Mutual Assurance 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.
This fire mark was issued by the Mutual Assurance Company of the City of New York. The fire mark has an oval upper portion that bears the text “MUTUAL ASSURANCE” painted in gold. The lower portion is rectangular and bears the policy number “3617” painted in gold. The border of the upper oval and lower rectangle has a golden trim. The Mutual Assurance Company originally operated as a mutual insurer from 1787 to 1809 when it became a stock insurance company. It operated until 1846, when its name was changed to the Knickerbocker Fire Insurance Company.
Currently not on view
date made
Physical Description
tinned sheet iron (overall material)
overall: 7 in x 8 1/4 in; 17.78 cm x 20.955 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
Fire Fighting
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Cultures & Communities
Firefighting Collection
Fire Marks
Data Source
National Museum of American History