A fireman of the Birmingham Alliance Fire Office wore this helmet. At this time brigades were privately owned by fire offices and were employed to put out fires only in properties insured with the office. This helmet is made from brass and leather, with a peak made from tinned sheet iron. Until the mid-19th century firemen wore top hats. By 1866, Birmingham had five fire brigades and 12 engines. By modern standards, the equipment was poor, but a hand squirt could be effective in the hands of a skilled man who knew where to put the water and was not afraid to go near to the seat of the fire.