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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, and it continued throughout the existence of the Bureau. Verbatim quotes from Issue Number 62, dated February 1, 1917, follow. The Bulletin had as its 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.”

Admiral George Dewey - The following is a copy of a letter from the Secretary of Commerce to the Commissioner of Lighthouses relating to the services of the late Admiral George Dewey in the Lighthouse Service:

My Dear Sir: The late Admiral George Dewey was attached during his long and useful life to the Lighthouse Service as follows: Oct.1, 1875, to Aug. 31, 1877, as inspector of the Second Lighthouse District. Aug. 2, 1877, to Oct. 16, 1882, and July 7, 1893, to Nov. 6, 1895, as member of the Lighthouse Board. Apr. 30, 1878, to Oct. 16, 1882, as naval secretary of the Lighthouse Board. To the work of your Service he brought the same fine strong qualities that distinguished him in his naval career. His contribution to the Lighthouse work has been naturally over-shadowed by more distinguished services in a larger field, but it is proper, never-theless, that his unselfish and helpful efforts in connection with Lighthouse work should be duly recognized. I therefore desire that this letter of appreciation of his contribution to the Lighthouse work shall be made a portion of the records of that Service and that same be published in the Lighthouse Bulletin that all therein may know of Admiral Dewey’s part in their common work.

William C. Redfield, Secretary

Exhibit At Annual Meeting – In connection with the exhibit planned by the Dept. of Commerce for the annual meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, the Lighthouse Service placed the following objects of interest on exhibition: A fourth-order flashing lens and lantern; an five-day lens-lantern; an eight-day post lantern; an electric lamp substituting device; hull models of the tender Sequoia and of Southwest Pass Light Vessel No. 102; photographs of various light stations; and a set of charts, maps, and graphic diagrams illustrative of the Lighthouse Service. The lens and post lanterns were designed and manufactured at the general lighthouse depot, Tompkinsville, N.Y.

Lighthouse Depot, Charleston S.C. - The old lighthouse depot at Castle Pinckney was abandoned early in January 1917, and the property returned to the War Dept. It is situated on the ruins of an old fort built in 1829 on the southern end of Shutes Folly Island, in Charleston harbor. The property was turned over to the Lighthouse Service by the War Dept. on April 24, 1878, after an appropriation of $10,000 had been made for establishing a depot for buoys and supplies in the sixth lighthouse district

Formula for Fly Poison - The following formula for a fly poison is recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service, as being both efficient and safe for use in the household: To a pint of water add three teaspoonfuls of either one or the other of the following substances: 40 percent solution of formaldehyde usually found on the market, or powdered sodium salicylate. Nearly fill a glass tumbler with the solution, place over this a piece of blotter paper cut to circular form and somewhat larger in diameter than the tumbler, and over this invert a saucer. Invert the whole device, so that the tumbler is resting, inverted, in saucer, and insert a match or toothpick under the edge of the tumbler to allow access of air. The blotting paper will remain in the proper moist condition until the entire contents of the tumbler have been used, and the strength of the formaldehyde solution will be maintained. A little sugar sprinkled upon the paper will increase the attractiveness of the poison for the flies. Either of these preparations may be safely used where there are young children, although the addition of the sugar is not recommended in such cases.

Saving of Life and Property – On January 5, 1917, William Newton, keeper of the Harbor Island Bar Light Station, N.C., floated the schooner Lucy, which grounded on a bar in the vicinity of the station, and towed the schooner to harbor.

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

This story appeared in the May/Jun 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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