first dress uniform of the Department was a formal coat with a white shirt, tie and a vest.  The members badge was worn on the vest, not on the outside of the coat as is the practice today.

1912 - Engine Co. #4, Water Tower #1, Chemical Co. #1 men standing in front of firehouse
1912 - Engine Co. #4, Water Tower #1, Chemical Co. #1 men standing in front of firehouse

Sometime after 1924, they changed the wearing of the badge from the vest to the outside uniform coat.

During the tenure of Chief Engineer Charles Brennan, from 1929-1943, he changed the design of the badges and it is assumed that the change to wearing the badge on the dress coat occurred at the same time.  Chief Brennan changed the chief officer's badge to the eagle-shield design and changed the company officer's and firemen's badge to the rosette design.

When Bill Murray was the Chief of the Department, from 1956-1971, he changed the badges of the company officers and firemen to the eagle-shield design that is worn today.

The Current Badges Worn By The S.F.F.D.

SFFD Badge 1071 SFFD Badge Lt. Retired
SFFD Badge 1071
SFFD Badge Lt. Retired

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