Presentation 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 middle of the 19th century. The shaft has a floral design in the shape of an oval frame with an open space in the center for an engraving. The bell has a floral band with four ovals spaced evenly throughout. Two of the ovals have an engraved image of crossed trumpets behind a fire helmet, and two ovals are blank. A braided tan cord is attached to the trumpet through two rings protruding from the shaft.
Currently not on view
date made
mid 19th century
place made
United States
Physical Description
metal (overall material)
pewter (overall material)
overall: 9 7/8 in x 7 in; 25.0825 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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