Presentation Trumpet, "Washington Fire Engine Company"

<< >>
Description (Brief)
As more American volunteer fire fighting companies began to form during the late 18th century, a need emerged for better organized efforts in combating conflagrations. Engineers and officers would use “speaking trumpets” to amplify their voices over the noise and commotion of a fire scene to direct the company in effectively fighting the blaze. Two trumpet variants are reflected in the collection: plain and functional “working” trumpets that were actively used at fires, and highly decorated “presentation” trumpets. Presentation trumpets were awarded to firefighters in honor of their service, or between fire companies during visits, competitions, and musters.
This silver plated speaking trumpet was presented to the Washington Fire Engine Company by the Jovial Club of Paterson, New Jersey in 1860. The trumpet is engraved with ivy and flowers around the entire trumpet and has an inscription inside an oval cartouche framed by tree branches. This inscription reads, "Presented by the Jovial Club of Paterson, N.J. to Washington Fire Engine Company No. 3, February 22, 1860." The braided orange cord with tassels is attached to the trumpet by rings in the shape of fire hats. In September of 1862 many members of the Washington Fire Engine Company formed Company A in the 25th Regiment of the New Jersey Volunteers.
Currently not on view
date made
place made
United States
Associated Place
United States: New Jersey, Paterson
Physical Description
silver plate (overall material)
overall: 19 in x 9 in; 48.26 cm x 22.86 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Cultures & Communities
Firefighting Collection
Speaking Trumpets
Data Source
National Museum of American History


Add a comment about this object