Digest>Archives> Mar/Apr 2018

From The Bulletin

By Jack Graham

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Michigan’s 1887 Frying Pan Island Lighthouse. ...

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. Unedited quotes from Issue No. 64, dated April 2, 1917, 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.”

President Orders Transfer of Lighthouse Vessels – [Letter from Secretary William Redfield to Commissioner George Putnam] - The officers and men of the vessels of your Service, with the ships on which they serve, and the officers of certain important lightships and light-stations are about to be called to serve their country during the present war under the charge of the military departments of the Government. They have in the past by unselfish devotion to duty under conditions often severe, often hazardous, shown their willingness to assume and their fitness to carry out any service for the public good whatever element of risk may have been involved.

I desire you to say to them that they have my fullest confidence in entering upon the work to which the hour calls. Their record as soldiers of peace, my knowledge of the intelligent way in which their work has always been done, their willingness demonstrated throughout the Service to put aside all thought of personal risk whenever the call for help arises – these are the bases of the confidence we feel in them. I know that when they return to us after performing the duties to which they are now called we will receive them with pride.

I want them to know that our eyes will be upon them, not in doubt but in kindly and considerate regard, and I beg you to assure them that we part from them temporarily in the certainty that their record will be such as to bring added laurels to a Service already distinguished.

Emergency Appointments – With a view to obviating the necessity of obtaining prior telegraphic authority for emergency appointments in the Lighthouse Service, the Department has amended the Civil Service Regulations so as to provide that in

case of a vacancy occurring by reason of death, sickness, or other circumstances in a position the filling of which in the judgment of the lighthouse inspector is necessary for the proper safeguarding of life and property, and there is not sufficient time to permit of the matter being handled by mail, the inspector is authorized to assign a suitable person to duty, in accordance with the civil service rules, and report the circumstances promptly by mail.

Saving of Life and Property - On February 3, during a 66-mile gale, Henry L. Thomas, keeper, and Charles Stoll, assistant keeper, of Nantucket (Great Point) Light Station, Mass., rendered assistance to the crew of the disabled steamer A. T. Serrell. The steamer had become caught in the ice one-half mile from shore, and with the assistance of the keepers, the crew reached shore over the drift ice on boards.

On December 22, 1916, Nelson Abear, keeper of Frying Pan Island Light Station, Mich., went to the rescue of two men in a gasoline boat and brought them to shore. On December 27, he went to the assistance of the tug Rambler, caught in the ice in the vicinity of Detour, Mich., with a party of nine persons on board, carried them food, and safely brought the passengers and mail to Detour.

On January 9, 1917, John Barrand, mate, and Roy Peterson, cook, of Eleven-Foot Shoal Light Vessel No. 60, Mich., rescued from drowning a man who had fallen through the ice in the vicinity of the light vessel. The rescue was made difficult owing to the thinness of the ice.

Candlepower of Small Mantle Lights – A considerable variation in the length of small gas mantles having been noted, tests were made recently at the general lighthouse depot for the purpose of determining what differences in candlepower of gas mantle lights result from these variations. It was found that the candlepower of the longer mantle are greater than that of the shorter, when measured outside the lens, but the candlepower through the lens shows less difference than may be found between two mantles of the same size. The Bureau has therefore approved the recommendation that no distinction be made between the candlepowers of the various sizes of small mantles.

This story appeared in the Mar/Apr 2018 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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