Fire Badge "Hoboken Engine"

This circular metal fire badge belonged to a member of the Hoboken Fire Department Engine Number 2 who was given badge number 246. The badge has a stippled background with a rim that consists of a riveted hose. A worn silver number “2” is in the center of the badge, flanked by the initials “F” and “D.” Upper and lower banners read “HOBOKEN/ENGINE.” The number “246” is inscribed in a cartouche at the top of the badge. The Hoboken Fire Department was established in 1891 with six companies, so this badge would have been produced after that date.
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
date made
19th century
place made
United States
associated place
United States: New Jersey, Hoboken
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 1 1/2 in x 1 1/2 in; 3.81 cm x 3.81 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Fire Badges
Firefighting Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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