Work Trumpet, "United States Hose Company 14"

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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 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
date made
ca 1838
place made
United States: Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 18 1/4 in x 7 in; 46.355 cm x 17.78 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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