Franklin 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 Franklin Insurance Company of St. Louis, Missouri issued this zinc fire mark around 1855. The shield-shaped mark has raised text that reads “FRANKLIN/INSURANCE/Co./ST.LOUIS.” The fire mark has been painted green, which is faded in some areas. The Franklin Insurance Company operated from 1855 until 1906.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
fire mark
date made
ca 1855
maker
unknown
Physical Description
zinc (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 5 5/8 in x 7 3/8 in; 14.2875 cm x 18.7325 cm
place made
United States: Missouri
ID Number
2005.0233.0529
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.0529
subject
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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