Date of this Version



© 1976, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


This NebGuide contains hand signals useful for communicating around noisy equipment and from a distance.

Throughout history, man has devised methods of contacting others who were out of voice range or who could not be heard because of excess noise. The Indians were skilled at using smoke signals or by imitating some form of wildlife such as the owl or coyote.

The early explorers used other signs to guide them. The slashing of bark on trees or sticks pointed in a certain direction were keys for keeping the persons from getting lost or for others to follow.

The railroad used a system of lantern signals to make contact between the trainman and the engineer. The Navy used semaphore or a system of flags to communicate between ships at sea. In fact, the Jolly Roger was really a signal to other ships that they were in for trouble.

Think of some of the devices used for signaling. They include alarm, beacon, bell, buzzer, fire, flag, gong, gun, hand, lamp, lantern, light, mast, post, rocket, shot, siren, whistle, and others.