Tag Archives: signal lamp

The 1903 Model Signal ‘Gun’

Submitted for your consideration, a Navy signal outpost on New Caledonia, January 1943. A convoy of sailors en-route to water and supplies, guide their horses over a mountain trail. Note the M1903 Springfields over their shoulders and a curious-looking hand cannon held by the first rider.


Next, Navy signalmen arrive on pack horses at an outpost signal tower on New Caledonia during World War II. The French “Tricolor” flag and the “Fighting French” ensign are flying from the landlocked mast.


A closer look at those bluejackets…

Shows the unmistakable sign of a Model 1903 Signal Lamp.

This thing:

Lot 9706-16 U.S. Navy sailor holding a 1903 model night signal gun, circa WWI

The more you know…

Taking the guesswork (and Morse skill) out of signal lamps

First they came for the signal flags, now they are coming for morse blinkers…but you have to admit, it the day where the average recruit has way more experience in text messages than in dots and dashes, it makes sense.

The Office of Naval Research TechSolutions-sponsored Flashing Light to Text Converter (FLTC) uses a ship’s existing signal lamp to both send and receive optical lamp communications via an intuitive chat session on a tablet computer.

From the Navy:

Sponsored by the Office of Naval Research’s (ONR) TechSolutions program, FLTC features (1) a camera that can be mounted atop a signal lamp and hone in on Morse code bursts from another lamp within view, and (2) a hand-held device or laptop computer connected to this camera to display text messages sent and received.

Linking the commercially available camera and device is a proprietary converter that uses specialized software algorithms to process incoming light flashes into high-frequency signals-and then convert those into text messages. To reply to a text, a Sailor can use the device to type a response that is sent back as a Morse code message via specially powered LED lights that flash automatically.