This “Conger” model battery-powered signal lantern was manufactured by the Conger Lantern Company of Honeoye Falls, New York in 1989. The Conger Lantern Company originally operated in Portland, Oregon until it was purchased by the Star Headlight & Lantern Company of Honeoye Falls, New York in 1982. The lantern was incredibly popular due to its lightweight, rust-proof stainless steel body and rubber coated handle. The lantern has sockets for two bulbs; the bare bulb with reflector below the lantern body was used for signaling while the smaller adjacent bulb makes a focused beam that could be used as a flashlight. This particular lantern was witnessed to be the last Conger from the Star Company's assembly line, as the company changed to producing their line of plastic lanterns in 1989.
Before the advent of portable two way radios, train crews communicated via hand signals during the day, and lantern signals during periods of low visibility or at night. Hand lantern signals are still used in situations when radio intercommunication is impractical. Specific motions of the lantern convey precise instructions such as “Clear to Depart;" "Move the train Forward;" "Move the train Backward;" "Slow Down;" "Slow Down Further;" or "Stop and Remain Stopped."