Maine Memory Network
Maine's Online Museum

Login · My Account · Show Album


 

 
 

Lesson Plan: Portland Observatory - Signals

This Exhibit Contains 4 Items


View options: slideshow view | list view | Copy all items to My Album

Item 6157

Signals at the Portland Observatory

Signals at the Portland Observatory / Maine Historical Society

This is a watercolor painting that Captain Moody created to show Portlanders the different signal flags used at the Observatory.
According to the flags Moody has raised on the Observatory what types vessels are entering Portland harbor?
How many different types of vessels does Moody have flags for?
Compare this painting to a modern photograph of the Portland Observatory.
How are they different?
How are they the same?
Why do you think the images of the Observatory and surrounding land are not exactly the same?

 

Item 174

Signal flags, Portland, ca. 1800

Signal flags, Portland, ca. 1800 / Maine Historical Society

This is a page from a notebook kept by Captain Moody at the Observatory for general signals. Can you read Moody's cursive? (Remember that in Moody's era the letter s sometimes appears as the letter f.) These flags are used to signal townspeople and merchants when a vessel is entering Portland harbor.
What are some of the types of vessels Moody can signal?
How are the signals for a merchant ship and a neutral ship different? How are they the same?
Is there another flag shown here that has a double meaning? Which one and what are the meanings?

Transcription

view a full transcription

The link above will download a PDF file. Help with PDF.

 

Item 165

Signal flags, Portland Observatory, ca. 1810

Signal flags, Portland Observatory, ca. 1810 / Maine Historical Society

This is a page from a notebook Captain Moody kept at the Portland Observatory for private signals. This notebook contained the names of people who subscribed to Moody's service of signalizing. A local merchant or Captain would pay Moody five dollars a year for the service of raising a private signal flag when their vessel was spotted on the horizon.
Other than merchants and Captains who else might be interested in the information Moody was providing?
Look at the document.
Who was subscribing to Moody's service?
Why would these people subscribe to this service?
Why do you think these flags look so different from one another?
Why is that important?

 

Item 169

Signals at the Portland Observatory

Signals at the Portland Observatory / Maine Historical Society

This poster was created in 1846 of signals at the Portland Observatory.
At the time this poster was made how long had the Observatory been signalizing? Hint: The Observatory began signalizing in 1807.
The poster is seperated into two sections, the top is for general signals and the bottom is for private signals.
Compare the flags shown here with the ones you looked at earlier.
Are any of the flags the same?
Which of the general flags have remained the same?
Which of the private signals have remained the same?

 

 

Back to Top