Insurance Company of North America Fire Mark

Description (Brief)
Beginning in the 1750s, some American insurance companies issued metal fire marks to policyholders to signify that their property was insured against fire damage. The fire marks bore the name and/or symbol of the insurer, and some included the customer’s policy number. The company or agent would then affix the mark to the policyholder’s home or business. For owners the mark served as proof of insurance and a deterrent against arson. For insurance companies the mark served as a form of advertising, and alerted volunteer firefighters that the property was insured.
The Insurance Company of North America issued an eagle fire mark from 1796 until 1800. The INA commissioned these marks from sculptor Claudius Francis LeGrand, and paid him $512 for 256 fire marks. Starting in 1796, INA offered their policyholders a choice between their previous star-shaped mark (which cost $1.33) and the eagle mark (which cost $2.00). This fire mark consisted of a leaden image of a spread-winged eagle arising from a cloud, affixed to a wooden oval. A group of influential citizens in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania founded the Insurance Company of North America in 1792. The INA was the first joint stock insurance company in the United States, and focused its business on marine and fire insurance. The Insurance Company of North America and related companies merged with the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company in 1982 to become the CIGNA Corporation. A later sale made INA a part of ACE Holdings, where it still operates today.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
ca. 1796
maker
unknown
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
lead (overall material)
Measurements
board: 14 in x 10 5/8 in; 35.56 cm x 26.9875 cm
eagle: 10 1/4 in x 8 1/4 in; 26.035 cm x 20.955 cm
overall: wt 2.4375 lb
ID Number
2005.0233.0384
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.0384
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
subject
Insurance
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Work
Cultures & Communities
Advertising
Firefighting Collection
Fire Marks
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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