Presentation Trumpet

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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 silver plated speaking trumpet was made during the 19th century. The trumpet was made as a presentation piece, but the cartouche that normally bears the inscription has no engraving. The bell of the trumpet is fluted, and the trumpet is engraved with a floral motif. A braided blue cord with tassels is strung through the two rings protruding from the trumpet’s shaft.
Currently not on view
date made
place made
United States
Physical Description
silver plated (overall material)
overall: 21 1/2 in x 9 1/4 in; 54.61 cm x 23.495 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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