Presentation Trumpet

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 presentation trumpet was made during the 19th century. The trumpet has an engraved image of an early hand drawn steam engine and a spider type hose reel set in ovals on opposite sides of the bell. The shaft has an engraving of a fireman’s hat with two crossed hooks and ladders set in an oval. There is a blank oval cartouche on the opposite side of the shaft. The trumpet has an engraved floral motif. A red and white cord is attached to the trumpet through a ring in an eagle’s beak on the lower part of the trumpet and a simple ring attached to the top of the trumpet’s shaft.
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
Physical Description
silver, plated (overall material)
overall: 17 in x 7 1/2 in; 43.18 cm x 19.05 cm
place made
United States
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

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