Protection Mutual Fire 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 Protection Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Thomaston, Maine issued this tinned sheet iron fire mark in 1849. When issued, the oval mark bore the initials “P.M.F.I.Co.” The text is almost indiscernible due to the effects of fire, possibly the Great Fire of Portland, Maine in 1866.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1849
maker
unknown
place made
United States: Maine
Physical Description
tinned sheet iron (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 6 1/8 in x 8 1/4 in; 15.5575 cm x 20.955 cm
ID Number
2005.0233.0535
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.0535
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
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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