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 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania issued this cast iron fire mark in 1834. This mark was taken from a building on Marbury Street (now Third Street) in Pittsburgh that was owned by James Wood. The square mark has a raised image of a Philadelphia-style pumper in the center. The Firemen’s Insurance Company operated from 1834 until 1845, when losses suffered in the Great Fire of Pittsburgh forced it to close.

Date Made: 1834

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: 2005.0233.0507Accession Number: 2005.0233Catalog Number: 2005.0233.0507

Object Name: fire mark

Physical Description: cast iron (overall material)Measurements: overall: 8 in x 11 3/4 in; 20.32 cm x 29.845 cm


Record Id: nmah_1342591

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