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From the Collection of Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village 89 Merri Street Warrnambool Victoria

Foghorn; plunger type, brass cylinder & horn with adjustable angle, wood handle on plunger & wood base. Inscriptions Inscriptions of maker on foghorn. Made by Kockums, Malmo, Sweden, Tyfon model. C. 1910
Object Registration
flagstaff hill, warrnambool, shipwrecked coast, flagstaff hill maritime museum, maritime museum, shipwreck coast, flagstaff hill maritime village, great ocean road, foghorn, fog horn, tyfon foghorn, kockums mlk verkstad, malmo sweden
Historical information
A marine foghorn gives an audible navigational signal to warn vessels of dangers, hazards and the presence of other vessels in fog conditions.

The foghorn signal is a series of long and short sounds with short or long pauses between them. These common signals conform to a code called the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea and provide such information as whether the vessel is under sail or motor, large or small, aground or at anchor.

The designs of foghorns vary but they all use a column of air to make a loud sound. Some use vibrating plates or metal reeds, some force air through holes in a revolving cylinder or disk, sounding like a siren, and some use a clockwork mechanism to open the valves that let the air into the horn. They are usually built to meet particular specifications e.g. U.S.C.G. (US Coast Guard).

This Tyfon plunger foghorn has a horizontal handle attached to a vertical rod that moves up and down inside a cylinder. When the handle is plunged down, in a similar way to a bicycle pump, the air is forced out of the bottom of the cylinder into a pipe with a bell shaped horn on the end, making a loud, low sound. The wider base of the cylinder helps to keep it stable.

The Tyfon foghorn was manufactured in about 1910 by Kochums Mechanical Workshop (Kockums Mechanical Werkstad, Ltd.), Malmo, Sweden. The company was established in 1840, became a Limited company in 1866, and established a shipyard at the Port of Malmo, Sweden, in 1870. The civilian ship production in Malmo ceased in 1987. As well as building ships the company built large industrial and agricultural machinery and maritime goods.

Other marine warning devices included bells and gongs. Some lighthouses fired small cannon at regular intervals. Steam powered whistles and even explosives have also been used as warning signals.

[References: Foghorn, Wikipedia; Plunger type portable fog horn, Elisha Webb & Son Co,; Sailing in fog,]
When Made
c. 1910
Made By
Kockums MLK Verkstad (Kochums Mechanical Workshop) (Industrial machinery and shipbuilder)
Inscriptions & Markings
Inscribed "Kockums MLK Verkstad. Tyfon Trade Mark Malmo Sweden"
Last updated
17 Oct 2018 at 1:43AM