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|Search result for definition: stern lantern|
|Stern Lantern: A lantern, often resembling a street-lamp, mounted above the tafferel or above the quarter-galleries.|
Since about 1450, sailing ships would often carry one to three (and sometimes even more) lanterns at the stern.
A single lantern could also be mounted aft of a mast-top to indicate the lead-ship, admiral or squadron commander. Since this was most likely a temporary situation, often one of the stern lanterns was relocated to a top. Main-top for a full admiral, fore-top for a vice-admiral and the mizzen-top for a rear-admiral.