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  • Fire insurance mark

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    Fire mark of the Hand in Hand Fire & Life Insurance Society on a house in DulwichFire insurance marks are metal plaques marked with the emblem of the insurance company which were affixed to the front of insured buildings as a guide to the insurance company's fire brigade. These identification marks were used in the eighteenth and nineteenth century in the days before municipal fire services were formed. The UK marks are called 'Fire insurance plaques'. The first to use the mark was the Sun Fire Office which was established in 1710. Some period specimens remain on historical buildings in the older areas of Britain's and America's cities and larger towns. Cast metal plaques were made of iron, lead, or sometimes brass. Embossed sheet metal signs were also made, as well as flat enamel signs – the latter mostly in Continental Europe in the later 19th century. Period specimens may have high value among antiques collectors, leading to illicit creation of fakes. Also, nostalgic reproductions have been made since the early 20th century for decorative purposes.

  • Brazen bull

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    Perillos being forced into the brazen bull that he built for Phalaris. The brazen bull, bronze bull, or Sicilian bull, was allegedly a torture and execution device designed in ancient Greece. According to Diodorus Siculus, recounting the story in Bibliotheca historica, Perillos of Athens invented and proposed it to Phalaris, the tyrant of Akragas, Sicily, as a new means of executing criminals. The bull was said to be made entirely out of bronze, hollow, with a door in one side. According to legends the brazen bull was designed in the form and size of an actual bull and had an acoustic apparatus that converted screams into the sound of a bull. The condemned were locked inside the device, and a fire was set under it, heating the metal until the person inside was roasted to death. Some modern scholars question if the brazen bull ever really existed, attributing reports of the invention to early propaganda.

  • Hubley Manufacturing Company

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    Ford Fairlane. The Hubley Manufacturing Company produced a wide range of cast-iron toys, doorstops, and bookends. Toys, particularly motor vehicles and cap guns, were also produced in zinc alloy and plastic. The company is probably most well known for its detailed scale metal kits of Classic cars in about 1:20 scale. Starting in 1960, Hubley participated for a couple of years with Detroit automakers as a plastic promotional model maker. Many Hubley toys are now sought-after collectibles.

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