Presentation Trumpet, "Avoca Hose Co."

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 presented to the Avoca Hose Company by John M. Grier in 1887. The brass trumpet has three rounded bands along the shaft. A red braided cord with tassels is tied around the top and bottom of the shaft and strung through two rings attached to the trumpet. A circular plaque attached to the trumpet bears the inscription “Presented to/ Avoca Hose Co. No. 1/ by/ John M. Grier/ May 30th, 1887.” This fire company was likely the one located in Avoca, Pennsylvania rather than Avoca, New York.
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
ca 1887
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
overall: 21 in; 53.34 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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