The Ashmore used signal flags created by British naval officer named Frederick Marryat in 1817. The officer developed this system for merchant ships to use for communication. Each ship was assigned a number and a group flag. Up to 19,752 vessels were distinguished this way.
Later, he expanded the system to include groups of British warships. It was called the Universal Code of Signals from 1854. A flag alphabet was published in 1857 and other countries soon joined in. It existed until 1890 when it was replaced by the current system below.
The International Signal Book was published in 1901 but has been extended and adapted over the years to the system we have today.
Photo: Wikipedia (For more information visit skysailtraining.co.uk.)
Need a laugh?
Check out the signal flags poster I found during research:
Photo: Pearson Ariel Association
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