Chicago Inspector Badges

Chicago Inspector Badges

Chicago had the most ornate inspector badges of any large city. The Chicago Health Department, which is overseen by a Board of Health, also has several firsts including an ordinance mandating milk pasteurization in 1909. The unsanitary conditions of the stockyards and meatpacking plants prompted Upton Sinclair to write his expose, The Jungle, which resulted in the 1906 Meat Inspection and Pure Food and Drug Acts. 

The inspector badges used the terms "Department of Health" and "Board of Health" interchangeably.

The gold badge with the Swiss cross (top left) is from 1900. The badge with the stylized Celtic cross (top right) is from the 1940s. The star badge (bottom middle) is from 1920.

NEHA History Project

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