How does a foghorn work?

The greatest diaphone foghorns are worked by blasts of air.

When log closes in, the foghorns begin.  They warn ships of dangerous rocks and shoals.  Perhaps the most familiar kind of foghorn, is the deep, horse bellow of the foghorn called it “diaphone.”


Diaphone foghorns are worked by blasts of air, and often sound two-toned blasts.  First high, then low, then loud “BUUUOOOoooo” can be heard up to nine miles away.

Electric foghorns work much like a horn does on a car.  They make low, honking sounds.

Still others produce siren, whistle and chime signals.  The motion of the waves rock the bell buoy back and forth to make the bell ring.

The different kinds of fog signals help us to tell them apart.  Each lighthouse or fog signal station is known by the sound and number of its blasts and by the silences in between.  Some foghorns operate automatically, switching on and off during bad weather. – Dick Rogers

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