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Kindly requesting some knowledgeable advice on lighthouses #211325 08/18/19 12:10 AM
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Hi there everyone.

I have written a book which is in the final stages of publication. Lighthouses features heavily in the novel, however there are a couple of specific passages (mostly regarding the lighting/burning of the lamp) that I would like checked over for accuracy by those who have studied and/or familiar with the operation of lighthouses. I am a lighthouse lover myself (which is why I chose to have one in my novel) - but this is also why I want to make sure I get my facts straight and be certain that what I'm describing is indeed plausible. They are very brief passages, and there's only two of them. Is there anyone here in this forum who could kindly assist me with this?

Thanks in advance!

Re: Kindly requesting some knowledgeable advice on lighthouses [Re: LighthouseAuthor] #211327 08/18/19 09:47 PM
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Hello,

I'm not able to help you, but a couple of places that might be able to are:

National Lighthouse Museum, lighthousemuseum.org

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum, ponceinlet.org. The folks in the museum at Ponce have a good bit of experience restoring lenses.

Good luck!

Rick

Re: Kindly requesting some knowledgeable advice on lighthouses [Re: LighthouseAuthor] #211328 08/21/19 12:38 PM
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You can also try the people over at Artworks Florida. They make reproduction lenses. Another good source would be lampist Jim Woodward at The Lighthouse Consultant LLC.


Roland Babineau
The only true Harbour Lights dealer left in the world and the ONLY retailer in the world authorized to sell Harry Hine's lighthouse collectible line!
http://www.thecapecodstore.com/harbor_lights.html
Re: Kindly requesting some knowledgeable advice on lighthouses [Re: LighthouseAuthor] #211330 08/23/19 11:56 PM
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You asked a very general question. I assuming you just want a person familiar with lighthouses to bounce off two questions. You could ask the question here and get some feedback or probably any of us could answer general questions if you want to email me I will give it a try. . If you could visit a local lighthouse museum which will show you the actual workings of lighthouse, pictures and would be able to answer your questions.
Did you google your questions? There are many videos on lighthouses and lighthouse keepers duties.


DANIEL
Re: Kindly requesting some knowledgeable advice on lighthouses [Re: LighthouseAuthor] #211341 09/09/19 01:46 AM
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Hi everyone, and thank you for your replies. The things I'm needing to check may in fact be relatively straightforward, so I'll mention them here and maybe one of you might know the answer?

First point to check: I have a scene involving a lighthouse keeper manning a lighthouse in 1908. The type of lighthouse/lens isn't specified. There's a big storm one night, and I need a way for the lighthouse lamp to die at the hands of the keeper. At the moment, the lamp fails because the keeper was 'burning the flame too brightly and blew the bulb'. Is it feasible/possible for this to happen?

Second point to check: The same lighthouse above is subsequently abandoned for 60+ years, no one goes inside (but we can assume a full working lens has been left inside). Then I have a group of teenagers who break in and fire up the lamp. Broadly speaking, what might those teenagers need to bring with them in order to do this? At the moment it has been entered down as a "bucket of kerosene and a fresh wick".

It should also be noted that all this is told as a story/flashback - the main plot doesn't hinge on this being 100% accurate. But I'd like to get as close as I can to describing these two events in a way that is feasible from a historical point of view.

Re: Kindly requesting some knowledgeable advice on lighthouses [Re: LighthouseAuthor] #211342 09/10/19 06:17 PM
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In 1908, not many lighthouses had electricity, so "blowing the bulb" isn't really practical. Perhaps running out of oil or trimming the wick too closely would be more of a reason for the light to go out. Either way, it would be quite unlikely for an experienced keeper to do either. More realistic would be for the storm to wash out a window and the wind blow out the lamp. As for the second point, it may depend on what year the lighthouse was abandoned. Different technologies would be at hand depending on the year.


Roland Babineau
The only true Harbour Lights dealer left in the world and the ONLY retailer in the world authorized to sell Harry Hine's lighthouse collectible line!
http://www.thecapecodstore.com/harbor_lights.html
Re: Kindly requesting some knowledgeable advice on lighthouses [Re: LighthouseAuthor] #211343 09/10/19 10:25 PM
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Thank you Cape Cod, that's some very helpful info!

Re: Kindly requesting some knowledgeable advice on lighthouses [Re: LighthouseAuthor] #211344 09/11/19 12:00 AM
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The Acetylene gas may be the type of light that will work in your story.
The Acetylene process was invented by a Canadian, Thomas Leopold Willson in 1892. Willson also invented the idea of generating Acetylene inside a buoy in 1904. Acetylene is also sometimes called Dalen gas. When Acetylene is employed in lighthouse work, the gas is either supplied in cylinders, or is generated on the spot.

An acetylene gas lamp was installed at the Cloch lighthouse, in Scotland around 1900, and the acetylene was used to operate everything from the domestic lighting, fog signals and the engine house to the lighthouse lamp itself. In America, a beacon equipped with a generator for producing acetylene gas from calcium carbide was placed in the Mobile Channel in 1902, and this was the first official use of acetylene gas by the American Lighthouse Service. Compressed acetylene was first officially used at Jones Rocks Beacon, Connecticut, and South Hook Beacon, Sandy Hook, New Jersey, in 1903.

The American Lighthouse Service chose the type that generated on the spot, the Willson carbide-water buoy design rather than the more popular pressurized acetone cylinder type. In the Willson buoy the gas was made on the spot by sliding solid calcium carbide through a canvas chute into a fuel chamber in what was known as the ‘charging process’. This process was very dangerous and in 1913 an explosion occurred when refilling such an acetylene chamber in a buoy on the tender Hibiscus. Later, America abandoned the Willson design and began using pressurized cylinders throughout the American Lighthouse Service.

Since Acetylene was used in the early 1900's in a well known lighthouse like the Sandy Hook and the self generating Acetylene Gas pushed to extremes pressures to create more light could be explosive and I think this may be the lighting design to use.



DANIEL
Re: Kindly requesting some knowledgeable advice on lighthouses [Re: LighthouseAuthor] #211345 09/11/19 12:11 AM
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Another idea would be using a steam generator to power the light and the keeper pushed the generator too hard and the boiler blew out.

example is the De Meritens Magneto Generator
The French De Meritens magneto generators worked with great steadiness , revolving at 600 rpm. A De Meritens magneto was installed at the Lizard lighthouse, in England, and was used from 1881 until May 1950.


DANIEL

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