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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Maritime History: L.D. Lothrop's Patent Fog Horn

A surviving Lothrop's patent fog horn.
 Every once in a while we are able to find an item at Skipjack Nautical Wares & Marine Gallery that we can offer some factual information about it's history. Here, our research has taken us to the great maritime seaport of Gloucester, Massachusetts where this item was manufactured. Here is a brief history of the product and the company.

The fog horn was invented by Llewellyn Day Lothrop, born in Appleton, Maine in March of 1836. Mr. Lothrop opened a general ship chandler’s business in 1880 on Duncan Street in Gloucester, Massachusetts and soon became the leading chandlery for fishing gear. He invented different swivels & hooks for fishing, but was best known for the famous, Lothrop PATENT Fog Horn of which no Gloucesterman would sail without. This fog horn in this blog is an example of those manufactured by the L.D.Lothrop Co.,

Vintage picture of L. D. Lothrop's  horse-drawn wagon sandwich board advertisement.


Illustration of the working parts of a Lothrop fog horn, circa 1903.
Printed from Marine Engineering, Volume 8, April 1903: The fog horn illustrated here has a large sale in this country and abroad, as it embodies the two requirements of being well designed and well built. It is a forth, when a large quantity of air is pressed into the chamber and with little friction. The wear on the bearings and inside working parts is very small. The horn is protected by a galvanized sheet-iron covering and placed under the lever. Among the features of construction is the one-piece crank hanger, the turn-down handle having no nuts or pins to break loose, and the leather bellows, which is secure to the solid blocks of wood by being forced into the groove of the wood, held in place by a brass strip. All the bearings and metal parts are hard brass, made strong enough to withstand many years of service. Manufactured by L.D. Lothrop, 66 Duncan Street, Gloucester, Mass.

A picture of the L. D. Lothrop workshop showing a horn being attached to the bellows.
Photo was taken from  the blog "Schooner Adventure Mug Up".

Another example of a  Fog horn in an oak case, bears plaque from L.D. Lothrop, Gloucester,
Measures 16-1/2"h, 13-1/2"w, 20-1/2"d.  Notice the side-mounted horn. Photo from South Bay Auctions Inc. 

The pictures below are of the L.D. Lothrop boxed fog horn surviving in good working order that we currently have available. This particular model is  #19082, Pat. Aug. 20, 1901 as engraved on the makers brass tag. Crank handle on box side and retaining it's original red painted wood box and black stenciled letters on both sides. A wonderful example of a Gloucester, Massachusetts artifact. The box measures 20 1/2 in. X 9 1.2 in. X 16 1/2 in. Follow the link here to the fog horn listing on our webstore at Skipjack Nautical L. D. Lothrop box fog horn. This fog horn comes to us from the Arthur A. Rebman Maritime Collection.

Fog horn crank with wood handle and stenciled brand on the side.

View of the manufacturers brass label.

Opposite side of the box with stenciled "LOTHROP'S PATENT FOG HORN" and #1.

Top view with original leather handle. 


  1. It's a Classic horn, nice cause work without electrical source power. I love this idea, thank..and greeting

  2. Your blog is very interesting and full of passion :)

  3. Very interesting and classical pictures of Fog Horn, thanks for share.

  4. Amazing!!
    I really liked your blog, the pictures are nice.

  5. Hey, nice site you have here! Keep up the excellent work!


  6. This is a great site, I love anything nautical, and especially historical things. In fact I have just found in a charity shop an old Tankard with the words The Victory on it. I was so excited, I believed it was one of the crews back in the time when Nelson was at Trafalgar (England) 1800's I phoned the Auction house and told him all the facts, the maker, sanders and sons, with VR 30 written on it, and the sailors name and rank and he told me that it was Victorian, probably 1830s after the conflict, but was probably belonging to a sailor who was working on the Victory a few years after the war!

  7. This is lovely site! Thank you for sharing with us!

  8. My grandfather had a box like that sitting in his attic many years ago, I'm wondering if that's what's inside and whether it's still in working condition! Most of his things are still in storage, I can't wait to see if it's still working. how exciting!

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  9. Very awesome! I love the great finds you have put on your blog - especially this post about the fog horns :)

  10. Great post. Really informative and interesting blog. Do you use guest posting?

  11. Awesome!!!! I want to have one of this!!!!

  12. This is lovely site! Thank you for sharing with us.Great post. Really informative and interesting blog. Do you use guest posting?


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