Fire Badge "Morristown Fire Dept."

Description
This round silver plated fire badge with number 72 belonged to a member of the fire department of Morristown, New Jersey. A riveted fire hose is depicted around the rim of the badge, with two crossed fire trumpets at its bottom. The badge has a stippled background with an upper banner that reads “MORRISTOWN” and a lower banner that reads “FIRE DEP’T.” with a brass number “72” 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.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
badge, fireman's
date made
late 19th century
maker
unknown
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 1 5/8 in x 1 7/8 in; 4.1275 cm x 4.7625 cm
place made
United States
associated place
United States: New Jersey, Morristown
ID Number
2005.0233.1289
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.1289
subject
Work
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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