Work Trumpet, "D.F.D"

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 and tin work trumpet was used in the eastern United States around 1832. The upper portion of the trumpet is tin and covered in leather to create a grip, while the lower portion is made of brass. One ring is attached to the bottom of the trumpet to allow a cord to be attached .The initials “D.F.D.” are engraved on the lower half of the trumpet, possibly standing for the Delaware Fire Department.
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
ca 1832
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
tin (overall material)
leather (overall material)
overall: 17 in; 43.18 cm
place made
United States
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Firefighting Collection
Cultures & Communities
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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