Look at what I found
at a flea market last weekend.
This old cast iron plaque was sitting on a table
outside next to two other similar plaques.
I don't know why, but the
rusty old tree appealed to me. (It's about 12" tall.)
The dealer told me it was an old fire mark plaque.
(Which meant absolutely nothing to me!)
|An old one from London, dated c. 1700.|
He told me that starting in the 1700's,
home and business owners
would pay their local firehouse
for fire insurance, and in return
they would receive a fire mark plaque
to hang on the outside of their building.
If their building were to catch on fire,
they could be assured that they would receive help
to put out the flames. It was also a form of advertising for
the fire company, but you did not have to have a plaque
to receive assistance should you have a fire.
(This was not the case in England!)
|William Penn Fire mark from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, c. 1851.|
This practice started in London in 1680
and had caught on in the U.S. in the early 1700's.
By the late 1780's, the fire mark had run its course.
However, today in Maryland, the Baltimore Equitable Society still keeps the tradition alive.
|Dated 1684 this is the oldest American fire mark from Charleston, SC.|
This green tree design was made for
the Mutual Assurance Company of Philadelphia
and dates back to the mid to late 1700's.
There are several versions of the tree fire mark ,
and the one I found appears to be made around 1805.
He told me it was not a reproduction,
and I tend to believe him based
on the finish and the rusty patina.
(There are two reproductions shown below
and you can see the difference.)
|A reproduction, very pretty but not old. (thedecoratedtree,blogspot.com)|
|This an iron reproduction, it has a flat filled-in back. Etsy.com|
The original name of the farm that we live on
was called Evergrove Farm. The tree image works
with the name, don't you think?
I almost didn't buy it,
but my dear friend who was with me
(pondering the purchase for 30 minutes or so)
was my voice of reason.
She said, "is this one of those things
that you are going to kick yourself later for not buying?"
(I nodded and smiled.)
She and I have been antiquing together for years
and she knows I have many regrets!
So glad I went back and it was still there waiting.
Tell me......is there something
you look back on
from a sale, auction, or flea market
that you didn't buy
and still to this day regret????
Tell me about it!
I would love to hear.