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 New Orleans, Louisiana issued this fire mark around 1875. The Firemen’s Insurance fire mark consisted of a raised image of an early fire hydrant with hose attached, surrounded by the letters F.I. Co. in the center of a cast iron oval. This fire mark has been painted: the plug is red with gold stripes, the hose is black, the grass is green, and the letters are gold. This fire mark’s symbol is taken from the imagery associated with the Fire Association of Philadelphia. The Firemen’s Insurance Company of New Orleans operated from 1875 until 1898.
Currently not on view
Object Name
fire mark
date made
ca 1875
Physical Description
cast iron (overall material)
overall: 11 1/2 in x 7 3/4 in; 29.21 cm x 19.685 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Fire Fighting
Cultures & Communities
Firefighting Collection
Fire Marks
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Firefighting Collection
Fire Marks
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection

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