Presentation Trumpet, "John A. Gross"

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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 John A. Gross of the Kingston Fire Department Hose Company in 1872. The trumpet was manufactured by the Meriden Britannia Company of Meriden, Connecticut. The trumpet is engraved with a floral motif and a floral and leaf garland frame the inscription “Presented to/ John A. Gross/ Chief Engineer of/ Kingston/ Fire Department/ Hose Co. No. 2/ June 1873.” The trumpet’s shaft has two protruding rings, allowing a cord to be attached to create a strap.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1873
presentation date
Meriden Britannia Company
place made
United States: Connecticut, Meriden
Physical Description
silver plate (overall material)
electroplate (overall production method/technique)
overall: 21 3/4 in x 7 1/2 in; 55.245 cm x 19.05 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


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