Presentation Trumpet, "Washington Engine Company"

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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 trumpet was presented to William Weeks of the Washington Engine Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from the Washington Club of Boston in 1832. The upper portion of the trumpet is constructed of tin, and the bottom of the trumpet is polished brass. There is an inscription on the brass section that reads “From the Washington Club of Boston / to Wm. Weeks Esqr. / of the Washington Engine Co. Philadelphia 1832 / Go on Washee." A volunteer fireman and member of the city militia, William Weeks was a printer and publisher by profession.
Currently not on view
date made
ca 1832
place made
United States
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
tin (overall material)
overall: 17 1/2 in x 3 3/4 in; 44.45 cm x 9.525 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


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