Original U.S. Regulation Model 1892 Field Trumpet Bugle Recovered from U.S.S. Maine with Provenance

Item Description

Original Item: One of a kind set. REMEMBER THE MAINE! The battlecry echoes even to this day! It was the incident that led to the Spanish–American War, a relatively brief conflict lasting just under 4 months. It was the conflict that announced the arrival of the United States as a world power. Often overlooked however is the fate of the U.S.S. Maine (ACR-1) itself, which had sunk in Havana Harbor, occupying valuable space. It was not until 1910 that an official salvage operation was planned, which would recover the ship, and the remains of the brave soldiers entombed in it.

From that operation comes this unmarked brass U.S. Model 1892 Field Trumpet in the key of G/F. This was the standard type used by the U.S. Navy and other branches at the time of the SPANISH/AMERICAN WAR of 1898. This nice example, as noted in the official specifications, has slide crook that can be pulled out to lower the key of the instrument to "F". There are lines inscribed on the slide to indicate when it has been pulled out far enough. One of the two lanyard rings is still present, and the horn itself is in excellent condition for its age. There are only a few minor dents in places, though the bell rim is crushed in a bit, and the mouthpiece is seized in the receiver.

Included with the trumpet/bugle is typed statement of ROBERT MULLEN of 200 PARK AVENUE, NEW YORK, NEW YORK attesting to the history of the trumpet/bugle. It states that the U.S.S. MAINE was raised by a CAPTAIN MERRITT, who oversaw the salvage arrangement. Apparently this CAPTAIN MERRITT lived next door to Robert Mullen's Aunt , one "Kit Stanton" in Whitestone, Long Island and the trumpet/bugle was gifted to Robert Mullen in the summer of 1915 by Captain Merritt.

Accompanying the horn and this typed document is a photo postcard of the wreck of the Maine, a certificate of authenticity from the Historical Artifact Collection,  and a folder of Internet research printouts covering the U.S.S. MAINE and the MERRITT-CHAPMAN recovery salvage. A nice little Archive from a legendary ship, ready to display!

USS Maine (ACR-1) was a United States Navy ship that sank in Havana Harbor during the Cuban revolt against Spain, an event that became a major political issue in the United States.

Maine was the first U.S. Navy ship to be named after the state of Maine, commissioned in 1895 and originally classified as an armored cruiser. She was built in response to the Brazilian battleship Riachuelo and the increase of naval forces in Latin America. Maine and her near-sister ship Texas reflected the latest European naval developments, with the layout of her main armament resembling that of the British ironclad Inflexible and comparable Italian ships. Her two gun turrets were staggered en échelon rather than on the centerline, with the fore gun sponsoned out on the starboard side of the ship and the aft gun on the port side, with cutaways in the superstructure to allow both to fire ahead, astern, or across her deck. She dispensed with full masts thanks to the increased reliability of steam engines by the time of her construction.

Despite these advances, Maine was out of date by the time that she entered service, due to her protracted construction period and changes in the role of ships of her type, naval tactics, and technology. It took nine years to complete, and nearly three years for the armor plating alone. The changing role of the armored cruiser from a small, heavily armored substitute for the battleship to a fast, lightly armored commerce raider also hastened her obsolescence. Despite these disadvantages, Maine was seen as an advance in American warship design.

Maine is remembered for being lost in Havana Harbor on the evening of 15 February 1898. She had been sent to protect U.S. interests during the Cuban revolt against Spain, but she blew up without warning and quickly sank, killing nearly three-quarters of her crew. The cause of her sinking and the identity of those who were responsible remained unclear after a board of inquiry investigated. Nevertheless, popular opinion in the U.S. blamed Spain, fanned by inflammatory articles printed in the "yellow press" by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer. The phrase "Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!" became a rallying cry for action, which came with the Spanish–American War later that year. The sinking of Maine was not a direct cause for action, but it served as a catalyst, accelerating the approach to a diplomatic impasse between the U.S. and Spain.

More on the U.S. Regulation Model 1892 Field Trumpet

The word bugle in the United States is often used as a generic term for many types of horns including the instruments used by the armed services, drum and bugle corps and by various other organizations such as the Boy Scouts. Nevertheless, bugles have always been specified correctly by the armed services and the suppliers and manufacturers of these instruments as either bugles (a conical bore natural horn) or as a field trumpet (a cylindrical bore natural horn over 2/3rds of its length). A case in point is the standard so-called U.S. Regulation “G” bugle commonly used by the Boy Scouts and by drum and bugle corps before the introduction of valves or other key changing devices.

This basic horn came into being as the standard U.S. Army Cavalry trumpet in G, specification No. 325 dated May 2, 1892 (Quartermaster General’s Office, War Department) which supplanted the previous model 1879 F trumpet with C crook. These were characterized by detailed specifications with drawings and dimensions. The bugle described in the specifications was to be the basis for almost every bugle manufactured in the U.S. up to the present. Eventually all branches of the Army adopted the basic 1892 G trumpet and around 1917 it was adopted by the Navy and Marines. The M1892 Trumpet was the standard U.S. Military trumpet through WWII, and is still used by many organizations to this day.

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