Dutchess County 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 Dutchess County Insurance Company of Poughkeepsie, New York issued this cast iron fire mark in 1814. The circular mark has a nail hanger at the top, a raised profile image of a Native American wearing a headdress, with the raised initials “DFMLC” around the bottom. The Dutchess County Insurance Company operated from 1814 until around 1828. The initials “F M L” refer to the types of insurance written by the company, “Fire, Marine and Life.”
Currently not on view
date made
Physical Description
cast iron (overall material)
overall: 10 5/8 in x 11 5/8 in; 26.9875 cm x 29.5275 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, Kenneth E. Behring Center


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