Firemen's Insurance Company 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 Firemen's Insurance Company of Washington and Georgetown issued this fire mark in 1838. The circular cast iron mark has a raised image of a Philadelphia-style double-deck end stroke engine in the center, with a raised text above that reads “Firemen’s/I. Co.” The Firemen's Insurance Company was founded in 1837 in Washington, DC and is presently still in operation under the name Firemen’s Insurance Company of Washington. This mark is similar to that of the Firemen's Insurance Company of Baltimore, Maryland.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
fire mark
date made
1838
maker
unknown
Physical Description
cast iron (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 13 1/4 in; 33.655 cm
ID Number
2005.0233.0495
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.0495
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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