Fire Badge "Franklin Hose 28"

This shield-shaped metal fire badge belonged to a member of the Franklin Hose Company No. 28 of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Franklin Hose No. 28 was founded in 1838. It purchased the charter of Harmony No. 6 in 1867, and took over that name, dating the badge to before this year. The center of the badge has the number “28” inside a circular cutout. An upper banner on the badge is inscribed “FRANKLIN” and the lower banner reads “HOSE.” The badge is decorated with an inscribed floral motif.
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
Physical Description
silver plated metal (overall material)
overall: 1 1/2 in x 7/8 in; 3.81 cm x 2.2225 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


Add a comment about this object