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Posted By: Walt Mathers on: 08/22/2013 16:40:35 EDT
Subject: Signal Poles und Joint Sockets

Message Detail:
Good thread gents, and the timing is impeccable too.

I just had a friend remove a well-seasoned 10' X 1" X 8" plank of hickory from the floor of my living room. Not exactly the best thing to have lying around at night as you traipse by it half asleep. (sorry Tim G... too heavy to ship over by airmail on my budget).

Those who portray early 1860's US Army Signal Corpsmen ought to have access to sets of jointed signal pole staffs, either of hickory (preferred) or ash (the 1860's substitute for hickory).

The four section s combined give a pole 16 feet long with a measured diameter of 1 1/2 inch at the butt end and 1'2 inch at the top end. Interestingly enough, somewhere around mid-war, signal officers began receiving replacement kits missing the bottom or thickest joint.

We know this by a number of cases where, sig ofcrs were noting in their receipts for stores that, only three joints of staff came through with their kits.

If a torchman were to send night messages using the regulation kit, he would have used the two middle joints.

If, by mid-war, he were to use what became known as the service kit, the bottom two joints would have been employed for torch work.

If you were to substitute 8 or even 10 foot saplings for joined poles, the taper would therefore be thicker for the sapling intended for use with a torch.

Back to jointed poles:

The ferrules were known to have been fabricated out of brass - three such for the regulation kit and two for the service kit. Besides having the upper-most edges widened by use (necessitating the use of wooden shims to regain snugness) these brass tubes were known to have split under traffic. Early camp-of-instruction images show these fitting as straight tubes while a close-up image of the Winder Building (Central Station, Washington DC) shows a joint revealing small brass reinforcement rings on the torchman's staff jointer.

We have threads elsewhere on this forum that describe the pattern of the new service kit construction but I don't know if any mixing and matching of old and new equipments occurred. I'd rather suspect that it did occur, as to signal apparatus, since the signal corps provided their own quartermaster supplies along these lines.

Now back to your original question:

No one is making sets of jointed poles that I know of. With a supply of hickory and/or ash hardwood and a wood-turner having a lathe long enough - I think we could begin taking orders.

Hope that helps.

Your Obedient Servant

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