The Very signal is a pyrotechnic device which is fired from a specially designed pistol. A cartridge similar to a shotgun cartridge holds the signal star which is propelled about 300 feet, burning for from 6 to 8 seconds, the ignition taking place about 50 feet from the muzzle of the pistol.

Wry light cartridge and signals.

Fig. 164. - Wry-light cartridge and signals.


The case consists of the ordinary shotgun shell, which is made by the Winchester Repeating Arms Co., with firing cap already inserted in the base of the shell. The length of the shell is 3 7/8 inches, and its diameter 1.04.

Cardboard Lining

A ring of Bird's hardware paper, which is the same material used for making the rocket carton, is set in the case, acting as a spacer, forming a seat for the wads to rest on and also serving as a brace for the sides of the shell when the blowing charge is fired. This cardboard lining is 45/65 inch in its inside diameter, 15/16 inch outside diameter, and 3/4 inch in length.

Sectional drawing Very light.

Fig. 165. - Sectional drawing Very light.

Very Signal Light

1. Case.

2. Cardboard lining.

3. Powder charge.

4. Strawboard wad.

5. Felt wad.

6. Stap.

7. Match.

8. Match.

9. Wet prime.

10. Tie string.

11. Wrapper.

12. Holding wad.

13. Identification wad.

14. Tack.

15. Paraffin seal.

Powder Charge

The powder charge consists of from 25 to 30 grains of black powder No. 20 to 36, which is introduced into the empty shell and pressed home by means of a strawboard wad.

Strawboard Wad

This strawboard wad is 3/16 inch in thickness and has a diameter of 59/64 inch. Through the center of the wad is a port 3/16 inch in diameter. This hole in the center permits the threading of the match, which is ignited by the powder charge used for expelling the star, and carries the ignition to the light.

Felt Wad

Resting upon the cardboard wad is a felt wad 59/64 inch in diameter, 5/8 inch in thickness, with a port through the center having a diameter of 3/16 inch. The port, as in the case of the port in the wad, is for the purpose of allowing the match to pass through. This felt wad is faced with cardboard and is the customary shotgun-shell wad.


The Very light may have either white, red, or green stars. If for a white star, the composition is -




Black antimony___.............. .................


Sulphur (flour)....................


Meal powder........................


For the red star, the composition is -


Chlorate of potash..................


Strontium carbonate.................


Powdered orange shellac...............




For the green star, the composition is -


Barium chlorate.............


Powdered orange shellac...................


These compositions are mixed in the usual manner, by hand mixing and screening through a 40-mesh sieve, the mixture being passed through three successive times. After each screening is mixed thoroughly by hand. A binder consisting of gum water is used to dampen slightly the several different compositions in order that the light when loaded shall hold its form. The stars are molded in a hand arbor press, equipped with a special brass mold.


Figure 168 shows the type of mold used and the form into which the composition or star is compressed.

These lights are now placed in a drying room where they are dried at 100° F. for four or five days.

Quick Match

The ordinary quick match described previously is cut 8 inches long and is looped longitudinally around the light, fitting snugly into the grooves with the ends even and protrading beyond the light. This match is held firmly in place by means of a strip of Kraft paper 6 1/2 by 1 1/2 inches which is pasted around the star. A second match is now inserted into the hole in the end of the star and held in place by means of a blob of prime, consisting of meal powder and water. These matches are next threaded into the felt and strawboard wads and protrude into the propelling charge of black powder at the base of the case.

Briquettlng equipment.

Fig. 166. - Briquettlng equipment.

After the star is in place in the shell with the matches in position, a wad is forced into the shell to hold it in place.

Briquette press.

Fig. 167. - Briquette press.

Holding Wad

The holding wad is of felt, being 59/64 inch in diameter and 5/8 inch in thickness, faced with paper, and is the customary shotgun-shell wad.

Briquette mold and cross section.

Fig. 168. - Briquette mold and cross section.

Identification Disk

This disk is made of strawboard 3/16 inch in thickness and 59/64 inch in diameter. The face of the disk is lettered in raised letters as shown in figure 169.

Designating disk.

Fig. 169. - Designating disk.

The face is painted to designate the color of the star. This disk is held in place by means of a 3/8-inch tack with a round head which is driven through the disk and into the felt-holding wad.

Types Of Very Pistols Used In 1918

Very light pistol A.

Fig. 170. - Very-light pistol A.

Very light pistol B.

Fig. 171. - Very-light pistol B.

Very light pistol C.

Fig. 172. - Very-light pistol C.

Very light pistol D.

Fig. 173. - Very-light pistol D.

Very Signal-25mm - Fl0w Sheet

  Very light flow sheet.

Plate 12. - Very-light flow sheet.

Very Signal-25 Mm.- Material Chart

  Very light material chart.

Plate 13. - Very-light material chart.