Work Trumpet

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 speaking trumpet was likely used during the second half of the 19th century. There are three raised bands around the shaft with minor beading around each band. There are two plain cord rings attached to the shaft. The trumpet shows signs of wear and has a few dents around the shaft.
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
overall: 17 in x 6 1/2 in; 43.18 cm x 16.51 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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