American Insurance Company Fire Mark

American Insurance Company Fire Mark

Downloads
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.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
fire mark
date made
1867
maker
unknown
place made
United States: Illinois, Chicago
Physical Description
tinned sheet iron (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 3 1/8 in x 6 3/4 in; 7.9375 cm x 17.145 cm
ID Number
2005.0233.0534
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.0534
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
subject
Insurance
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Cultures & Communities
Advertising
Work
Firefighting Collection
Fire Marks
Data Source
National Museum of American History
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.

Comments

Add a comment about this object