American Insurance Company Fire Mark

American Insurance Company 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.
The American Insurance Company of Chicago, Illinois issued this tinned sheet iron fire mark in 1867. The square mark has painted text that reads “AMERICAN/CHICAGO.” The American Insurance Company operated in Freeport, Illinois from 1859 until 1867, when it moved to Chicago. The company retired in 1883.
Currently not on view
Object Name
fire mark
date made
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
Physical Description
tinned sheet iron (overall material)
overall: 3 1/8 in x 6 3/4 in; 7.9375 cm x 17.145 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Cultures & Communities
Firefighting Collection
Fire Marks
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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