Maritime Museum of BC, 984.007.0001

Foghorns are a very useful tool, and navigational aid in foggy conditions. They can help avoid other vessels or a rocky shoreline. Old precursors to foghorns include bells, or gongs, or even the periodic firing of a cannon. All of these methods, however, are more work than necessary as foggy conditions can last for days. For example, the cannon method could see the crew manually loading and firing the cannon every five minutes for days.

Given the work involved, many individuals over time looked for more convenient ways to signal ships at sea. By the 1960’s and 1970’s, foghorns widely fell out of use, and were replaced by automated, compressed air horns.