Thursday, December 3, 2015

Gotta Keep Spinning!

When it comes to traveling on the high seas, a compass is always very handy. Columbus even used a compass to sail his four voyages. As the use of the compass became more prominent, more people began to understand magnetic declination. This is where the compass will no longer point to true north but point in the direction of magnetic north. For example if you are looking at your compass and it is pointing west, that would express that you location and direction of movement is east of the northern pole, if that explains it any easier but I digress. Navigation has the use of so many different technologies on its side to only make travel much easier and directional movement much more accurate.

The gyro-compass was invented in 1906 but not widely used till 1908. A German made invention, the gyro-compass was designed to be non-magnetic and would use a gyroscope to more accurately aid navigational sailors. America developed and had a working gyro-compass system in 1908 which formed the Sperry Gyroscope Company and beginning its use in 1911 for WWII. In 1913 the first gyroscope had been installed on commercial vessels by C. Plath. The Germany based manufacturer was already well known for other navigational aids including the Sextant.

The gyro-compass being non-magnetic would maintain accurate directions regardless of its location, the weather, the movement of the ship and also the make of the vessel. The name of the gyro-compass comes from the fact it is based off a gyroscope. A gyroscope is a spinning disc that uses the earth’s rotation to automatically match geographical direction. The gyro-compass uses the effect of gyroscopic procession from the gyroscopic effect, but a gyrocompass and gyroscope are two different objects. The gyroscope on its own is a spinning wheel mounted on a gimbal for free movement.

To learn more about the gyro-compass and other navigational tools:

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Monday, October 12, 2015

On the Open Sea!

               Lifeboat radiotelegraph transmitter receiver (LRTTR) was used as a last resort safe guard. When a vessel sinks communication may be hard to make aboard. When survivors would get to the lifeboat this device would be the relay for them to be saved.  It is designed to float so even without the lifeboat, this could be found floating about to maintain a connection. Many are a bright orange to help create a contrast so a passing by ship or even aircraft could spot it. This is by far one of the coolest communication devices we have on display! Lifeboats are always seen as a way to just get to shore and possibly stay dry. Using this device would make navigating much simpler in the sense of the connection can be stronger if you are closer to shore or another vessel.

To use the LRTTR a ground wire would be placed in the water while the antenna is raised. This device runs by hand crank to send and receive messages. Morse code is the only source of communications on this device. It has built in key and headset to hear the sounds as they transmit. It can also send an automatic distress signal to all receivers in automatic mode.

As communication in the world developed each piece of equipment made had a strong purpose and live out its lifespan. Morse code had been the biggest development in communications for seafarers. The integration of morse code on devices such as this would only make it much more seafarer and easier to be found.

We currently have a Radiomarine Corporation of America – Model: ET-8053 LRTTR on display. Come on down and take a first up close and personal look!

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Morse Code With Us

 In 1836, Samuel Morse and others founded this way of communication using dots and dashes as a quick way to get a message across. The signal strength never mattered too much because it would use so little strength to get the message across. As along as the person receiving it could understand the message things usually went smoothly. As voice transmission made its way into control, Morse code became a background player. It was the alternative way to send a message if the voice transmitters had not enough signal strength or were just not functional.
Soon after the rise of Morse code it had been incorporated into a lot of ship equipment. Many of the communication receivers we have here at, the Museum of Maritime navigation and communication, were used to pick up these signals. The early distress equipment such as the EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) and the Lifeboat Radiotelegraph Transmitter- receiver, functioned with Morse code as a center point. Morse code was a universal and easy way to transmit distress and problems aboard ships. These devices would transmit on frequencies both on land and in the sky. Pilots would be able to hear forms of distress if in the vicinity of a sinking vessel or a vessel in trouble. Most pilots and air traffic controllers had basic understandings of the system, enough to ensure the action needed when distress echoed on the frequencies. Many radio repeaters can identify with Morse code even though voice communications dominate the skies.

Morse code has since decreased in popularity since the start of the 21stcentury it is still a very interesting form of communication. Schedule a tour with us and even get hands on experience with our Morse code exhibit.
Visit our website at, tweet us at @mmncny or even check out the current Morse code exhibit we have ongoing now at the Staten Island Children’s Museum.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Let's Hit High Seas History!

Learn about the evolution of maritime equipment through the years and see the pieces in action. 

What comes to mind when you hear Navigation and communication? Although some may not be intrigued by what the past can teach you the Museum of Maritime Navigation and Communication is nothing but wonder after wonder of intrigue. All the equipment on display has been acquired over a 36 year time period by our founder Sam Farag. Each piece of equipment holds its own secrets and appeal. So of the items do still work and are repaired to maintain the working quality. Through an experience at this nonprofit organization you and your children can learn a lot that not many know. To see such old commonly used equipment preserved and in great condition is always eye catching. Currently we do have an exhibit at the Staten Island’s children museum focusing on Morse code. Morse code was found by Samuel Morse in 1836, this was the first signals to ever be transmitted and received for many years. At the museum itself we do have an exhibit on Morse code as well as a tester to hear and understand how Morse code works.


We are dedicated to the preservation of marine electronic equipment and local maritime history. Through our programs we strive to stimulate the interest of the children and adults in our community and encourage the study, understanding, and appreciation of the subjects represented by our collections.


To make available to the public a collection of maritime equipment and related historical material. To preserve the collection as part of Staten Island’s permanent heritage.
To arrange, create, and promote displays and exhibits showcasing the evolution of marine electronics and our rich local history.
To be an instrument of education by organizing meaningful programs, workshops and lectures at schools, libraries and cultural institutions.
To create a study center to promote the compilation of historical maritime narratives, publications, and photographs and encourage public interaction and research.

To learn more about the Museum of maritime Navigation and Communication please visit our website at