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I was recently in class in the SC State Fire Academy and one of the speakers, an employee/instructor of the Fire Academy no less, made a comment about something being the decision of the one with the most bugles on his collar.  I have been enraged ever since!!  they are Speaking Trumpets!!  I wanted to yell across the auditorium to set him straight.
Are any of you this insane about details of our traditions or have I lost it?

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Brother.. they are not bugles nor are they speaking trumpets.


They are plungers and funnels....


A Lt. has one plunger on his badge and collar pins, because he deals with company level crap. The LT decides to study for Captain, so the plunger then becomes a funnel to cram information for the exam, some of it being useless and  having nothing to do with the job.

The LT get promoted to Captain, and now has 2 plungers, as he derls with his own company level crap plus crap from the LTs.

The captain then decides to go for the gold... 2 plungers become 2 funnels to cram even more useless information into the remamnts of the brain from the last test cycle for promotional purposes.

This vicious cycle continues until one reches the 5 plunger stage... for the person wearing 5 plungers deals with crap from the Firefighters, LTs, Captains, Deputies and the politicians!

In my part of town, we used to have bars i.e. military, for Captains and "bugles" for everybody higher.  B.C.'s had 2 crossed Bugles and then you added additional crossed bugles for each rank above.  The old quote was "Bugles over bars" to show that the B.C. was in charge. 


We have since switched to Bugles for everybody.  They have always been called bugles in my department as far as anybody here can remember and that included a guy that had 40 plus years.  I have no idea why Captains had bars for so long.  I'd imagine that somebody at sometime in charge liked the military. 


I guess that to me it's not a big deal that we each use some different terminology.  I know that they are called speaking trumpets it's written into our specific department history even though we still call them bugles.  I guess that the way I see it is that because I can and do value and respect others traditions and values that I don't get caught up in these types of arguements.  If you choose to call it something different than me, that's ok.  If your tradition is different than mine it doesn't make either of us better or worse, just different.  Isn't that part of the fun of tradition?  You know, seeing how other people talk and do things.  To me, there are far greater things for us to worry about than what individual areas call the same thing. 


Have a safe and happy Masters weekend!!!

"To me, there are far greater things for us to worry about than what individual areas call the same thing."

I agree.

Many of our traditions and terms come from the mid-19th century.

As we discuss "bugles" vs. "trumpets" remember that we discussing the vernacular of perhaps 200 years ago. The meaning of words change. Try not to think of the difference between a bugle and a trumpet today. 

It is possible that most people had never seen a trumpet, but most men who served in the Civil war were familiar with a bugle?

A definition of a trumpet, even today, is "a bugle with valves."

A hearing aid was called and "ear trumpet" even though it obviously had no valves.
Check these out:

I am guessing that to most people the in the mid-19th century, the terms "bugle" and "trumpet" were interchangeable. In fact, they still are today. This is why we have "drum and bugle corps." (Which have valves, BTW.)


This discussion is over a tiny difference in semantics that possibly didn't exist the 19th century, and might not even exist today. It is ridiculous to get upset about the tiny difference between a trumpet and a bugle. This is especially true if we consider that the speaking device we are describing more closely resembles a bugle than a trumpet. If anything, "speaking trumpet" is the misnomer.

And don't forget the corn chips.  (Why do you think they called them that? Could it be that they are a BUGLE shape? )And BTW- the "Megaphone" probably wasn't invented until 1878 by Thomas Edison.



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