Digest>Archives> Jul/Aug 2014

From The 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. Verbatim quotes from Issue Number 34, December 1914, 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.”

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Christmas Greetings - “I take pleasure in extending to the officers and employees of the Lighthouse Service my earnest wishes for a glad Christmas and a happy and useful new year. I am confident that the work of the public service committed to your hands will be well done in the year about to open, and I thank you for the past good work that makes this confidence possible. William C. Redfield, Secretary, Dept. of Commerce”

The following letter, from Secretary Redfield to Lighthouse Commissioner Putnam was also published in this issue. It reads: “I beg to express my appreciation of the faithful and unselfish services of the officers and employees of your Bureau during the calendar year now closing, and to extend to each and every one of them my cordial wishes for a glad Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year. Kindly post this letter prominently, as it is my earnest desire that all shall see it.”

From the Annual Report - On June 30, 1916, there were 5,791 persons employed in the Lighthouse Service, including 123 technical force, 147 clerical force, and 5,521 employees connected with depots, lighthouses, and vessels. During the fiscal year there was a net increase of 412 in the total number of aids maintained, the total at the end of the year being 14,947. Of these, 5,323 are lights of all classes and 584 are fog signals. The total number of aids in Alaska, comprising lights, fog signals, buoys, and day marks, in commission at the close of the fiscal year was 388, including 147 lights.

Also from the Annual Report - “During the fiscal year 1916, services in saving life and property were rendered and acts of heroism performed by employees of the Lighthouse Service on 161 occasions. In each of these cases, a commendatory letter was issued by the Secretary of Commerce, and in the case of the rescue of the bark British Yeoman by the lighthouse tender Columbine, Frank T. Warriner, commanding, on January 17, 1916, near Port Allen, Kauai, Hawaii, under unusually difficult and dangerous conditions, the President of the United States expressed his appreciation of the services rendered by the officers and crew of the Columbine.”

Hours of Fog - The total hours of fog or thick weather observed at the various fog signal stations throughout the Service have been tabulated for the fiscal year 1916. The results show, in general, that the average amount of fog was greater than in the preceding year, except in the Lake districts, where the amount varied but little. The greatest amount of fog was observed at San Francisco Light Vessel, California, in the eighteenth district, aggregating 2,221 hours for the year, or approximately 25 per cent of the time. The highest record on the Atlantic coast was at Egg Rock, Maine, in the first district, where 2,043 hours of fog occurred.

Salt Water For Cooling Engines - The oil engines in use at the Harbor of Refuge Light Station, Delaware, ran hot after 7 hours of service with the fresh-water cooling system formerly in use. A temporary salt-water cooling system was installed in November 1915, and after a year’s service has given satisfaction, and no bad results have appeared. The engine recently ran 36 hours without overheating. It is intended to make the system permanent.

Important Changes In Aids To Navigation - Lights where illuminant was changed: Murderkill River Range, Del., oil to acetylene; Hillsboro Bay, Fla., oil to acetylene; Slip Point, Juan de Fuca Strait, Wash., oil to incandescent oil vapor; Mayaguez Harbor Range Rear, P.R., acetylene to electric incandescent.

This story appeared in the Jul/Aug 2014 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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