Presentation Trumpet, "Trenton Hose Co."

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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 brass trumpet is plated with silver and painted gold. There are three oval medallions around the bell, each with a profile image of a Grecian figure’s head. The shaft of the horn features a profile bust of George Washington framed in an oval cartouche. There is an inscription on the shaft that reads “Presented to Trenton Hose Co. No. 1 of Trenton, N.J. by Empire Association Lynn Feb 4th 1869” that is framed in an oval. A braided red, white, and blue cord is attached to the trumpet through two rings.
Currently not on view
date made
place made
United States
Associated Place
United States: New Jersey, Trenton
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
silver plated (overall material)
overall: 24 in x 9 1/2 in; 60.96 cm x 24.13 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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