New Orleans Mutual Insurance Association 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 New Orleans Mutual Insurance Association of New Orleans, Louisiana issued this fire mark in 1869. The round brass mark features the simple text: “NEW ORLEANS/MUTUAL INSURANCE/ASSOCIATION.” The New Orleans Mutual Insurance Association operated from 1869 until 1874 when it reorganized as a stock insurance company and dropped “Mutual” from its name. The later company operated until 1899.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
fire mark
date made
1869
maker
unknown
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 11 1/4 in; x 28.575 cm
ID Number
2005.0233.0476
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.0476
subject
Fire Fighting
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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