Railroad Hand-Signal Lantern, 1830s-1840

Description
This signal lantern was used on the Camden & Amboy Railroad in New Jersey from around 1833 until 1840. The top of the lantern bears the inscription “Edward Muschamp,” the conductor who used the lamp, as well as the inscription “Phile & NEW YORK RAILROAD” two cities connected on the Camden & Amboy route.
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. Specific motions of the lantern convey precise instructions such as “Clear to Depart;" "Move the train Forward;" "Move the train Backward;" "Slow Down;" "Slow Down Further;" or "Stop and Remain Stopped."
Location
Currently not on view
Object Name
lantern, hand signal
date made
1831-1840
maker
unknown
Physical Description
copper (overall material)
glass (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 14 1/4 in x 4 3/4 in; 36.195 cm x 12.065 cm
place made
United States: New Jersey
ID Number
TR*181048
catalog number
181048
accession number
25376
subject
Transportation
Work
Railroads
Communications
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Railroad
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
Gift of J.H. McCreery, thru F.W. Wolcott Jackson

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