South St. Louis Mutual Fire and Marine 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 South St. Louis Mutual Fire and Marine Insurance Company of St. Louis, Missouri issued this zinc fire mark in 1859.The oval fire mark features raised text that reads “SOUTH/St. LOUIS/MUTUAL.” The mark shows remnants of red paint. The South St. Louis Mutual Fire and Marine Insurance Company operated from 1859 to around 1878.
Currently not on view
Object Name
fire mark
date made
Physical Description
zinc (overall material)
overall: 5 3/4 in x 7 15/16 in; 14.605 cm x 20.16125 cm
place made
United States: Missouri
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
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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