Fire Engine Plate, "Columbia"

Description (Brief)
At the core of any fire company is the apparatus used to fight fires and protect lives. This was particularly true of for the volunteer fire fighters in 19th century America. Often purchased with their own funds, their fire engines were the focus of their pride and affection, as well as their identities as fire fighters. Engine plates, often made of brass, would be prominently affixed to engines and inscribed with the company name, number, and founding date. Engine plates could pass from old engine to new, or be kept in the firehouse as a memorial to a departed apparatus.
This metal plate was used by the Columbia Hose Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the 19th century. This rectangular plate with scalloped corners bears the text “COLUMBIA” in black block shadowed letters. The initials “R A” are inscribed in script below “Columbia.” The sides of the plate have holes with bolts in them, showing where the plate would be attached to the engine.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
19th century
maker
unknown
place made
United States
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 2 1/4 in x 8 in; 5.715 cm x 20.32 cm
ID Number
2005.0233.0919
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.0919
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
subject
Fire Fighting
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Work
Cultures & Communities
Firefighting Collection
Fire Engine Plates
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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