POPHAM, Sir Home.

Telegraphic Signals;

or Marine Vocabulary: with Observations of Signal Flags, and the Best mode of Applying Them.

London: T. Egerton, 1812 Stock Code: 143641
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The first comprehensive flag signalling system

First issued privately by Popham in 1801, this is the first edition published with Admiralty approval. Popham's was the first fully-developed, comprehensive flag signalling system for the Navy, an immensely important innovation. A superb copy of this very uncommon book: Library Hub locates only the BL copy, OCLC adds copies at the National Maritime Museum, MIT and US Naval Academy.

"Home Popham's career was not that of the traditional naval officer. Nevertheless his achievements were considerable and varied. His Telegraphic Signals alone have been enough to ensure his lasting fame. But he also designed the semaphore which replaced the old shutter system of the Admiralty. He was a member of the chart committee which founded the reputation of Admiralty charts. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1799. In navigation, combined operations, and hydrography, as in his more spectacular exploits, his intelligence, curiosity, and enthusiasm - always at the service of the navy and his country - shine throughout his life. He was perhaps 'plausible', and certainly unconventional and controversial, yet he was a brilliant empiricist, a fine seaman, and a just and enlightened captain" (ODNB). A superb copy of this widely influential work.

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Octavo (232 x 138 mm). Contemporary dark blue straight-grained morocco, low, narrow bands with rope-twist gilt roll, bracketed by single gilt fillets, floral roll at head and tail of the spine, concentric double and single fillet panels to the boards together with Greek key and palmette rolls in blind, all edges gilt, ribbon-twist roll to the turn-ins, drab endpapers, brown silk page-marker remains intact.


Hand-coloured engraved frontispiece of the "Characters assigned to the Flags", numerous similar flags throughout the text.


A little rubbed, particularly at the extremities, some neat restoration on the joints, contents clean and bright, a very good copy.


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