Before the days of regular radio broadcasting, lights flashed as signals from the Pagoda to the people of Reading, PA. The Morse Code was something used to direct fireman. On other occasions, signals were given to further fundraising campaigns and inform the public of the most recent developments in the drive for funds. They were also used to give results of sporting events, such as prize fights and World Series.
The Morse Code was based on light signals, instead of sound signals, so a few adjustments were made. A white light represented a dash, while a red light was a dot. A white steady light meant the station was not occupied. A white and red light meant the station was open and prepared to operate. If both lights flickered, a message was about to be sent. If there was a white steady light and a flickering red light, an error was made and the message was being corrected. A steady red light and a flickering white light meant that urgent action was needed for the subject being broadcast by the lights.
1954 Signal Light atop Pagoda
For additional information about this Reading, Pennsylvania Landmark, just click on the link below.
The most popular tourist attraction in Reading, PA was built for William A. Witman by James Matz, a contractor, in 1908 as a luxury resort. Denied a license to operate, the bank interceded and sold the property to Mr and Mrs Jonathan Mould in 1910. In 1911, they presented the Pagoda and ten acres of land to the City of reading for $1.00. It was placed on the Historical National Registry in 1949. by the Pagoda - Skyline Drive Inc. The Bell hanging in the observation room was cast in Obsya, Japan in 1739. Originally, it was presented to the Buddhist Temple, Shojenzi, at Yakuosan, now part of Tokyo. The bell was shipped via the Suez Canal to New York, then by rail to Reading, PA.
If you have a QSO with WA3WSJ, I'll send you out the above QSL card. It's a Reading Pagoda QSL Card. Just send WA3WSJ a SASE and it's yours to have for your collection.