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Aladdin's Lamp I


Ordnance approved
Premium Member
While not quite ordnance, this is close enough that I thought I would give it a shot and see if anyone can help with info/ID/reference.

I was given this piece sometime back, and have yet to find any sort of reference. It is approximately 50cm tall (20 inches) and roughly 15cm in diameter (6 inches). With the exception of a four digit number stamped in an interior plate and a numerical code on the light bulb, there are no markings.

It appears to be a floating signal, and it has an upper float chamber. There is a perforated threaded plug on the side which appears to have had a dissolving plug underneath. There is an external tube running toward the top, it appears that after a given period of time the plug would dissolve, allowing water to slowly enter the float chamber. The displaced air could escape through the tube.

The bottom section contains a fairly involved mechanism, the purpose for which is unknown.

The most interesting theory so far is that it was a signal device released from subs, either to pass messages, signal distress, etc, which would scuttle itself afterward. While an interesting thought, nothing has been found to support this. Can anyone help?


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Aladdin's Lamp II

Here are the rest of the pictures.


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Hello US Subs,
Looks similar to a marker buoy which would be attached to a lifebuoy thrown to a 'man-overboard'. The mechanism, with a relay may be a flashing unit, possibly, because of it's complexity, adjustable for different frequency of flash duration?
SSI's, (submerged signal indicators) were expelled from a vertical device which operated similarly to a miniature torpedo tube. The indicators themselves were cylindrical and chemicaly operated by reaction with salt water. They could make different colours of smoke or flare. Don't take this as proof positive, it's many years ago that I was in 'boats', and memory fades these days!
Best regards,
From the appearance and construction I'm guessing 1960s or earlier - but country is unknown as well.
I suggest you look at the bulb and the bulb holder to see if there are any markings on them.

Are the Screws BA or US threads?

Are there any markings on the capacitor next to the relay in the base unit?
Govt. item or ?

I doubt that it is a military piece, due to lack of markings. At least one of its functions would be as a beacon, i'd fancy. I've "googled" the living crap out of it, trying to come up with a bit of information, but came up empty.......Dano
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I suggest you look at the bulb and the bulb holder to see if there are any markings on them.

Are the Screws BA or US threads?

Are there any markings on the capacitor next to the relay in the base unit?

oops double post
Have you tried undoing the two screws in the picture lamp8.jpg to see fi there is a battery behind the brown disc?
The lamp's bulb only has a four digit code printed on it, nothing seen on other components. I will ask my son to pull the other two screws on the internal plate(the lamp is in the US, I'm overseas) and see what it looks like underneath.

It is the fact that it has so little markings and seems to be designed to sink itself that fuels the thoughts of people I've talked with that it could covert. It's obviously not a one-off, you would think it would be more well known, whatever it is.
The device

If it were a covert device, that would certainly explain lack of military markings, which makes even more sense when you account that it has a self sinking function, so I want to retract my statement that it is non military. Been after this one off and on pretty much all day, with no results. I hope someone can figure this out, because the suspense is killing me. All that gear in the bottom has me thinking of what other function beside a beacon could it have been, built in signal? locater? Do covert and beacon belong in the same sentence? I just don't know, but will try more webbing to find out. Dano
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