Presentation Trumpet, "Lafayette Hose Company"

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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 trumpet was presented to the Lafayette Hose Company around 1865. There are engraved designs on the trumpet’s shaft and bell, and three medallions attached to the bell with one in the trumpet’s shaft. The medallions around the bell include two profile images of helmeted Greek or Roman figures and a classical front-facing female. A medallion on the shaft has a profile image of a helmeted Greek or Roman figure. Two eagles’ heads protrude from the shaft with a place in their beaks for rings. There is an inscription in the center of the shaft that reads “Presented to the LaFayette Hose Company Oct. 16, 1865 by their friends [illegible].”
Currently not on view
date made
place made
United States
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
overall: 19 in x 7 in; 48.26 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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