Digest>Archives> Sep/Oct 2016

From The Lighthouse Service Bulletin

By Jack Graham


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Whitefish Point Light, Michigan.

This column continues to provide excerpts from the “Lighthouse Service Bulletin,” a monthly publication of the Bureau of Lighthouses, U.S. Department of Commerce. The first was issued in January 1912, and it continued throughout the existence of the Bureau. Verbatim quotes from Volume III, Number 16, from April 1925, follow. The Bulletin had as it object “supplying information that will be immediately useful in maintaining or improving the standards of the Lighthouse Service, and of keeping the personnel advised of the progress of work and matters of general interest in the service and in lighthouse work in general.”

Diamond Shoals Lighthship Off Station – The master of Diamond Shoals Lightship, E. L. Swanberg, reported on March 9 that “we have for one week had the hardest storm I have seen for some time.” On Sunday, March 1, there was a southeast storm and the sea broke constantly over the ship. On March 5, the northerly storm started and reached hurricane force; the ship dragged all day Friday. The master obtained a true bearing on that date and it was found that the ship was nearly three miles SSE of her station.

Earthquake Shocks – In the second lighthouse district (Mass.) the keepers of two lighthouses reported earthquake shocks on the night of February 28. At Duxbury Pier, the lighthouse began swaying, the shock lasting only one minute; the shock started small articles swaying, and caused the teakettle to slide along the stove. At Cape Poge the shock lasted about five minutes, the ground around the lighthouse trembled and the lighthouse swayed so that the rotation of the light was stopped.

The keeper of the Whitefish Point Lighthouse, Mich., reports as follows: “I have respectfully to report an earthquake shock being felt at this station at 8:25 p.m. February 28. The shock was in the nature of rocking and rolling, and was so pronounced the dwelling could be seen rocking forth and back E-W directions, and the window curtains swung in and out about 6 inches, even the rocking chair in which the writer was sitting was arrested in its back and forth motion by the twisting rocking motion of the keeper’s dwelling.”

Efficiency Flags – Lighthouse efficiency flags have been awarded in each district to the lighthouse showing the highest general efficiency during the year 1924. Below is the list of stations which received a flag and are entitled to fly it during the present year: 1st District, Avery Rock, Me., Elson L. Small; 2nd Hospital Point, Mass., Levi B. Clark; 3rd Prudence Island, R.I., Martin Thompson; 4th Cape May, N.J., Harry H. Palmer; 5th Smith Point, Va., Horace P. Groom; 6th Hillsboro Inlet, Fla., Thomas Knight; 7th American Shoal, Fla., R. C. Roberts; 8th Mobile Point, Ala., J. C. Williams; 9th Muertos Island, P.R., Alfonso Sanchez Bermudez; 10th Toledo Harbor, Ohio, Herman J. Schroeder; 11th Manitou Island, Mich., Frank Mersy; 12th Chicago Harbor, Ill., T. Armstrong; 16th Southeast Five Finger Islands, Alaska, C. P. Mercer; 17th Turn Point, Wash., William Auld; 18th Point Arena, Calif., P. S. Admiral; 19th Barbers Point, Hawaii, Manuel Ferreira.

Tight Pipe Joints With Lead Filings – A heating contractor recently informed the Bureau of Standards that he had found lead filings taken from an ordinary lead pipe by a coarse rasp and sprinkled onto the threads of a pipe joint (being held on by the cutting oil used or by the ordinary white or red lead joint paste) gave a tighter joint than the paste. The lead alone without any paste was said to be satisfactory, and such joints were said not to stick and be difficult to unscrew as is the case with old joints on the paste has been used.

Lighthouses of Iceland – An interesting article by Th. Krabbe, lighthouse director of Iceland, upon the illumination of the coasts of Iceland, appeared in the February number of the Dock and Harbor Authority, published in London. The illumination of the coast began less than half a century ago, when the light station at Reykjanes on the southwest point of the island was placed in commission on December 1, 1878. At that time and for the next 30 years the lighthouse work was under the direction of the Danish lighthouse authorities but was financed by the Iceland treasury. All the work done since 1909 has been done by the island authorities.

Saving of Life and Property – In the early part of March, when Diamond Shoals Lighthship No. 105 was dragged off station during a long and violent gale, the master of the lightship, E.L. Swanberg, displayed skill and judgement of high order in the management of the ship.

This story appeared in the Sep/Oct 2016 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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