Presentation Trumpet, "Neptune 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 trumpet was presented to the Neptune Engine Company by the citizens of Paterson, New Jersey through Josiah P. Doremus in 1867. The trumpet has three sections. The lower bell bears an engraved image of a steam powered fire engine. The center portion is an inscription framed by engraved decorative foliage that reads “Presented to Neptune Engine Company No. 2 by Citizens of Patterson, N.J. through Josiah P. Doremus. Sept 2nd 1867.” The upper section has a variety of decorative engravings. Josiah Doremus was a prominent businessman in Paterson, New Jersey during the middle of the 19th century.
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
ca 1867
Physical Description
silver plate (overall material)
overall: 18 in x 8 in; 45.72 cm x 20.32 cm
Place Made
United States: New Jersey
Associated Place
United States: New Jersey, Paterson
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Cultures & Communities
Firefighting Collection
Speaking Trumpets
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Firefighting Collection
Speaking Trumpets
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
Additional Media

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