Fire Badge "Brooklyn E.D. Fire Department 1441"

This metal badge was used by a member of the Brooklyn Fire Department, Eastern District between 1855 and 1869 in Brooklyn, New York. Brooklyn and New York City were separate municipalities until 1898. The Brooklyn Eastern District Fire Department was organized when the city of Williamsburg was consolidated into Brooklyn, and was separate from the Brooklyn Western District Fire Department until the institution of the paid department in 1870. The oval badge’s rim is encircled by a hose and is topped by a crossed speaking trumpets and a fire nozzle. The badge reads “BROOKLYN E.D./FIRE DEPARTMENT” on upper and lower banners with the brass badge number “1441” raised in the center.
Metal firefighter’s badges were a part of the firefighter’s uniform since volunteer companies began to proliferate in the early 19th century. As volunteer companies gave way to municipal fire departments during the mid–19th century, these badges became mandated by uniform codes. Badges served as official identification at fire scenes, as access to derelict buildings by unscrupulous citizens could result in looting. Fire badges came in a variety of shapes, most notably circular, shield–shaped, or the Maltese cross. While shield–shaped badges were often worn on the chest, circular and cross-shaped badges can be seen on jacket lapels or soft caps. Badges usually detailed the company’s name, number and department, and were often decorated with various symbols of the profession such as hose carriages, hand–pumped engines, hoses, trumpets, helmets, hooks, and ladders. For paid municipal companies, many badges also featured the badge number of the wearer.
Currently not on view
Object Name
badge, fireman's
fire badge
date made
late 19th or early 20th century
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 2 1/4 in x 2 1/4 in; 5.715 cm x 5.715 cm
place made
United States: New York, Brooklyn
associated place
United States: New York, Brooklyn
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Firefighting Collection
Fire Badges
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Fire Badges
Firefighting Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection

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