Presentation Trumpet, "New Jersey Company, No. 4"

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 silver plated speaking trumpet dates to 1852. The lower and upper section of the trumpet is plated in silver. There is a braided red cord with tassels that is strung through two rings along the trumpets’ shaft. There is a silver shield-shaped plaque attached to the trumpet that bears the inscription “Presented Sept. 20, 1852/ To the New Jersey Co. No. 4/ By a friend A.N.B.S./ For the use of the carriage.”
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
silver plated (part: shield and plating material)
overall: 20 1/4 in x 7 1/2 in; 51.435 cm x 19.05 cm
place made
United States
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
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, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
Additional Media

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