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 St. Louis Mutual Fire and Marine Insurance Company issued this zinc fire mark in 1851. The fire mark is in the shape of a banner, and features the raised text “ST. LOUIS/MUTUAL.” There are tabs on either side of the fire mark that are used to hang the mark. The St. Louis Mutual Fire and Marine Insurance Company operated from 1851 until 1901.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
fire mark
date made
1851
maker
unknown
Physical Description
zinc (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 4 in x 7 in; 10.16 cm x 17.78 cm
place made
United States: Missouri
ID Number
2005.0233.0520
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.0520
subject
Advertising
Work
Cultures & Communities
Firefighting Collection
Fire Marks
Insurance
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

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

Submit a comment or ask a question about this object using the form below. Submissions are moderated and may receive a curator response. Please note that we cannot evaluate or appraise your personal artifacts. For other questions or general inquiries please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.