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Posted By: Ray Wemple on: 12/11/2007 20:37:37 EDT
Subject: RE: Yet Another Vessel Named for Signal Pioneer

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Your post reminded me of our attempt to recover the ships bell from the USNS A.J.Myer and have it transported to the SC Museum @ Camp Gordon. There was an interest at the time by the museum staff, however that fizzled out. Wonder if the A.J.Myer is still part of the James River "Ghost Fleet" or if she was scrapped.

While researching on Myer several years ago the use of pyrotechnics came up and of course, the Coston Signal Flares. She was married, some say secretly, at the very young age of 16, possibly 15 to her inventor/engineer husband who was obviously very intelligent. When he died, she was only in her twenties and had four children to care for. She discovered her husbands work on the flares and got some info back from the Navy which he had previously worked for. She worked very hard to refine the information her husband left and to make a real workable product which eventually happened. The first two attempts to get the U.S.Navy to use her system failed. However, just prior to the CW another trial proved successful and the signaling system was well received. Mrs. Coston got the huge sum of $20,000.00 for her patent from the govt. (Navy) and manufactured the flares during the CW, sometimes at a loss according to the article.

She traveled to England with two small children to promote her signaling products and was somewhat successful with that attempt. According to the article, the company was still in business in 1970. Also, she did connect with a person who mfrd pyrotechnics in NYC and almost set the NYC City Hall ablaze with his fireworks display which celebrated the completion of the trans-Atlantic cable. Quite a lady, my opinion.

The article can be found by going to your Web search engine and typing in " PILATO-TEMP" which brings you to an article written by Denise Pilato for the "International Journal of Naval History".
Just my two cents worth on the subject.
73 de Ray

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