M-227 Signal Lamp Equipment SE-11

© Brooke Clarke 2007 - 2022

M-227 Signal Lamp
          Equipment SE-11


In 1943 the War Department contracted with J. A. Maurer, Inc. to make these signal lamps.  It's a fully loaded 5 "D" cell flashlight.  In the central one degree half angle the candlepower is greater than 3,000 with a peak of 4,500.  The beam width for half power is plus 2 degrees to minus 2 degrees, a fairly narrow beam.  When you point it up at night the beam is clearly visible.

Can be turned on and off by a trigger or by means of a J-51 hand key and 16 foot cord which operates a relay in the M-227 signal lamp.  Can by used hand held either as the plain M-227 or with a rifle type stock using sights on the top.  Permanent mounting on the telescoping leg tripod.  A Red filter hinges down for use with white light.  This is not infrared, but just dark red.  The M-172 goggles or MC-430 filters for the M3 or EE  binoculars were never part of my set.

The BA-30 is listed in TM 11-392 as the battery.  That was a first generation zinc carbon D cell battery.

Although designed for visual use, I'm sure it also puts out a lot of near and far IR light since it's a filament bulb source. 
A modern improvement would be to replace:
Such a device should allow for communications between two people at ranges over a mile at noon and neither of them need to know Morse code.
Pulse width modulation where the leading edge is always a clock edge and the time until the falling edge denotes a 0 or 1 bit.  That way the receiving station can synchronize the receiving clock. 

2022, Saw a very similar eBay set described as: M-438 Signal Lamp Equipment SE-11.  (TM 11-392 Signal Lamp Equipment SE-11)

US Militaria Fourm (M-227 Signal Lamp) - discussion about where used.

The 9-S-4240-L navy signal lamp is similar to the M-227  the tube is 3.5" x 22". Navy: Blinker Tube)

Red Light

I think that both the M-227 and M-132 were built in response to these two patents on the use of red light for signaling in daytime.  The red filter is not an added feature but a necessary part of the device.

There are two aspects:
1. The eye has poor sensitivity to red light so it would be difficult or impossible to see a very faint red light outdoors during the day.  This means the enemy would not see the signal, but an observer wearing red lens goggles that block out daylight would see the signal.  If binoculars are used they should include the rubber eye guards to block out daylight.

An experiment would be to see if wearing dark sunglasses would work to see the red signal.

2. The design of the optics is based on a collimator so that an image of the filament is projected as if coming from infinity.  This makes it hard to aim so in both patents he uses the idea of the eyepiece focal plane being coincident with the filament so that when looking through the telescope the location of the filament can be used.  But I think that's over kill since the observer can make a head movement of a few inches to accomplish the same end.  But this may be the reason the M-132 has the fine pointing capability.  It would be interesting to test that.

1346580 Flash-telescope, Robert W Wood,
1346580 Flash-telescope, Robert W Wood, App: 1919-02-25, Pub:1920-07-13, 398/131,359/399 -
 I suspect the mark ups are related to some legal dispute.

398: Optical Communications
/118 Over Free Space
/131 " including alignment
/172 Transmitter and Receiver System \ including visible light modulation

359 Optical: Systems and Elements
/350 Having Significant Infrared or Ultraviolet Property
/399 Compound Lens System \ Telescope

362 Illumination
/253 Combined
/293 Light Source and Modifier \ Including Wavelength modifier (e.g. filter)

116 Signals and Indicators
/18 Code Signaling

33 Geometrical Instruments
/227 Straight-Line Light Ray Type
1517332 Signaling system, Robert W Wood, App:
                  1919-10-30, Pub: 1924-12-02
1517332 Signaling system, Robert W Wood, App: 1919-10-30, Pub: 1924-12-02, 398/118,362/293,359/399,362/253,116/18,398/172,33/227,359/350 -

M-227 Signal Lamp

M-227 Signal Lamp w/M-341
The red filter bracket holds the filter in the open position.  Folded sights are up.  The relay coil is 77 Ohms so with 7.5 volts the current will be just under 100 ma.  When the relay is de-energized the current can not change so 100 ma flows through the 1k Ohm snubber (Wiki) resistor producing a voltage of 100 volts.

The idea of the filter is that when the M-227 is used against a green background the eye has a hard time seeing red.  So when the operators are wearing red goggles they can not see the green background and do see the red signal.   The parabolic reflector is about 2.25" diameter.

Some of the parts are interchangeable with the TL-122-B? Flashlight (also a "D" cell type). I expect the no letter and "A" versions of the TL-122 were made of sheet metal.  The later versions were made of plastic.

LG-21 Tripod

LG-21 Tripod
The tripod is about 17" collapsed and about 39" when extended.  Each leg is 14" collapsed and has two pulls or three times the collapsed length when extended.  The ball head and a notch that mates with a pin so the signal lamp will not rotate in a light wind.
Also see my Tripods web page.

J-151 Key

                Thumb & Finger Key The loop is electrically connected to the terminal on it's side of the key but the paddle is electrically insulated from both contacts.  That way you don't get a shock, unless you touch the other conductor.  When the relay opens it produces a "kick" voltage.  If this key was used with a transmitter and if one side of the keying circuit was ground you would want ground on the loop side.

Of course pretty much any other manual More key could be used, but not the Vibroplex (wiki) type because there's a turn on time associated with filament lamps so high speed dots would not work. That could be fixed by replacing the filament lamp with an LED.

MC-430 Red Filters

These can be use with either the M-227 or the M-132 and I suspect other signal lights that us a similar red filter on the light source.  Another option is the red lens version of the M-172 goggles.  There are clear lens version marked M-172 so that designation does not necessarily mean red lenses.

 MC-430 Red Filters
This pair of filters can be attached to binoculars (not goggles).
B&L M3 6x30 and the opposite end fits a Zeiss D.F 6x24.standard 6x30 and 6x24 as long as the outer size of the objective tubes are the same for the filter adapter clamps.
M3 & REL Canada 6x30 was the standard military model for ground US forces. Later models got better sealing and some with coated optics.

Signal Corps.   U.S. Arm
1 Ea. Filter MC-430
File No. 16321 -- Phila - 43
Stock No. 68430
Item No. 6
Contractor J. A. Maurer, Inc.
New York, N.Y.
34mm = 6x30 EE Binocular objective end dia.
MC-430 Red Filters
49mm = M3 6x30 objective end dia.
Note red filter is 31mm dia.
MC-430 Red
M3 6x30 (photo from Kien)
M3 6x30
                        Binoculars with MC-430 red filters
The M13A1 might also work?

Army Signal
                Corp B&L 6x30 Binoculars The Army Signal Corps EE 6x30 Binoculars work with the MC-430 ref filters.

EE-84 Signal Lamp Equipment

Includes the M-132 Signal Lamp, MC-430 Filter, M-172 Goggles, J-46 Key, FT-159 Lamp Mount, CD-332 cord, Tripod type G, with bronze head (SIG_8-EE-84.pdf)
Note the filter and goggles are common with the M-227. The Goggles are not used with the filters.
The MC-430 filters can be fitted to binoculars, not goggles.

The thing that I don't understand expense associated with: bubble level, Through compass, Azimuth dial, Elevation dial and gears, optical telescope.  These add a great deal of cost, but why?
A Morse key is a part of the set. But it still might be intended as a survey post light rather than a communication device.  It would located on high ground and would need the azimuth and elevation settings to aim at the surveying transit location?
All the other Signal Lamps I've seen use non optical sights and are aimed using an eyeball and hand.  This seems closer to a surveying instrument.  Let me know.
For various reasons is was not adopted, see the YouTube: At Ease, Soldier!: WW2 US Army Signal lamp EE-84, 3:59 -

Some information at G503.com (EE-84 lamp) - BX-22 contains 8 "BA-30 ("D" cell) batteries in parallel pairs.
The Dim switch position is 4.5 Volts and the Bright switch position is 6.0 Volts.

The Army EE-8 is a field telephone.  The Survey Signal Lamp 2 Inch has azimuth and elevation positioning, a sight so is very similar in capability and costs a tiny fraction of what the M-132 would cost.

Photos from Kien.

Fig 1 M-132 Signal Lamp
EE-84 Signal
                  Lamp Equipment, M-132 Lamp
MC-430 Filters
One end fits B&L M3 6x30 and the opposite end fits a Zeiss D.F 6x24
EE-84 Signal Lamp Equipment, MC-430 FIlter

Fig 2 Tripod Fitting?
EE-84 Signal
                  Lamp Equipment, M-132 Lamp
Fig 3 Lamp base?
Reticule in sight?
EE-84 Signal
                  Lamp Equipment, M-132 Lamp
Fig 4
EE-84 Signal
                  Lamp Equipment, M-132 Lamp
Fig 5 BG-72
EE-84 Signal
                  Lamp Equipment, M-132 Lamp
Fig 6
EE-84 Signal
                  Lamp Equipment, M-132 Lamp
Fig 7
EE-84 Signal
                  Lamp Equipment, M-132 Lamp
Fig 8
EE-84 Signal
                  Lamp Equipment, M-132 Lamp
Fig 9 Item at lower left is the cover for the
elevation gear.
EE-84 Signal
                  Lamp Equipment, M-132 Lamp
Fig 10 looks like Pop rivets.
EE-84 Signal
                  Lamp Equipment, M-132 Lamp
Fig 11 Lift-the-Dot
EE-84 Signal
                  Lamp Equipment, M-132 Lamp
When were pop rivets invented?  The above may just be eyelets (tubular rivet).  Fig 10 looks like pop rivets.
1916 by Hamilton Wylie (Made Up In Britain)
GB106169 Improved Means of Closing Tubular Rivets, Hamilton Neil Wylie, 1917-05-17 -


Signal Lamp returns a lot of patents related to railroad signaling, automobile lights, traffic lights so it's difficult to find army signaling lamps.
Searching for M-227 Patent, if you have the number let me know.

Google patent for all the words: code light and at least one of the words: morse telegraph
5804829 Programmable infrared signal beacon, 250/504H; 340/321 - wrist watch style
3668684 Portable Morse Code Signaling Device 340/321 ; 341/13; 341/173; 341/66 - like a flashlight
3001185 Morse Code Signaling Devices, Cleek, Sep 1961,340/321 ; 116/18; 340/815.75; 362/157; 398/182  - looks like coffee can over pistol grip, hand held  Aldis
3142052 -Emergency Signaling Device,Norman E. Tambert, Jul 1964,340/321 ; 116/18; 340/815.77; 362/193; D28/13 - looks like coffee can over pistol grip, has large clock wnid key & generator
3021516 February 1962 Spitz et al.
3142052 July 1964 Tambert
3300582 January 1967 Himes et al.
3496294 February 1970 Emanuels
1966354 High Speed Telegraph System , WU, 178/3 ; 178/17D; 358/474; 370/304 - light & photocells
7261433 Miniature flashlight having replaceable battery pack and multiple operating Modes, 429/39 ; 429/34 - with carabiner
3001185 Morse Code Hand Signaling Devices, 340/321 ; 116/18; 340/815.75; 362/157; 398/182 - hand held Aldis type light
2923069 Code Transmission Device, 434/222 ; 174/153R; 178/115; 340/321; 340/815.54 - a round window (dot) and a long narrow window (dash)
4124842 Morse Code Signaling Device, 340/321 ; 340/331 - SOS strobe light
3205487 September 1965 Vriend
3614528 October 1971 Craddock
3668684 June 1972 Johnson
3764849 October 1973 Ohta
3953763 April 1976 Herrick
3215842 Optical Communications System, NASA, 398/170 ; 359/290; 359/529; 398/131; 398/169; 398/201 - modulated light beam
4408182 Lighting and Morse Code Signaling Device, 340/321 ; 178/79; 340/331; 341/187 - similar to the modes on some flashlights
3205487 September 1965 Vriend
3668684 June 1972 Johnson et al.
3786494 January 1974 Clark
3810150 May 1974 Jacobs
4058679 June 1978 Hashimoto
4124842 November 1978 Bachelor
4163220 July 1979 Henningsen et al.
2370601 Small Flashlight Structure, Wimpfheimer, Feb 27 1945, 362/103 ; 362/190; 446/337; 446/485; D11/51 - mounted in toy
5670942 Illumination and communication device, Michael L. Lewis, Navy,  Sep 23, 1997, 340/555 ; 340/556; 398/109; 398/130; 398/172 - sealed IR beacon - not Phoenix Jr beacon
4717913 January 1988 Elger
4727600 February 1988 Avakian
5289306 February 1994 Hirohashi et al.
5416627 May 1995 Wilmoth
5424859 June 1995 Uehara et al.
3205487 Portable Visual Signal Device for giving , Joseph A. Vriend, Sep 7 1965, 340/321 ; 340/332 -  distress signal for boats
3007110 Flashlight Electric Utility Tester, Hyman Rosenstrach, Oct 31 1961, 324/506 ; 362/205; 362/310; 429/90; 429/97; 439/500; 439/912 - can be used as continuity tester
1946595 Signaling Device, Joseph Straughan, Feb 13, 1934, 379/108.01 ; 340/321; 340/815.74; 362/253; 379/419 - combines mike/speaker & flashlight
4048631 Portable variable intensity signalling flashlight, Jose Flores, Sep 13, 1977, 340/321 ; 362/184 - two beams each of different color

1822619 September 1931 Grossman
2498805 February 1950 Gurevsky
2751490 June 1956 Emerson
3030497 April 1962 Cheng
3197757 July 1965 Porta
3205487 September 1965 Vriend
3800136 March 1974 Edelson
2436515  SYSTEM FOR VISUAL CODE SIGNALING, Swift, Feb 24 1948, 340/332 ; 178/115 - used 5 lights in parallel, i.e. Baudot
7456754 Antifratricide beacon, Derek Haynes, Stuart M. Jenkins, Cejay Engineering, 2008-11-25, - Cejay Engineering: Phoenix Jr beacon - uP based & 9V battery.
9866369 Infrared beacon and controlling method of same, Derek Haynes, Guido Albert LEMKE, Mark Haynes, Cejay Engineering, 2018-01-09, - Pegasus 7 Synchronized, PEGASUS™ 7.1AA 902416R Training model

Heilograph is in patent class 116/20 Signals & Indicators/Heilographic
2237523 Wick Fuse, Philip E. Damon, Apr 1941, 431/151 ; 116/202; 126/25B; 431/269; 431/287; 431/291; 431/350; 44/506; 44/519 - we called them smudge pots
a lower cost option for a barricade light

116/18 is code signaling
2377414 Blinker Signaling Device, Sam Gold (Einson-Freeman Co), Jun 5 1945, 434/223 ; 116/18; 229/76; 40/491; 446/486 - cardboard
2377345 Blinker Singaling Device, John V. Horr (Einson-Freeman Co),  Jun 5, 1945, 434/223 ; 116/18; 446/486 - made from this sheet metal and when  you squeeze it the bars change from white to black.
2363566 Signaling Lamp, A.C.W. Aldis (Aldis Brothers Ltd), Nov 28, 1944, 116/18 ; 160/134; 359/233; 359/889; 362/282; 74/97.1 - rotary vanes
2359187 Signaling Lamp, A.C.W. Aldis (Aldis Brothers Ltd),  Sep 26 1944, 359/889 ; 116/18; 116/202; 340/815.56; 362/290; 362/354 -
vertical vanes - This is the navy signal lamp that shows up in many W.W. II movies.  used for Morse code
2336927 Code Signal Display Apparatus - used with flags
2206169 Light Modulating System, Eisenhut (Carl Zies), Jul 1940, 359/223 ; 116/18; 359/225; 359/837 - voice

patent class 398 optical communications
2345445 Transmission and Modulation of Light Beams, Ben F. Atwood, Mar 1944 - voice
2399715 Signal System, Leonard M. Wittlinger (GM), May 7, 1946 - voice
2404696 Communication and Recognition System, Harmon B. Deal (RCA), Jul 1946 - uses neon lamp transmitter and photo cell receiver for IFF
2423254 Frequency Modulation Light Beam Transmission, Michael Rettinger (RCA), Jul 1, 1947 - electromagnet rotates a prism - voice
2428713 Signaling System, Linderg, Oct 7 1947, 250/461.1 ; 342/410; 380/59; 398/129; 455/345 - Telegraphy, black light (UV) and fluorescent screens
2310852 Luminescent Light Source and Method of Manufacture, Leverenz, Feb 1943
1149123 signaling Apparatus, PEBCY W. FULLER, Aug 3, 1915 - for determining bearing and distance between ships
2074737 Cathode Ray Modulation Indicator
2075094 signaling System, Lewis W. Chubb (Westinghouse), Mar 1937 - polarized invisible light is rotated to signal compass bearing
2334085 Device for Location of a Source of Radiation, Graves (Alltools, UK), Nov 1943, - IR thermocouples to get bearing to aircraft
2199066 Electro-optical Method and Apparatus, Philip Bernstein (Press Wireless), Apr 30, 1940 - frequency conversion using CRT & photocells
1335520 Conveyance - car has luminous scheme that's different front and back
1385657 Method and Apparatus for Utilization of Observable Radiation, Louis Bell, Jul 1921 - using IR or UV for telegraphy
1936514 Discharge Tube, Tomas C. Lengnick, Nov 1933, - sends IR light ti illuminate object
2032588 Communication System, Herman. Potts Miller, Mar 3, 1936 - complex mixing systems for light communication using sidebands
2062512 Motor Vehicle Vision Preserver
2120765 Infrared Bat Viewing means, Lars Jdrgen Orvin, Jun 1938, general IR image Viewer
2225044 Method and means for Reproducing Infrared Images, Roscoe H. George (RCA), Dec 17, 1940 - 7.5 to 10 nm IR, zinc or magnesium sulphate is used on the secondary lens of a telescope whose primary mirror sends the IR to the secondary where is changes the phosphorescent chemical which in turn radiates visible light
2443258 Optical Signaling System Including means for Dispersing and , N. E. Lindenblad, Jun 15 1948, 398/201 ; 353/81; 359/615; 380/54 -
disperses the image of a word such as "ATTACK" using the wavelength of light so can only be recombined using the correct optical path components
2457502 Signal System Emp;oying Polarized Light, Judson O D. Shepherd, Dec 28 1948, 340/906 ; 340/902; 398/140; 398/152; 398/184 - voice
2466000 Photophone, Chester L. Brown, Apr 5 1949, 398/132 ; 362/253; 398/131- two 5 cell flashlights modified to send and receive voice using light beams
796254 Photophone, Hartmann, Aug 1 1905, 398/132 ; 359/224; 359/291, -carbon arc and Selenium photo cell voice over light beam 2-way
1973089 Optical Signaling Apparatus, Robert Median (Carl Zeiss), Sep 11, 1934, 398/132 ; 398/131- vibrating string modulator Selenium photo cell Rx
2153709 Apparatus for Establishing Communications by means of Light, Bournisien, Apr 11 1939,
 398/132 ; 359/230; 359/727; 359/889; 362/263; 362/293; 362/298; 398/131 - uses mechanical electromagnetically driven light valve & photo cell
2389649 Variable Intensity Light Signaling Apparatus, Donald E. Stark, Nov 27, 1945, 398/130 ; 250/226; 315/176; 315/246; 315/76; 340/331; 398/186 -
uses ceramic negative resistor as light source


Mance Type Mk V Heliograph
C-3 US Navy Infrared IR Signaling Telescope
Flashlights -  
Binoculars in general Orion 9x63 astronomical (note with large (7mm) exit pupil diameter they work well at dusk and dawn)
PAS-6 Metascope IR viewer and source
T3C - Russian monocular Image Intensifier (star light scope)
TVS-2 Crew Served Weapon Sight
M18 IR Binoculars - near IR not hot people or car engines
M32 Periscope 105mm IR Gun Sight
MD-1 Automatic Astro Compass - also can see stars in the daytime
Astro-Compass for sighting Sun & stars
Periscopic Aircraft Sextant - Sun & stars
NextStar60 - cleaver microcontroller telescope using DC motors and shaft encoders
Celestron 8" Telescope with Equatorial wedge and tripod- This model has a clock drive but no computer control.  It's big and heavy, not something you pull out for a quick 5 minute look up.  Would be much better if used with a permanent pier.  It takes quite some time to do a Polar alignment, but when done you can find about anything just using the hour angle and declination scales.
Cloud Detection - as part of weather forecasting like used as part of an automated observatory
Hughes Probe Eye far (heat) IR viewer
Shadow or Projection Clocks
PVS-4 Starlight Scope
PVS-5A Night Vision Goggles
UAS-4 Infrared Surveillance System, AN/AAS-14 Infrared Detecting Set, MK-898/AAS-14A Optical Filter Kit
IR Beacon
Thermal Hand Held Imager DFOV
Optics - optical patents - optical bench


Papers of John Maurer - at Ruters
M-227 Signal Lamps from Normandy - Mentiones TO/E 7-37, Infantry Rifle Company, Parachute

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