A speaking or hailing trumpet was a critical shipboard tool of the 19th century, used on both merchant vessels and warships like USS Constitution. Prior to electronic loud speakers and two-way radios, speaking trumpets served to amplify voices in a variety of circumstances. They were used by officers to issue orders to crew in the din of battle and also commonly used for communication between ships, which was particularly challenging before the advent of radio transmitters. When two ships encountered one another at sea, it was common for them to sail close enough to each other for captains to exchange information verbally, their voices carried over the water with the help of speaking trumpets.
Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston Loan
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