Fire Badge "Brookline Fire Co. Del. Co. Pa"


This Maltese cross-shaped metal fire badge would have been worn by a member of the Brookline Fire Company of Havertown, Pennsylvania. The badge features a hook and ladder on the left arm, a fire hydrant on the right arm, and a center image of a trumpet, hook, ladder, and lantern arrayed behind a fire helmet. The central rim of the badge is engraved with the text “BROOKLINE/FIRE CO.” A small banner underneath is engraved “DEL. CO. PA.” filled in with black enamel. The Brookline Fire Company was founded in 1914, and continues to operate in Delaware County, Pennsylvania as one of five fire companies protecting Havertown.

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: 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 Location:

Credit Line: Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2005.0233.1389Accession Number: 2005.0233Catalog Number: 2005.0233.1389

Object Name: badge, fireman's

Physical Description: rhodium plated (overall material)Measurements: overall: 1 3/4 in x 1 3/4 in; 4.445 cm x 4.445 cm


Record Id: nmah_1382624

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