Fire Badge "Foreman Salem"

Description:

This shield–shaped metal fire badge belonged to a foreman of Salem Fire Engine No. 2. The badge’s rim is decorated with a geometric pattern. The badge has an upper banner that reads “FOREMAN” above an image of a steam fire engine. Below the engine is an inscription of the number “2” with the text “SALEM” below. The text is accented with various decorative inscriptions.

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: late 19th century

Maker: unknown

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States

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

Exhibition:

Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2005.0233.1293Accession Number: 2005.0233Catalog Number: 2005.0233.1293

Object Name: badge, fireman's

Physical Description: metal (overall material)Measurements: overall: 2 1/4 in x 2 1/2 in; 5.715 cm x 6.35 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ad-2608-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1380667

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