Fire Engine Plate, "Stephen Thayer"

Fire Engine Plate, "Stephen Thayer"

Downloads
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 brass engine plate was attached to a fire engine made by Stephen Thayer from Boston, Massachusetts. Thayer operated his business from 1811 to 1861 producing a variety of fire engines and other machine parts. The brass plate is engraved with the text “Stephen Thayer/Maker/Boston, Mass./1838.” The plate has been mounted on a rectangular wooden board with four screws in the plate’s scalloped corners.
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
plate, fire engine
date made
1838
maker
unknown
place made
United States
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
brass (part material)
Measurements
part: plate: 4 1/2 in x 7 1/2 in; 11.43 cm x 19.05 cm
part: board: 6 in x 8 1/2 in; 15.24 cm x 21.59 cm
ID Number
2005.0233.0957
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.0957
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
subject
Fire Fighting
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Cultures & Communities
Work
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.

Note: Comment submission is temporarily unavailable while we make improvements to the site. We apologize for the interruption. If you have a question relating to the museum's collections, please first check our Collections FAQ. If you require a personal response, please use our Contact page.