Insurance Company of North America 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 Insurance Company of North America of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania issued this tinned sheet iron fire mark during the late 19th century. The rectangular fire mark bears block lettering that reads “NORTH/AMERICA /A.D. 1794.” The background of the mark was painted silver and white, and the lettering is painted black. A group of influential citizens in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania founded the Insurance Company of North America in 1792. The INA was the first joint stock insurance company in the United States, and focused its business on marine and fire insurance. The Insurance Company of North America and related companies merged with the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company in 1982 to become the CIGNA Corporation. A later sale made INA a part of ACE Holdings, where it still operates today.

Date Made: ca 1880

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:

Credit Line: Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2005.0233.0573Accession Number: 2005.0233Catalog Number: 2005.0233.0573

Object Name: fire mark

Physical Description: tinned sheet iron (overall material)tin (coated material)Measurements: overall: 6 15/16 in x 3 3/16 in; 17.62125 cm x 8.09625 cm


Record Id: nmah_1343206

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