Fire Badge "Morrisania F.D."

This circular metal fire badge was used by a member of the Morrisania Fire Department No. 1 from the South Bronx, New York. The badge has a rim made to resemble a riveted fire hose, with a small plaque at the top that is inscribed with the number “18.” The badge has a stippled background and bears the text “MORRISANIA/F.D.” in raised letters. A raised number “1” of white metal is in the center of the badge. The Morrisania Fire Department operated from 1856 until 1874, when the Borough of The Bronx became part of the City of New York and the FDNY took over firefighting duties.
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
early 20th century
place made
United States
associated place
United States: New York, Bronx
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 1 1/2 in; 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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