Work Trumpet, "United States Hose Company 14"

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 metal speaking trumpet was in use in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania around 1838. The trumpet has two rounded bands on the upper and lower portion of the shaft. Two rings protrude from the rounded bands that would have been strung with a cord to create a handle or strap. There is an inscription in the center of the trumpet that reads “United States Hose Co./14/ Chief Director.” The United States Hose Company Number 14 was located on 423 Buttonwood Street in Philadelphia.
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
ca 1838
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 18 1/4 in x 7 in; 46.355 cm x 17.78 cm
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
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

Visitor Comments

Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.