Fire Engine Plate, "Valley Forge"

Fire Engine Plate, "Valley Forge"

Usage conditions apply
Description (Brief)
At the core of any fire company is the apparatus used to fight fires and protect lives. This was particularly true of for the volunteer fire fighters in 19th century America. Often purchased with their own funds, their fire engines were the focus of their pride and affection, as well as their identities as fire fighters. Engine plates, often made of brass, would be prominently affixed to engines and inscribed with the company name, number, and founding date. Engine plates could pass from old engine to new, or be kept in the firehouse as a memorial to a departed apparatus.
This arched brass engine plate is engraved with the text “VALLEY FORGE” that is filled with black enamel. A foliate design is engraved and enameled between “Valley” and “Forge.” There are 10 holes that run along the plate’s base and sides that allowed it to be attached to the engine. This plate may have belonged to the Valley Forge Hose Company No. 46 in New York City.
Currently not on view
Object Name
plate, fire engine
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
overall: 18 1/2 in x 2 7/8 in; 46.99 cm x 7.239 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
Fire Fighting
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Cultures & Communities
Firefighting Collection
Fire Engine Plates
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.


Add a comment about this object