Fire Badge "Jersey City, New Jersey"


This shield–shaped metal badge belonged to a member of the fire department in Jersey City, New Jersey in the early 20th century. The shield–shaped badge bears a central embellishment of a ladder, axe, hose, hook, trumpet and hat with a scroll that reads “Jersey City” above and “F.D.” below. The badge number “30” is made of raised brass at the bottom of the badge.

Metal firefighter’s badges were a part of the firefighter’s uniform since volunteer companies began to proliferate in the early 19th century. As volunteer companies gave way to municipal fire departments during the mid–19th century, these badges became mandated by uniform codes. Badges served as official identification at fire scenes, as access to derelict buildings by unscrupulous citizens could result in looting. Fire badges came in a variety of shapes, most notably circular, shield–shaped, or the Maltese cross. While shield–shaped badges were often worn on the chest, circular and cross-shaped badges can be seen on jacket lapels or soft caps. Badges usually detailed the company’s name, number and department, and were often decorated with various symbols of the profession such as hose carriages, hand–pumped engines, hoses, trumpets, helmets, hooks, and ladders. For paid municipal companies, many badges also featured the badge number of the wearer.

Date Made: early 20th century

Maker: unknown

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: New JerseyAssociated Place: United States: New Jersey

See more items in: Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement, Work, Firefighting Collection, Fire Badges


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2005.0233.1254Accession Number: 2005.0233Catalog Number: 2005.0233.1254

Object Name: badge, fireman'sfire hose sectionfire badge

Physical Description: metal (overall material)Measurements: overall: 2 1/4 in x 1 3/4 in; 5.715 cm x 4.445 cm


Record Id: nmah_1380092

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