Washington, February 12, 1880.
[Correct and General Understanding of Signals Struck Upon the Engine-room Gong]
The attention of the Department has been called to the importance of establishing a correct and general understanding of the signals struck upon the engine-room gong for the guidance of the engineer officer in charge of the watch in the engine-room.
It is ordered that all engine-room bell guide-plates, wherever situated, shall bear the following directions in plain, readily distinguishable letters:
1 BELL, AHEAD SLOW.
2 BELLS, STOP.
3 BELLS, BACK.
4 BELLS, AHEAD FAST.
The repetition of a signal is to be understood as emphasizing its meaning.
EXAMPLE. - "One bell, ahead slow;" one bell, repeated, ahead slower.
"Three bells, back;" three bells, repeated, back faster.
The efficiency of a steam vessel of war depends largely upon prompt and intelligent manipulation of the machinery in obedience to signal, and it is therefore made the duty of every officer to familiarize himself with the intructions contained in this order.
Inspecting, commanding, and engineer officers are required to see that all guide-plates are in strict conformity with the form above given, and such as are different will be removed as soon as practicable.
Secretary of the Navy.