Sophie Bradford always manages to find something unique and interesting to research when it comes time to develop a project for Huntington High School’s National History Day contest and this year was no different.
The sophomore won first place in the individual exhibit category for her project titled The Impact of Semaphore Communications on History.
Huntington sophomore Sophie Bradford's individual exhibit won first place honors.
This year’s National History Day theme is “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding.” Participants in the competition were invited to submit work in a variety of formats from individual and group exhibits and websites to historical papers and individual and group documentaries.
“I did an individual exhibit about the impact of semaphore communications on history,” Ms. Bradford said. “I was looking for a topic and had asked around in my family to see if any of them had any ideas. My mom mentioned that my great-grandmother had learned about the semaphore flag system in her Girl Guide (British Girl Scouts) when she was younger. When I looked into it further I became very interested in all of the adaptations and the wide variety of uses of semaphore, especially in the Battle of Trafalgar as I have visited Trafalgar Square.”
Semaphore communication was typically accomplished by using either flags or lights and was commonly used by navies, railroads, pleasure craft boaters and others through history, including during wartime. As mobile communication technologies came online, the use of semaphore communications declined, but it has never been completely abandoned.
“I believe that my project came out very well,” Ms. Bradford said. “I made sure to keep organized and not clutter my board. I used the signals flags which were a later adaptation of semaphore for the edges of my board. The blue paint is used to reflect the main use of semaphore, which was on navy vessels.”