Fire Badge "L.I. City F.D. 40"

Fire Badge "L.I. City F.D. 40"

Usage conditions apply
This white-metal shield-shaped fire badge belonged to a fireman with badge number 40 of the Long Island City Fire Department Engine Company No. 1 in Long Island City, New York. The badge was used sometime prior to 1891, when the department became a paid unit. A decoration of a crossed trumpet and a hose nozzle behind a fire helmet sits at the top of the badge. Below is a banner that reads “L.I. CITY F.D.” in raised letters. The badge number “40” is in the center of the badge in Prince’s metal, an alloy of copper and zinc that resembles brass. Below is a raised image of a hand-pumped fire engine in Prince’s metal. A circular plaque at the bottom of the badge is inscribed with the number “1.”
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.
Currently not on view
Object Name
badge, fireman's
date made
late 19th century
place made
United States
associated place
United States: New York, Long Island
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 2 in x 1 3/4 in; 5.08 cm x 4.445 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
Fire Badges
Firefighting Collection
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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