Obverse Design Badge is based on a circle, with some decorations above and below the circle. The top decorations are some leaves or branchs and a perched eagle with spread wings. The eagle's head is down and facing to its right (our left). The circle has an inner circle with a bugle facing down in the center. The bugle represents an old-fashioned megaphone and is a symbol of authority. Fire department officers at one time used these megaphones to direct fire fighters during a fire. The inner circle has a rope or beaded edge and then there is an outer circle. The outer circle has lettering of "LIEUTENANT" curving above and "CANAL ZONE" below. There is a diamond design to the right and the left of the inner circle. Below the outer circle is a leaf design coming to a blunt point. In the center of this leaf design is a small shield shape with an incuse "F.D.". The inner circle of the badge has a textured background.
Reverse Design Vertical pin back.
Metal Probably brass, gold-filled with 10K gold. Size and Shape About 42 mm by 61 mm.
Dates Issued This badge type was used from sometime before 1936 until September 30, 1979. On that date the Fire Department was transitioned to the Canal Commission. The Fire Department remained in one form or another and is still there protecting the locks.
Issurer Panama Canal Company.
Rarity Rare. Manufacturer Probably Russell Uniform Company of New York. Source 'hp2xsg' Collection.
Varieties None known.

Fire Department badge. I would appreciate e-mail from anyone who can add anything to the history of these badges.


The story in the Canal Zone Review accompanying the picture below told how this man's father worked for the Canal Zone Fire Department from 1905 until 1936. Now this man, recently promoted to Lieutenant, is going to wear his father's old badge. This suggests to me that the same badge variety was in use in 1959 as was in use when the father retired in 1936. A retired Canal Zone Fire Department Chief informed me that the badges were unchanged from some date unknown to him but before 1956 until 1979. So it seems likely that these same badges were used from 1936 or earlier until 1979.

Population Count Known specimens are as follows:
  1. 'hp2xsg' Specimen - private collection, pictured above.

Canal Zone Fire Department Lieutenant putting on his badge
Canal Zone Fire Department Lieutenant putting on his badge
From the Canal Zone Review, April 1959 Edition