Mutual Insurance Company of Washington County 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 Mutual Insurance Company of Washington County of Hagerstown, Maryland issued this fire mark around 1847. There is a raised image of two clasped hands in the center of the mark, with upper text that reads “M.I.CO O.W.C.” and a lower text that reads “A.D. 1846.” The Mutual Insurance Company of Washington County operated from 1846 until 1935 in Hagerstown, Maryland.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
fire mark
date made
1847
maker
unknown
Physical Description
cast iron (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 7 3/4 in x 9 5/8 in; 19.685 cm x 24.4475 cm
ID Number
2005.0233.0485
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.0485
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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