Presentation Trumpet, "Henry K. Woodruff"

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 brass trumpet was presented to Henry K. Woodruff by the Independence Hose Company of New York in 1862. The trumpet is divided into three sections with two rings that allow for a cord to be attached. The trumpet bears an inscription that reads “Presented by Independence Hose Company, No. 3, New York, to Foreman Henry K. Woodruff 1862.” The Independence Hose Company No. 3 was organized on November 19, 1832. Woodruff was the foreman of the Independence Hose Company from 1862 until the company disbanded in 1865.
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
ca 1862
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
overall: 18 in x 7 1/4 in; 45.72 cm x 18.415 cm
place made
United States
Associated Place
United States: New York, New York
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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