Digest>Archives> May/Jun 2018

Lighthouse Service Bulletin

By Jack Graham

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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. 20, dated August 1913, 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.”

New 55-Millemeter Three-Mantle Lamp – An incandescent oil-vapor lamp using a cluster of three 55-millimeter mantles has been designed and is now under test at the general depot. The lamp consists of one pre-heater with three 55-millimeter burners placed 120-degrees apart, all controlled by one inlet pipe and needle valve. The candle-power developed is approximately 3,600, under a pressure of 60 pounds, and the oil consumption a little over half a gallon per hour. In an endurance test, during which the lamp burned continuously, no diminution of light was noted until after the fifth day. The nozzles were then needled and the lamp immediately resumed its original brilliancy. It is expected that this lamp will make a practical working unit in first and second order lenses if future tests prove it to be entirely satisfactory.

Unattended Fog Bell Boat – The Canadian Government is now maintaining on Lime Kiln Crossing, Detroit River, an unattended vessel fitted with an automatically operated fog bell which is reported to give satisfactory service. The bell is operated by a water wheel actuated by the current of the river.

Submarine Bells – Submarine bells have recently been installed on Buffalo Light Vessel, N.Y., Point Judith Gas and Whistling Buoy No. 2, R.I., and at Orford Reef Gas and Whistling Buoy No. 2 OR, Oreg. A submarine bell will also be installed on the Chesapeake Bay Entrance Gas and Whistling Buoy No. 2 CB, Va., in the near future. The master of the steamship Rose City, of the San Francisco & Portland Steamship Co., reports that the range of sound of the submarine bell on the Orford Reef buoy compares very favorably with the distance at which he has heard submarine bells on light vessels under similar conditions.

Drowning of Men From Cape Lookout Light Vessel – On July 25 a whaleboat from the Cape Lookout Light Vessel N.C., with five men on board, while attempting to put mail from the light vessel on board the steamer City of Atlanta, was run down by the steamer and one seaman and two firemen from the light vessel were drowned.

Meritorious Services – On May 10 Wilfred Monette, keeper of the Cape Sarichef Light Station, Alaska, went to the assistance of a man from a boat which had capsized about 6 miles from the light station.

On July 13, the tender Hibiscus pulled the schooner Alice off the rocks at Allens Ledge, Me. Had the Hibiscus not arrived at this time it is possible that the schooner would have been a total loss.

On July 14 George J. Cornell, keeper of the St. Joseph Pierhead Light Station, Mich., assisted in saving the launch Wolverine from stranding by getting a line to the boat as it drifted past the light station and in assisting the life-savers in getting the boat into the harbor.

Oil Engine Torch – A new type of oil engine torch has been designed for use in the Lighthouse Service, which, when tested recently on a light vessel, permitted the starting of the 13-horsepower oil engines in 6 minutes from time of commencing to heat the torches. This type of torch does away with the constant pumping, as on old style, and the necessity of attendant standing close to hot vaporizer. It also removes the oil tank of torch from the vicinity of the hot vaporizer, the tank on the new torch being located away from the engines. It is estimated that a single torch outfit, complete, can be built for $36, and a double torch, complete (two torches, one tank, and pump) for $49.

New Construction – Manana Island, Me.: Emergency water system for fog signal completed. This project is now entirely completed.

Brandywine Shoal Light Station, Del.: Caisson waterproofed; launching ways about half done; wooden piles driven and crushed stone deposited.

Thimble Shoal Light Station, Va.: Caisson launched successfully, and second shipment of metal work made from Kenton, Ohio.

Cape Fear River Lights, N.C.: Steel towers completed; four substructures completed; location of lights fixed.

Kilauea Point Light Station, T.H.: Station completed, except interior finish and plumbing on dwellings and general carpenter work on outbuildings.

That’s another sampling “From the Bulletin.”Watch this space in future issues of this magazine for more.

This story appeared in the May/Jun 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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