Presentation Trumpet, "William Penn Hook & Ladder Company"

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 white metal speaking trumpet was presented to the William Penn Hook and Ladder Company of Stockton Township, New Jersey by the William Penn Hose Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The trumpet has two flat bands wrapping around the shaft. Two rings are connected to the shaft that allowed a cord to be attached to the trumpet. The lower section of the trumpet has an engraving that reads “Presented/ BY THE/ Wm. Penn Hose Co./ OF PHILA./ To The/ Wm PENN H&L Co/Stockton Township Camden Co. N.J. 1887."
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
ca 1887
Physical Description
white metal (overall material)
overall: 18 1/2 in x 8 1/2 in; 46.99 cm x 21.59 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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