Fire Engine Plate, "U.S.H. Company"

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 plate with rounded corners is made of tin-plated iron and features the text “U.S.H. Co.” engraved and painted in a light beige color. The plate and the painted text has been chipped and worn. The initials likely stand for “United States Hose Company.” Volunteer hose companies took this patriotic name in both New York City and Philadelphia.
Currently not on view
Physical Description
iron (overall material)
tin (overall material)
overall: 9 5/16 in x 2 5/16 in; 23.6982 cm x 5.9182 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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