Railroad Station Agent 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 Eastern Shore (Maryland) Lines of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The lamp has a metal body, a blue glass globe encircled by protected metal wire, and a meal handle and base. The top of the lamp is inscribed with the Handlan logo and the text “HANDLAN/ST. LOUIS USA.”
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
Handlan Manufacturing Co.
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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