This hard to find miniature fire mark was made of cast iron in the USA. It was hand painted. It is a collectors miniature version of the original mark issued by The Mutual Assurance Company of Philadelphia which was first offered in 1806. These are hard to find today, especially in such fine condition.
Beginning back in the mid 18th century, some American insurance companies issued such a fire mark for the insured to display on the front of their building, be it a house or a business. This proof of insurance not only indicated that policyholder was insured against loss by fire. It also served as a sort of advertisement for the insurance companies. Additionally, they found it likely to deter arson.
The original marks were much larger than this so that they could be easily seen from the street. Each insurance company was represented by a distinct symbol. This one being a raised green tree raised from the flat back of the cast iron sign.
Interestingly enough, many insurance companies refrained from offering policies to businesses and homes with trees around or in front of them. Trees were considered fire hazards. The Mutual Assurance Company of Philadelphia took advantage of this and offered insurance to the buildings with trees. Thus, the green tree became the mark of this company.
Our miniature is vintage and very hard to find, especially in such good condition. It, too, is made of cast iron, making it quite substantial and heavy (almost 5 ounces). It is backed with felt and features a small hole at the top for mounting as you please.
It measures 3-1/8 inches high by 2-3/8 inches wide. It's depth is a little over 1/4 inch, allowing the raised tree to resemble the original. Hand painted accents of the tree trunk, leaves and company number (No 105) make this even more attractive to the firematic collector.