Firemen's Insurance Company Fire Mark

Description (Brief):

Beginning in the 1750s, some American insurance companies issued metal fire marks to policyholders to signify that their property was insured against fire damage. The fire marks bore the name and/or symbol of the insurer, and some included the customer’s policy number. The company or agent would then affix the mark to the policyholder’s home or business. For owners the mark served as proof of insurance and a deterrent against arson. For insurance companies the mark served as a form of advertising, and alerted volunteer firefighters that the property was insured.

Description (Brief)

The Firemen's Insurance Company of Baltimore, Maryland issued this fire mark in 1855. The circular cast iron mark has a raised image of a Philadelphia-style double-deck end stroke engine in the center, with a raised text below that reads “F.I. CO.” The text and parts of the engine have been painted gold, which has chipped at points. The Firemen's Insurance Company was founded in 1825, but folded in 1904 due to the losses suffered in the Great Fire of Baltimore.

Date Made: 1855

Maker: unknown

Location: Currently not on view

Classified: Fire FightingSubject: Insurance


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement, Cultures & Communities, Advertising, Work, Firefighting Collection, Fire Marks


Exhibition Location:

Related Publication: McCosker, M.J.. The Historical Collection of Insurance Company of North America

Credit Line: Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2005.0233.0494Accession Number: 2005.0233Catalog Number: 2005.0233.0494

Object Name: fire mark

Physical Description: cast iron (overall material)Measurements: overall: 13 1/4 in; 33.655 cm


Record Id: nmah_1342313

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