Presentation 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 silver plated presentation trumpet was made during the 19th century. The bell of the trumpet is fluted with floral images engraved around it. Just above the bell is an engraving of a steam engine inside a diamond frame. The center section has a diagonal banded design with ladders and floral engravings. Two rings protrude from the shaft of the trumpet that would have allowed a cord to be attached to the trumpet.
Currently not on view
date made
19th century
place made
United States
Physical Description
silver (overall material)
overall: 21 1/2 in x 9 11/16 in; 54.61 cm x 24.5745 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


Add a comment about this object