Fire Engine Plate, "Chelsea"

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 rectangular metal engine plate is engraved with the word “CHELSEA” in calligraphic letters. There are intertwined decorative engravings at each end of the plate. This plate was probably from an engine in the fire service of Chelsea, Massachusetts after 1835.
Currently not on view
place made
United States
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 1 1/2 in x 18 in; 3.81 cm x 45.72 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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