Innovation of the Era!
Mid to Late 1900s

Making Your "Mark"

Fire marks were plaques placed on houses or businesses to indicate that the person who owned the building had insurance. This was thought to stop anyone who had a grudge against the building owner from setting the building on fire, as the owner would be paid for his loss. It was also thought that these fire marks would encourage others to purchase insurance, as this was a new business in America. In England, insurance companies created their own fire companies to put out fires in only building that had their fire mark on them. In America, that was not the case. First of all, the fire companies existed before the insurance companies in America, so they were not loyal to a particular founding insurance organization. The insurance companies in America were also well aware of the service the volunteer firemen provided, so they contributed to the fire companies periodically or when the fire companies made a direct request for funds for equipment. Because of this action, there were strong firefighting networks in communities. So, regardless of the particular fire mark on a building or lack thereof, fires in America were put out by the firemen.
Fire marks would often have the logo of the insurance company they represented on them. These logos ranged over the years from eagles, to stars, to firemen, to steamers and many other symbols. This fire mark represents The Mutual Assurance Company.