Presentation Trumpet, "Andrew J. Walsh"

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 pewter speaking trumpet was presented to Andrew J. Walsh during the late 19th century by fellow members of the Hibernia Hook and Ladder Company. The speaking trumpet has two rounded bands around the shaft, with small rings protruding from the bands. A cord could be strung through the rings, to create a carrying strap. The trumpet is engraved with a flower motif. The bell has four different cartouches. The first engraving frames a fire hat, hose, nozzle, fire hook, and two ladders. The second is a crossed hook and ladder flanked by “18” with the text “Hibernia” above and “A.J.W.” below. The third has a rattle, hook, and two crossed trumpets. The fourth has the text “V.F.A.” The center of the trumpet bears the inscription "Andrew J. Walsh" in a ribbon. Andrew Walsh was an esteemed member of the Hibernia Hook and Ladder Company No. 18, located at 195 Elizabeth Street in New York City.
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
Physical Description
pewter (overall material)
overall: 21 1/2 in x 7 1/2 in; 54.61 cm x 19.05 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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