VATICAN CITY — Varying chemical compounds have replaced wet straw and pitch to produce the Vatican smoke signal that is used to communicate the result of conclave voting sessions. Vatican Smoke Signals by Rev. In the past, the Vatican has tried smoke bombs, military flares, and a variety of … “Rather than blasting the environment with toxic smoke signals, I’ve called on the Vatican to consider employing a disabled, transgendered African American to wave biodegradable flags to signal the important results of papal conclave voting. As explained by Vatican historian Ambrogio Piazzoni: “[the Vatican] would just tell the town criers who would run through the city spreading the news that there was a new pope. Share using Email. Smoke Signals: Secret Notes From Inside Conclave 04/10/2013 06:21 pm ET Updated Jun 10, 2013 According to Italian media reports, a diary has surfaced written by an anonymous cardinal who participated in the recent Vatican conclave. It isn’t often that international news and chimney services collide but they did recently with the preparations for electing a new Pope. Robert Sirico • March 11, 2013 Here’s a curious tidbit regarding the fumata , the white or black smoke that will rise from the Sistine Chapel’ s chimney signaling whether a pope has been elected or not. Just think of the powerful message of inclusion that would send to the world. by Mark Stoner | Mar 16, 2013 | Chimney Sweeping. To notify the world of when a new Pope is chosen, the papal conclave will communicate through smoke signal. The science behind the Vatican’s colored smoke signals. The white smoke, which signals that there is a new pope, includes potassium chlorate, lactose and chloroform resin. Pouring water on a campfire produces billows of white smoke, but in that case, the smoke is mostly tiny droplets of water, vaporized by the heat and condensed into the fog-like smoke. Science behind the Vatican’s smoke signal explained. The Vatican needs to find a new Pope. Yet the Vatican's smoke-to-satellite system isn't as old or accidental as it seems. The Vatican revealed on Wednesday the science behind the smoke signals that tell the world whether a pope has been elected. The Vatican & Smoke Signals. Even though this tradition looks old, the smoke signal practice only goes back 150 years. Prior to that, when a new Pope was chosen, the news were spread by word of mouth.