Presentation Trumpet, "Thomas Mullen"

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.

Description (Brief)

This silver plated trumpet was presented as a trophy to Thomas Mullen for winning a foot race at the Olympic Circus during the late 19th century. The trumpet features a raised floral motif on the lower portion of the trumpet and an overlapping scale pattern on the upper portion of the trumpet. The trumpet has two rings that are strung with a braided orange cord with tassels. One ring is in the beak of an eagle. There is an inset cartouche with the inscription “Won by/ Thomas Mullen/ of/ Jackson Engine Inc./ No. 4/ at the/ Olympic Circus /Paterson N.J. /Mile Foot Race/ Time 2-25 sec.” Fire companies would often meet at community gatherings to compete in a variety of physical contests, including foot races in order to demonstrate their fitness as firefighters.

Date Made: unknown

Maker: unknown

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United StatesAssociated Place: United States: New Jersey, Paterson

See more items in: Home and Community Life: Fire Fighting and Law Enforcement, Cultures & Communities, Work, Firefighting Collection, Speaking Trumpets

Exhibition:

Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 2005.0233.0842Accession Number: 2005.0233Catalog Number: 2005.0233.0842

Object Name: trumpet, speaking

Physical Description: silver plated (overall material)silk (part: cord material)Measurements: overall: 18 3/8 in x 7 5/8 in; 46.6725 cm x 19.3675 cm

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746ac-ab95-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_1345749

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.