Railroad Hand-Signal Lantern, ca, 1860

Description
This railroad hand signal oil lantern was used on the United States Military Railroad by the Union Army during the Civil War from 1862 until 1865. The base of the lamp held the oil font; the wick is inside the glass globe which is protected by the wire frame. The glass globe has the initials “USMRR” stamped into the side.
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 from the train's conductor to the train’s engineer or brakeman 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
Physical Description
brass (overall material)
glass (overall material)
Measurements
overall: 14 1/2 in x 8 in; 36.83 cm x 20.32 cm
ID Number
TR.315875
accession number
222961
catalog number
315875
Credit Line
Marian Price Taylor
subject
Civil War
Railroads
See more items in
Work and Industry: Transportation, Railroad
Work
Communications
Transportation
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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