North St. Louis Mutual Fire 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 North St. Louis Mutual Fire Insurance Company of St. Louis, Missouri issued this zinc fire mark in 1865.The oval fire mark features raised text that reads “NORTH/St. LOUIS/MUTUAL” and has been painted red. The North St. Louis Mutual Fire Insurance Company operated from 1864 to around 1888.

Date Made: 1865

Maker: unknown

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Missouri

Subject: Insurance


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


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2005.0233.0517Accession Number: 2005.0233Catalog Number: 2005.0233.0517

Object Name: fire mark

Physical Description: zinc (overall material)Measurements: overall: 5 1/2 in x 7 1/2 in; 13.97 cm x 19.05 cm


Record Id: nmah_1342663

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.