AN EXCELLENT “LIKE NEW” HELIOGRAPH – UNISSUED
COMPLETE SET OF INSTRUMENT HEAD, TRIPOD, SPARE PARTS,
CARRYING CASE AND STRAPS – ALL IN EXCELLENT CONDITION:
This is an excellent and complete Heliograph Set, as
issued to teams of signalmen in the field. While this
set is the Mark V, British Army Set, dating from World
War Two, the technology of this reliable system had not
appreciably changed since it was invented in the mid-19TH
Century, and the equipment and manner of its use in the
field did not differ significantly from one nation’s
armed forces to the next.
The use of heliographs by the US Army is well
documented, particularly during the Indian Wars period.
Signal Corps soldiers equipped with heliographs were
active in the Montana Territory in the late 1870’s and
the use of the heliograph in the final campaign against
Geronimo and the Apaches in Arizona and Mexico in the
late 1880’s is a matter of historical record. That the
heliographs continued to be used by armies around the
world well into the 20th Century is not
something that is commonly known by collectors. Found
to be useful in areas not yet crossed with telegraph and
eventually telephone lines, the heliographs continued to
provide the troops in the field with a reliable long
distance communication network. The US Army employed
the heliograph with notable success in areas of
operations such as along the Southwest Border of the
United States, the Philippines, China and other remote
areas of operations.
This “Mark V” Heliograph Instrument set was manufactured
for the British Army and is so marked. The instrument
proper consists of the complete headpiece, with both the
primary and secondary mirrors, as well as the aiming
post. The entire headpiece, as well as the full
complement of spare parts, tools, and extra mirrors is
contained and carried in a heavy leather pouch on a web
carrying strap. All of the components and the leather
case are in “like new” condition, showing no signs of
ever having been issued and what little rubbing is
present on any of the parts is due to buffing against
the inside of the case. All of the components fit
together properly for assembly, and none show any
misshaping. The leather case leather retains its
original natural leather color with no oil soaking or
soiling, the straps and billets are all intact and full
length, the web strap is complete and full length, and
the stampings on the leather case are fully legible.
The original instruction sheet is present, but age and
having been folded caused the paper to deteriorate.
While I was able to save the original to keep it with
this set, I transcribed the text to a fresh sheet of
paper which is included with this set, in order that the
new owner have the correct set of instructions to
assemble and use this heliograph, or to include with
this set when it is displayed.
The matching tripod, measuring 40” tall with a 2
˝”diameter brass head, is marked on the brass leg
sockets “STAND LAMP OR HELIO A MK II” and dated 1943.
The three wood legs are intact, full length, retain the
original red colored finish, and each of the ends is
fitted with a brass reinforcement plate. The mounting
plate is fitted with a threaded cap which is retained
with a chain on a swivel to prevent loss. The webbing
material carrying strap is in like new condition,
showing no wear or staining.
This is a particularly nice set in excellent condition.
A very historic Signal Corps collectable, and presenting
as a complete set such as this Heliograph does, this
instrument makes for a very interesting artifact from
the days of early military communications. (0601)