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Title [Tompkinsville Fire Police Company]
Object Name Print, Photographic
Date ca. 1865-1875
Description Original B&W print. Photographic portrait of three men in uniforms of the Tompkinsville Fire Police Company, identified as Eduard Meurer, Carl Schaefer, and George Meurer. It is a full-length group portrait; the men wear hats marked "T F P C"; they have shield-shaped badges with attached whistles on their coats, and they wear uniform belts that hold nightsticks with attached tassels. Their coats and trousers are all different. They stand on a patterned floor; a cloth-covered table is partially visible at the left edge of the scene. Unidentified objects appear behind or possibly beneath the men's feet, as if they might be stands to assist in the posing of the portrait. The print measures 9 inches x 7 inches, and it is attached to a cardboard mount measuring 11 x 7 inches.
(Keywords: Firefighter, Watchman, Occupational Clothing)
Print size 9 x 7
Acquisition Gift of Lillian Meurer
Ownership and History Two brothers and a brother-in-law are identified as the subjects of this photograph: Eduard Meurer, Carl Schaefer, and George Meurer, of Stapleton, Staten Island. Eduard Meurer was the founder (in 1866) of the furnishings and interior decorating business that bore his name; it was later run by his son, Eduard C. Meurer. Carl Schaefer was in related business, identified as a furniture dealer. All three men immigrated from Germany in the 1850s.

The Tompkinsville Fire Police Company was incorporated by the New York State Legislature in 1862, but may have been organized a few years earlier. Its purpose was "to save and protect property at fires, have the custody of the same during and until after any fire, and to arrest all depredators upon such property, and take them before a magistrate to be dealt with according to law."

A badge like those worn in the portrait, reportedly owned by George Meurer, is also in the Staten Island Historical Society's collection.
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Earliest Date 1865
Latest Date 1875
Subjects Fire fighters
Fire fighting
Law enforcement
Lexicon Sub-category Documentary Artifact
Associated People Schaefer, Carl
Meurer, Eduard
Catalog Number 50.012.0001
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Staten Island Historical Society, 2011.
Legal Status Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.