Presentation Trumpet, "Charles M. Bartleson"

Presentation Trumpet, "Charles M. Bartleson"

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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 plain brass speaking trumpet dates to the first half of the 19th century. The trumpet has traces of red paint and the bell bears the inscription “CHA's. M. BARTLESON.” Charles M. Bartleson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1795, and served as a captain of the shipping line that ran from Liverpool, England to Philadelphia.
Currently not on view
Object Name
trumpet, speaking
date made
place made
United States
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
overall: 15 in x 4 3/4 in; 38.1 cm x 12.065 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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