Fire Engine Plate, "Northern Liberty No. 1"

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 shield-shaped brass engine plate was used by the Northern Liberty Fire Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that was founded in 1756. The plate is mounted onto a larger wooden shield. Engraved on the shield is “NORTHERN LIBERTY/No 1/FIRE Co.” There is a hole at the top of the shield for mounting.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
1756
maker
unknown
place made
United States
Physical Description
brass plate, once silver plated (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 5 1/2 in x 9 in; 13.97 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
2005.0233.0937
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.0937
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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