The brim decorations on a traditional fire helmet date are meant to be evocative of the various Corona (crowns) of the Roman Era. Most notably was the “Corona Civica” – (Civic Crown) – which was a crown woven with three different types of oak leaves and was presented to a Roman citizen who saved the life of a fellow citizen by slaying an enemy in battle. . . At times the Corona Civica, (crown of oak leaves) was also conferred on public figures who had been of great service to Rome.
Although it’s has origins into the 1820s, Henry Gratacap is credited with perfecting and popularizing the shape and style of the traditional fire helmet starting in 1839. Gratacap followed the tradition and style of other nineteenth century fire helmet manufacturers by stamping a unique pattern (in his case a distinct decorative “flower”) around the brim.
Other fire helmet manufacturers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries developed their own unique decorative leather embossing “patterns” — found around the brim, and also on the combs (sections of leather making up the helmet’s crown).