Fire Engine Plate, "Northern Liberty"

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 silver plated brass plate was probably used by the Northern Liberty Fire Company No. 1 of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company was instituted on May 1st, 1756 and operated on the corner of Cable Lane and Callowhill Road. The rectangular plate has the text “NORTHERN LIBERTY” engraved in fancy calligraphic letters. There are three holes at the top that would have been used for mounting.
Currently not on view
date made
19th century
place made
United States
Physical Description
brass, silver plated (overall material)
overall: 3 3/4 in x 26 1/2 in; 9.525 cm x 67.31 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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