For life or death

sub titled: 'Heroism on land'

Reference Number:- Sprake Number:- Godden Number:-
st 232 STG190 26a

Image of old fire engine with firemen, being drawn by two horses
{old fire engine with firemen, being drawn by two horses, racing to a house on fire}

Woven on silk:-

Printed at bottom of card-mount:-


For Life or Death.


cm deep by cm wide

cm high by cm wide

by Austin Sprake:
A later steam fire-engine drawn by only two horses, with three boys and dog, racing to a burning cottage. 

by Geoffrey Godden:
There are two distinct versions of this subject but both depict a horse-drawn fire engine. The first [st228 on this site] shows four horses drawing the engine, with a fifth horse and rider spurring them on. A three-storey house is seen in flames in the top left-hand corner of the picture.
That version of FOR LIFE OR DEATH was registered on 2 April 1880, the title first appearing on label 13 and most examples being found with type B card-mounts. The sub-heading to this title is 'Heroism on Land', and the pair to it is CALLED TO THE RESCUE - HEROISM AT SEA.
The second version, above, shows only two horses drawing a fire engine to a fire at a farmhouse or cottage (not the earlier three-storey house). Three boys and a dog are running along the road with the fire engine. This scenes bears the same title as the earlier picture, so the back-labels do not help us to date the introduction of this one; but the probable period is about 1900, when the type E card-mounts were in use.
However, from label 29+38 the new title THE FIRE ENGINE was used, replacing FOR LIFE OR DEATH, which was discontinued on label 23+31a [although there are no known silks with this title actually printed on the card-mount].
Some card-mounts have, in addition to the title in English, the French and German versions - "L'incendie" and "Die Rettung Naht" [see st654 on this site].

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This page was created on 14 December 2003
new image added 17 May 2015 © Peter Daws
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