Railroad Hand-Signal Lantern, 1930s-40s

This railroad hand-signal kerosene lantern was manufactured by the Handlan Manufacturing Company of St. Louis, Missouri around 1930–1940. The lamp was used on the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad. The lamp has a metal body, a red glass globe encircled by protected metal wire, and a metal handle and base. The top of the lamp is inscribed with the Handlan logo and the text “HANDLAN/ST. LOUIS USA.” The red glass globe bears the stamped text “NY NH & H R.R.” which stands for the New York, New Haven, and Hartford 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 red globe was used by station agents to signal a train to stop, sometimes to pick up Form 31 train orders.
Currently not on view
Object Name
lantern, hand signal
Handlan Manufacturing Co.
ID Number
accession number
catalog 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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