Presentation Trumpet, "Delaware Engine Co."

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 horn was presented to the Delaware Engine Company by the Paulding Assembly, likely the town government of Paulding, New Jersey, in 1865. Floral patterns are engraved and in low relief around the trumpet. In the center of the trumpet there is an inscription that reads “Presented/ to the Delaware Engine Company No. 4/ by the Paulding Assembly/ Oct. 16, 1865.” Two rings are gripped in an eagle’s beak that would allow a cord to be attached to the trumpet.
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
ca 1865
Physical Description
silver plate (overall material)
overall: 21 1/4 in x 1/2 in; 53.975 cm x 1.27 cm
place made
United States
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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