Fire Engine Plate, "Weccacoe"

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 brass fire engine plate belonged to the Weccacoe Fire Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Weccacoe was founded on May 1st, 1800, incorporated in 1833, and operated until Philadelphia founded its own municipal fire department in 1871. The brief-lived Weccacoe Hose Company was formed by disgruntled members of Weccacoe Fire Company in 1842, following a political split over temperance and nativist sentiments. The curved plate is engraved with the text “WECCACOE” in a fancy text script that is filled with black enamel and outlined in gold. The curved plate is engraved with the text “WECCACOE” in a fancy text script that is filled with black enamel and outlined in gold.
Currently not on view
Object Name
plate, fire engine
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
overall: 19 1/4 in x 5 in; 48.895 cm x 12.7 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
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, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection

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