History of the wigwag

Signal Corps Museum

History of the wigwag

Historical Signal Equipment Links

Exhibits and Collections Management


"Crossed flags" have been used by the Signal Corps since 1864, when they were prescribed for wear on the uniform coat by enlisted men of the Signal Corps. In 1884, a burning torch was added to the insignia and the present design adopted on 1 July of that year. The flags and torch are symbolic of signaling or communication. Two signal flags crossed, dexter flag- the flag on the right, white with red center, the sinister flag on the left, red with white center, staffs of gold, with a flaming torch of gold color upright at center of crossed flags. Branch colors: Orange trimmings and facings were approved for the Signal Service in 1872. The white piping was added in 1902, to conform to the custom which prevailed of having piping of a different color for all except the line branches.

Click photo to enlarge for history of the wigwag.