Fire Engine Plate, "Goodwill Hose"

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 engine plate likely belonged to the Goodwill Hose Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that was founded on March 1, 1834. The plate has raised lettering with gold coloring that reads “GOODWILL HOSE” over a red background. The back of the plate has two bolts and nuts that allowed it to be attached to the engine.
Currently not on view
date made
19th century
place made
United States
Physical Description
iron (overall material)
overall: 2 1/4 in x 7 7/8 in; 5.715 cm x 20.0025 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 Engine Plates
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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