SHORE VILLAGE MUSEUM NEWSLETTER FALL 2000 November 11, 2000 - page 2
INFORMATION ON FRESNEL COLLECTION: Allen C. Gademsky has initiated a program to gather information on the still existing classic Fresnel lenses in the United States. To date he has seen, recorded information on and photographed 157 of the historic lenses at close to 100 different locations in many parts of the United States. Allen would appreciate any information any of our supporters might have as to location of any of the Fresnel lenses in use or on display. His address is 7312 Timberknoll Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45242.
THE UNIQUE LEGACY OF THE NAVESINK TWIN LIGHTS: That is the title of a feature in the National Maritime History Society Autumn 2000 issue of their magazine. The article is written by Paul Maxwell and is very well done. From a distance it is easy to see why the towers are coined the Twin Lights, but closer inspection shows they are not twins at all. The south tower is square and the light is reached by 65 steps. The north tower is octagonal and just slightly shorter, has 65 steps. The light was designed to thus set it apart from other more traditional lighthouses. In 1838, the time of the first dual towers, congress approved the installation of a fixed first order optic for the north tower and a revolving second-order was installed in the south tower. By 1883 the north octagonal tower set another precedent to become the first order optic to be operated using kerosene for the light. In 1898 the south tower was fitted with a second order bi-valve lens measuring 9 feet in diameter weighing over seven tons. The beam of the new lens was so powerful that it completely washed out the illumination from the north tower, which was extinguished the same year. The remarkable lens of the south tower was shut down in 1949 and was ultimately deactivated in 1953. Address of Sea History is National Maritime Historical Society, 5 John Walsh Blvd, P. O. Box 68, Peekskill, NY 10566, Phone 914-737-7878.
SADDLEBACK LEDGE LIGHT ARTICLE: The September 2000 edition of the Maine Boats and Harbors magazine has an excellent article on Saddleback Ledge Light. The author is pulitzer prize winner William W. Warner. Saddleback Light is one of the most difficult lights to land on in the State of Maine. Due to the difficult landing situations the Lighthouse Establishment had a ìlanding derrickî installed. The derrick swung a boom and tackle out over the water, at the end of which was a bosunís chair. Nevertheless it was often difficult to catch the boom end from a heaving dory. There is an excellent photo of that boom arrangement in the article. The dwelling was only 12 feet above sea level at high tide and often the keepers would move into the tower for safety. The two story keeper's dwelling was one of those that was blown up by the army Green Beret assault exercise in the 1950s. Address of Maine Boats is P. O. Box 758, Camden, ME 04843, phone 800-565-4951.
DELIVERING COAL TO LIGHTHOUSES: Years ago when lighthouses were manned most of them burned coal for heating purposes. Shortly after WWII I was aboard the Tender OAK and delivered coal to the lighthouses in the Third Coast Guard District. The tender would go to the coal yard and moor under the tipple. A railroad car full of coal would be placed on the tipple and turned over and the coal would be dumped onto the buoy deck where wooden patterns were placed in as a temporary coal bin. The buoy deck was fully loaded. The OAK then proceeded to the lighthouses. The coal would be shoveled full in to canvas bags like coal-men did ashore and put into the ships boat then delivered to the dock, lifted up on the dock and carried to the coal shed. The coal would wind up being handled about seven times. Delivering coal to Boston lighthouses was simpler as they used crocus sacks and were handled easier but still a lot of times. Robert I Dennis of Middletown, talked on the subject of how they did it on the USLHS Tender SHRUB. The coal would be piled on deck then shoveled into sacks for delivery. Dennis sent a copy of photo of the crew unloading bags from a barge and wading ashore to the lighthouse. Most lighthouses were converted to oil burners for heat resolving a tedious chore. Incidentally the operation of coaling lighthouses was an ALL HANDS operation except the Captain and the ship's cook.
THE RELIGHTING OF HILLSBORO LIGHTHOUSE: There is a nice article in the Coastline which is the newsletter of the seventh Coast Guard District outlining the details of the relighting of the Hillsboro Lighthouse. In 1992 the rotating mechanism of the classical Fresnel lens failed. The Coast Guard was going to retire the Fresnel lens to the city of Hillsboro and install a modern day version of the historic optic. The public requested that the lens along with the 174-foot lighthouse structure to be restored to their original conditions. The Coast Guard, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the serviceís volunteer arm and the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society teamed up to tackle the task of a thorough overhaul and restoration. A new bearing system was built and the rotation was replaced in January 1999. Unfortunately the assembly failed and it was back to the workshop. After testing for sixty operational hours the lens and rotating service were considered complete and the old light was operational again. With the new bearing system in place, Hillsboro Lighthouse is expected to rotate for the next 50 years before needing replacement parts. Xerox copy available.
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