Thread: Firemarks

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Philly, PA

    Post Firemarks

    Could someone please explain to me what a "Firemark" is. They are cast iron circles with the name of various insurance companies on them they date back to the late 1700s early 1800s.

    Some of the historic houses in Philly still have them mounted on the buildings.

    Do these mean that the building is insured? Or does it indicate that the homeowner gave to the local FD?

    Mike DeVuono

    "There are few atheists inside a burning building."

    These are my opinions and not those of my department.

  2. #2
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    New Albany Fire Dept./ IN


    To my knowledge the firemarks on buildings around the turn of the century showed who had paid money to which fire company, or insurance company for fire protection.

    If a building was on fire, and a different fire company showed up than who had been paid, they would not fight the fire.

    They usually ended up fighting with other fire companies.

    I'm discussing this issue with a 40 year veteran of the fire service and we think this is correct.

    Hope this help's

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    martinm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Northumberland, United Kingdom


    Hi, The people who posted above are correct. Firemarks were first used in Great Britain in the 17th Century to identify who had insurance & who did'nt as insurance companies also provided a private fire service for their customers. A lot of the time they would save one house but let the ones around it burn as they were not insured!! As has been added, they also got into " turf wars" with other insurance co. fire services.

    I have a replica of a fire mark which was used in the town next to mine on my porch. Some of them are very rare & quite valuable for originals.

    Northumberland Fire Rescue
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2000


    I have several large fire marks, but got a Christmas gift of a small mark, maybe 3" diameter, polished brass. i wonder if this was some form of identifying equipment belonging to the particular fire company? it appears to have 2 small holes that may have been used for riveting it to someting. anyone ever seen anything like this?????

  5. #5
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2002


    Charleston, SC has firemarks, or "insurance Marks" on hundreds of buildings. You can contact the preservation society for a good rundown on them.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register