I've become interested in silver produced as presentation pieces for fire companies. While doing some searching I came across a "A Complete History of the Boston Fire Department" from 1889 which is available online. http://archive.org/stream/completehistoryo00bray/completehistoryo00bray_djvu.txt
Try doing a search for "silver" in the book. There are numerous references to medals and badges (and trumpets?), but I found the following two sections really compelling:
HISTORY OF BOSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT. p.159
(1825) The changes among the officers of the department were : No. 6, Lazai'us
Bowker, vice Captain Walcott. No. 7, J. Colby, clerk, vice HUls. No. 10,
James Shephard, vice Captain Veazie ; and Thomas Furber, clerk, vice Shephard,
promoted. No. 12, Luther Felton, vice Captain Adams; and Peter B. Clark,
clerk, vice Samuels. No. 13, Samuel H. Remick, mce Captain Hammond. No.
14, Alexander H. Jennings, vice Captain Bird. No. 17, Charles Dudley, vice
Captain Stetson. In the board of firewards the changes were : Ward 1, Wil-
liam Collier, Horace H. Watson, and Henry S. Kent, vice Pratt, Orcutt, and
Trask. Ward 2, Aaron Wallis, vice Chandler. Ward 3, Thomas Tivell, vice
Holbrook. Ward 4, George Riley, vice Thomas Melville, who declined reelec-
tion. Ward 5, John Hall, David Thacher, and D. C. Greenleaf, vice Thaxter,
Alien, and Annable. Ward 6, Samuel F. Coolidge and Daniel Brown, vice
Adams and Shepley. Ward 7, Asa Richardson vice Stephen Codman.
Ward 8, Thomas H. Perkins, Jr., and James Hamilton, vice B. P. Tilden and
Brigham. Ward 9, Nathaniel Richards, vice Harris. Ward 12, Brewster Rey-
nolds, vice Williams. As we have said, Thomas Melville declined serving for
a longer period, on which occasion the board, on April 27, passed the fol-
lowing vote : –
That the thanks of this board, for themselves and in behalf of their fellow-citizens, be
presented to Thomas Melville, Esq., for the zeal, intrepidity, and judgment with which he
has on all occasions discharged his duty as a fireward of this city for forty-six years in suc-
cession, and for twenty-five years as chairman of the board. We regret his voluntary
retirement, but he carries with him our best wishes that the remainder of his life may be as
happy and tranquil as his public services liave been useful and acceptable. Voted, that
the secretary cause the above vote to be published in such of the newspapers in this city as
he may deem proper. Whereupon a committee was chosen to procure a handsome silver pitcher,
at a cost of $70, and present it to him. In acknowledging the receipt of
which he sent the following letter : –
Boston, June 22, 1825.
Gentlemen, – Your vote of the 27th April last, and the elegant tribute of respect
which accompanied it, by the hands of your committee, on the loth inst. , have laid
me under a debt of gratitude which, though I do not wish to be free from, I can never
adequately repay. Memory yet lingers, and always will fondly linger, on the many
happy intimacies I have formed, the many social hours I have passed, and the many
heartfelt satisfactions I have experienced in your society, and while I look back on our
intercourse with it, which has continued uninterrupted for nearly half a century, it is
to me a consoling reflection, that I have only complied with my duty in retiring from those
fatigues and labors which age would soon have rendered me incompetent, usefully and ac-
ceptably, to perform. Often as the rich libation shall be poured forth, or the invigorating
draught imbibed, from the vessel you have presented, will the spirit and motives which
induced the bestowment of it be remembered, and the many interesting ties which bind me
to its donors be renovated and strengthened ; not only so, but I trust it will be tenderly and
faithfully preserved by descendants, as a testimony of your generosity and their gratitude,
long after my silver cord of life shall be loosed and my life's pitcher broken at its fountain.
My ardent wishes are directed with solicitude for your prosperity ; may your labors long
prove successful, your intercourse pleasant, and your felicity be continually increasing;
and when time or circumstances shall dissolve your social union, may your valuable ser-
vices receive a rich reward in the approbation and blessings of a grateful community.
With great consideration and respect, I am, gentlemen, your most obedient servant,
To THE Board of Firewakds.
HISTORY OF BOSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT. p.302
(1874) Smoking on the streets by members was forbidden, December 1, as was
riding on the apparatus when returning from fires. Horses were ordered, on
the 11th, to be exercised for two liours daily, except on those days when they
were called out upon an alarm of fire. In exercising they were not to be
taken beyond a radius of one-eighth of a mile from their respective houses.
In the event of the bursting of any street water-pipe, the superintendent of
tlie eastern division of the Boston Water Works was authorized to require
the temporary service of a steam fire-engine. A physical examination was
required to be passed by all applicants for the position of firemen, which
examination was made by Dr. S. A. Green, city physician.Ex-Chief Damrell was presented with a silver service, valued at $3,000, at a public
meeting at Tremont Temple on April 28, the presentation speech being made
by ex-Mayor the Hon. William Gaston. Speeches were also made by several
prominent citizens. Ex-Chief Engineer John Stanhope Damrell is a native
of Boston, having been bora at the North End, on June 29, 1828. He was
left an orphan at the age of seven years, and found hhnself dependent upon
his own energies for the means of subsistence. Having neither money nor
influential friends, his self-reliant nature was at once called into action, and as
quickly asserted itself.
Experience soon taught him that to succeed he must
do whatever he undertook with thoroughness, alacrity, and intelligence ;
that he must be master of, or master in, whatever calling he might choose.
This showed him the necessity of an education, and by the most diligent
industry and the strictest economy he was able to save enough for support
while attending the grammar school, from which he graduated at the age of
He then eutei'ed upon an apprenticeship with a carpenter, in which he
continued four years, when he was engaged as a journeyman, with full wages,
and for eight years he was engaged as workman or foreman. In 1856 he
went into business for himself as master-builder, achieving remai'kable suc-
cess and a competent fortune. In 1877 he received the appointment of
Inspector of Buildings of the City of Boston, from Hon. F. O. Prince, who
was then Mayor, and has held that important office ever since.
Early in life Captain Damrell developed a taste for fire duty. He first
joined Hero PLugine Company No. 6, located on Derne street, and upon the
disbandment of that company entered the ranks of the City Hose Company.
Subsequently' he allied himself with Cataract Engine Company No. 4, and in
it he held every office in the gift of his comrades. As company commander
he Avas popular throughout the whole department, particularly with his own
company, which, on July 4, 1856, presented him with a solid-silver trumpet.
Resigning his position as foreman in 1867, he was elected a member of the
Common Council from Ward 6, and in that body was active and useful.
During his term of office as foreman of the Cataract company, the com-
mittee of the City Council to nominate a chief engineer unanimously tendered
to him that oflftce, which he declined. He was subsequently chosen assistant
engineer of the fire department, to which position he was reelected for ten
consecutive years, when he was called to the office of chief engineer. The
election which led to this result was one of the most exciting local struggles
in the history of the department, or that ever occupied the attention of the
City Council. His competitor was Assistant Engineer Chamberlain, for the
nomination of whom a petition was presented to the Committee on Nomina-
tions ; and this, together with the influence of political friends, had the desired
effect, – thirteen of the fifteen members of the committee giving their support
to Mr. Chamberlain. But, upon tlie thirty-seventh ballot on the part of the
Board of Aldermen, Captain Damrell was declared elected, and he was
reelected for eight consecutive terms. Captain Damrell has been presented
with a number of valuable gifts from the members of the department and
friends. The City Council gave him a solid-silver trumpet January 4, 1869.