Presentation Trumpet, "Norristown Hose Company"

Presentation Trumpet, "Norristown Hose Company"

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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 brass speaking trumpet was presented to the Norristown Hose Company by James Ernest of the Hope Engine Company. The trumpet has two rounded bands along its shaft. Decorative eagle’s heads hold rings in their beaks through which a braided brown cord is strung. A small shield shaped plaque in the center of the trumpet bears an inscription that reads “Pat Lyon / 1776 / Presented to the Norristown / Hose Co. No. 1 / By James Ernest / June 21 1880 / Hope Engine Co. No. 2 / Williamsport, Pa." The Norristown Hose Company was founded in 1848 and continues to operate in Norristown, Pennsylvania with both career and volunteer firefighters.
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
ca 1880
place made
United States
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
overall: 18 3/4 in x 7 1/4 in; 47.625 cm x 18.415 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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