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.
The Protection Fire Insurance Company of Charleston, West Virginia issued this cast iron fire mark around 1892 to 1894. The rectangular mark bears a raised image in the center of a spread-winged eagle rising from flames. The top and bottom of the mark reads “PROTECTION/INSURANCE Co.” The Protection Fire Insurance Company operated from 1892 until 1894.
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