Railroad Hand-Signal Lantern, 1920s-40s

This kerosene hand lantern was manufactured by the Manufacturing Company of New York, New York during the early 20th century. The lamp has a metal body has a blue glass bulb surrounded by a protective wire frame. The bottom of the lamp contained the oil font, with the wick protruding from the font into the bulb. The top of the lantern is stamped with the text “ARMSPEAR MANFG CO./“1925”/New York” while the lower metal portions reads “B.&O. R.R.” This lantern was used on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
Before the advent of portable two way radios train crews communicated via hand signals during the day, and lantern signals during periods of low visibility or at night. This lantern with the blue globe was used by station agents to signal a train to pick up train orders, or to mark equipment that was being worked on and wasn’t to be moved.
Currently not on view
Object Name
lantern, hand signal
date made
Armspear Manufacturing Company
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Railroad Stations
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Railroad
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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