Speaking Trumpet

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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 presentation trumpet dates to the 19th century and features an engraved floral motif. The center portion of the trumpet’s shaft has an engraved image of a steam engine. There are four circular insets on the trumpets bell. In two insets on opposite sides of the bell is the engraved image of a wreath. An image of two schooners sailing on water surrounded by clouds and seagulls is engraved in one inset, with an image of two crossed ladders behind a hanging banner on the opposite side. Two eagle heads protrude from the shaft holding rings in their beaks through which a blue cord with tassels is strung.
Location
Currently not on view
date made
unknown
maker
unknown
place made
United States
Measurements
overall: 23 in x 9 1/4 in; 58.42 cm x 23.495 cm
ID Number
2005.0233.0909
accession number
2005.0233
catalog number
2005.0233.0909
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
See more items in
Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement
Work
Cultures & Communities
Firefighting Collection
Speaking Trumpets
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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