People'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 People's Insurance Company, New Orleans, Louisiana issued this fire mark around 1871. The shield-shaped brass mark has a central image of a fireman with trumpet in hand. The fireman’s pose is similar to the one taken by the subject in the Currier and Ives print, “The American Fireman: Rushing to the Conflict.” There is text around the mark that reads “THE PEOPLE’S/INSURANCE.” The People’s Insurance Company operated from 1871 until 1887.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1871
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
overall: 11 1/8 in x 9 5/16 in; 28.2575 cm x 23.65375 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
Fire Fighting
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Cultures & Communities
Firefighting Collection
Fire Marks
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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