Work Trumpet

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 silver plated trumpet dates to the 19th century. The trumpet has three rounded bounds around its octagonal faceted shaft. Two rings protrude from the side of the trumpet, which are strung with a tasseled blue cord.
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
19th century
Physical Description
plated silver (overall material)
overall: 18 7/8 in x 7 1/8 in; 47.9425 cm x 18.0975 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


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