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More about the heliograph

Saturday 27 July 2013

For the record, I have identified the heliograph my father is using in the photo I showed here the other day.

It is a British Mance type heliograph, mark V. On the web are pictures, more pictures, a copy of the 1905 handbook, and the memoirs of a Second World War British army signaller​—​who remembers the special excitement of using the heliograph during a training session on the golf links over­look­ing the Firth of Forth in the early 1940s, when with the aid of a bright moon the heliograph worked well and the signals could be read clearly.

Best of all, here is a set of cigarette cards published in 1911 that explain the whole business​—​something we will not see again, in this new era of plain packaging…

Backs and fronts of cards showing the heliograph, from the signalling series of 50 cards included in cigarette packets from 1911. Other cards in the series showed these aspects of naval signalling: flag semaphore (cards 1–30), mechanical semaphore (cards 31–34), flag waving (cards 35–40), and flashing lanterns (cards 41–43).

filed under Collecting + History

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Moon signals at Bustard Head
Lesley Marquis-Kyle 1923-2010

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