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Gildwiller1918

WW1 US Signal Corps Lamp Set

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Here is an interesting item, a WW1 era US Signal Corps battery powered signal lamp kit. I love oddball items such as this by the way. So this kit was used pre-WW1 and probably would have been used into WW1 if not for advances in radio and field telephones. Although this and other obsolete items were still in the manuals of the time, realistically it most likely was not used in WW1. This kit typically consists of a leather belt and suspenders, a small leather box capable of holding 1 battery and a key switch, this was used to communicate Morse. Additionally a spare battery box was worn that held 4 extra batteries, and sometimes a larger shoulder strap leather box could be used that held 5 batteries and had a lamp hook up and signal key (shown on back of mannequin). I got this kit complete in the original packing crate, which held 4 lamps, and several leather straps, as well as extra batteries, which were wrapped in paper, and spare bulbs (these are particular hard to find spares for). The batteries were 3 volt and lasted about an hour if constantly used. I did test one of the original batteries, added water and charged it, and it still worked! 

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Here is the single battery box, inside were 2 wood strip dividers that held the battery in place and the quick connect wires ran over the top of the wood to the lamp connection, the big brass circular opening in the picture.

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Here is the spare battery box that held 4 batteries. It has belt loops on the back side to be worn on the belt. 

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Here is the larger box that held 5 batteries, this could also be worn on the belt, however it is fashioned with a shoulder strap, which allowed for freedom of movement. 

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Currently I have 4 lamps, which are all in working order, the 3rd lamp (L-R) is still in its original brown wrapping paper. The next image shows how the lamp connected to the boxes. These lamps had a belt clip that could be worn on the operators belt, and just hand held, however the handle was hollow allowing for a wood shaft to be used to increase elevation. 

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Here are the batteries themselves, most I have are dated Sept-Nov 1918. The last picture shows one in the original wrapping. 

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Here is an image from the US Army Signal Corps Museum, you can see the lamp and battery box on top by the sandbags. 

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