Milwaukee Mechanics' Mutual 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 Milwaukee Mechanics’ Mutual Insurance Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin issued this cast iron fire mark around 1853. The oval fire mark has raised text in the center that reads “Milwaukee Mechanics.” The Milwaukee Mechanics’ Mutual Insurance Company operated from 1852 until 1885, when it was reorganized as a stock company called the Milwaukee Mechanics’ Insurance Company.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1853
maker
unknown
Physical Description
cast iron (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 5 3/4 in x 8 in; 14.605 cm x 20.32 cm
ID Number
2005.0233.0545
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.0545
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
subject
Fire Fighting
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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