1953 Firefighters (R701-3)
Bowman Gum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Series Title: Firefighters
ACC No.: R701-3
Manufactured by: Bowman Gum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Country: United States
Number of Cards: 48
Card Dimensions: 2½ × 3¾ inches
Circa: 1953
Checklist: Download


What young person could resist the wail of a siren, the flash of a red truck passing by, and the heroism of firemen. That is what Bowman Gum was counting on when they issued its 1953 set of 64 “Firefighters” cards. A statement on the back of each card notes that the series was produced with the “Cooperation of Uniform Firemen’s and Uniform Fire Officers Associations, City of New York. ”

The fronts of the cards feature multi-color artwork pictures of fire engines, fire boats, and rescue trucks, including many fire fighting machines from the past. The backs of the cards start off with the card logo and card number. A red panel at the top features an admonishment to teach the young card-holders proper fire prevention safety rules. This admonishment qualifies the series as the first “safety” trading card set ever produced. The card caption is located directly beneath the red admonishment panel. Beneath that is a descriptive text describing the fire fighting equipment shown on the card front. To the right of the descriptive text is an illustration which identifies and describes an array of historical and modern fire fighting paraphernalia.

The 64 cards in the series measured 2½ × 3¾ inches and are sequentially numbered from 1 to 64. The American Card Catalog reference number for the series is R701-3.

Image-Guide ¹

The following “Firefighters” Image-Guide shows 600-dpi computer enhanced images of the fronts and backs of all 64 cards. A special thanks to Albert Kramer [1] for loaning his “ Firefighters” collection to scan.

Wrapper & Retailer’s Display Box

There are two know wrappers and display boxes associated with the series. Both “Firefighters ” wrappers feature a “Fire Truck.” The two Retailer’s Display Boxes also feature the same Fire Truck as shown on the wrappers.


  1. Albert B. (Al) Kramer: Card images from the Kramer Non-Sports Trade Card Collection.
  2. John A. Shupek: Card images from the Skytamer Archive Digital Image Database.
  3. Vladislav Kuchta, Prague, Czech Republic: R703-1 “Firefighters” wrappers and retail display box scans from the Kuchta Collection.

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