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THE FOGHORNS

The sailing ships used flags to signal to other vessels. In foggy weather these flag-signals were of no use. In 1879 a law made the use of mechanical foghorns mandatory On all ships with a gross weight of more than 25 tons. The existing foghorns were of low quality however.

gfx This inspired captain O.C.Hansen from Skudeneshavn to invent An improved model. He took out patent on his foghorn and started manufacturing in 1881. The horn works by the same principal as an organ. A crank-handle is connected to two leather-bellows. These will pump air into a third bellow from which the air goes out Through the horn. The sound is quite characteristic ( try it yourself! ) Most of the foghorns that were made were of small size like those Shown here. But larger models measuring up to 1,5 meters of height were also produced.

In the foghorns factory 7-8 men were employed at the beginning of our century. Craftsmen from Skudeneshavn, the blacksmith and coppersmith a.o. made parts for the foghorn manufacturing. Also counting the suppliers, some 30 people were involved in the Foghorn-production at its peak.

The Hansa-foghorn (as it was nicknamed ) was also a success abroad. Navies and lighthouse keepers in far range of countries were among the customers. Besides its original purpose, the foghorn has also been used to warn of sandstorms in Sahara, to call farm-workers in Canada and Australia in from fields and to warn of fire in South-Africa.

When O.C.Hansen sold his factory in 1917, he had produced some 33.000 foghorns. He had also received several golden medals for his products. The new owners produced foghorns until 1960, when the factory finally got closed down.

 

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