Fire Engine Plate, "Phoenix"

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 in use by the Phoenix Fire Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Phoenix Fire Company was located on St. James Street in Philadelphia and operated from 1808 until 1821. The oval metal plate bears a central hand-painted image of a spread-winged phoenix rising from a fire. The mythical bird is flanked by red banners bearing the name "PHOENIX."
Currently not on view
date made
place made
United States
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 9 1/4 in x 20 1/4 in; 23.495 cm x 51.435 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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