Fire Badge "2nd Asst. Engineer Franklin Hose"

This shield-shaped metal fire badge was used by a member of the Franklin Hose Company No. 6 in an unidentified locale. The badge belonged to a second assistant engineer of the company, likely with the initials “MJL” that are inscribed on the bottom of the badge. The badge has a decorative etching around the rim, and bears the inscription “2nd/ASST.ENGINEER/FRANKLIN/F6D/HOSE/MJL.”
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
date made
late 19th century
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 2 in x 1 1/4 in; 5.08 cm x 3.175 cm
place made
United States
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

Visitor Comments

8/25/2015 10:38:12 PM
mark berthiaume
I see the location for the this badge is unknown. I believe it came from kingston ny. Franklin hose company was formed in the mid 1800's and eventually became Wiener Hose compamy #6. I volunteer at the Fire Museum in Kingston and have only seen a sketch of the badge and we have only a set of meeting minutes from the company to changing names.
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