Presentation Trumpet, "Neptune Guard"

Presentation Trumpet, "Neptune Guard"

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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 trumpet was presented to the Passaic Engine Company of Paterson, New Jersey by the Neptune Guard of Newark, New Jersey on October 30th, 1876. The trumpet has an overall floral motif surrounding the various inscriptions and engravings. The bell of the trumpet features an engraving of a steam fire engine on one side and an engraving of an overlapping fireman's hat, trumpet, hook, and fire swab on the other. The center portion of the trumpet bears an inscription inside a shield-shaped frame that reads “Presented to Passaic Engine Co. No. 1 of Paterson by the Neptune Guard of Newark, Oct. 30th 1876, Frank Daly, Capt.” On the opposite side of the trumpet there is an engraving of a crossed hook and ladder. There are two rings that would have been used to attach a cord to the trumpet. The Neptune Guard was a musket corps composed of members from the Neptune Hose Company of Newark, New Jersey that was in operation around the middle of the 19th century.
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
ca 1876
place made
United States
Associated Place
United States: New Jersey, Paterson
United States: New Jersey, Newark
Physical Description
silver plate (overall material)
overall: 19 1/2 in x 8 3/4 in; 49.53 cm x 22.225 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of CIGNA Museum and Art Collection
See more items in
Cultural 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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