Presentation Trumpet, "Ringgold Hose Company"

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 brass speaking trumpet was presented to the Ringgold Hose Company of Newburgh, New York in 1896. The trumpet is decorated with geometric patterns, a paisley design on the rim, semi-circle cartouches around the bell, and an oval cartouche in the center of the shaft. One cartouche has an inscription that reads “Many Happy Days.” Two cartouches on opposite sides of the bell feature an engraved image of two crossed ladders and a crossed fire axe and hook all behind a fire helmet. The cartouche on the shaft has an inscription that reads “Presented to the Ringgold Hose Co. of/ Newburgh NY/ by the Volunteer Fireman's Association/ of Philadelphia Dec. 25, 1896.” Above the inscription are two fire nozzles spraying water with two crossed hooks and ladders all above a fire helmet. Two rings are held in the beaks of eagles that are attached to the shaft.
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
ca 1896
Physical Description
brass wash with silver (overall material)
overall: 21 1/2 in; 54.61 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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