Digest>Archives> Sep/Oct 2019

From the Lighthouse Service Bulletin

By Jack Graham


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Herman M. Ingalls was promoted for duty on the ...

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. 7, dated July 1912, 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.”

Occulting Lights – Two methods are employed for occulting lights in the eighteenth lighthouse district; first by revolving an opaque screen or screen within a fixed light lens; and secondly by mounting and revolving the lens in the usual manner, certain glass panels having been removed and their places filled with opaque screens, or where the periods of light and darkness do not permit of this, portions of the lens are covered with screens. Whenever practical the opaque panels of a lens are provided with spherical mirrors placed in front of the screens in order to reflect the light (which would otherwise be lost) through the opposite lens. The first method has been employed in lenses of the second and third order, and the second for lenses of the fourth order.

Changes In Personnel - A.V. Conover, Deputy Commissioner of Lighthouses, on June 15, resigned to engage in private business. . . . J. S. Conway, formerly chief constructing engineer, was on June 16 appointed by the President to be Deputy Commissioner of Lighthouses. . . . Horatio B. Bowerman, formerly assistant engineer, was on June 16 appointed by the President to be chief constructing engineer. . . . Herman M. Ingalls was on June 10 promoted from first officer to master for duty on the tender Lilac.

Saving In Purchase of Mineral Oil - Arrangement has been made for the delivery of mineral oil at several points, instead of only at New York as heretofore, and this will result in a savings of about $11,000 in freight charges and cost of oil during the current fiscal year.

Damage To Lighthouse Property - On June 20 a scow in tow of the tug Tom and Joe carried away the Sheepshead Bay outer light, N.Y. . . . . On May 29 a sand barge collided with and destroyed the Sewall Point Spit Light, Va... On May 30, the British steamship Inkula collided with the Southwest Pass Gas Buoy No. 31, breaking the lens and causing the loss of the sinker and chain.

Double Mirrors To Increase Efficiency of Lenses - There has recently been developed in the third lighthouse district a double mirror which is intended to increase the intensity of occulting lights and lengthen the duration of light in flashing lights. It is particularly applicable to the former when the periods of light and eclipse are equal and to the latter when the lenses are provided with alternate opaque panels. In this arrangement the single spherical mirror heretofore used to reflect the light is split vertically in the middle and each half turned in opposite directions until the centers of curvature of the two halves are about one inch on either side of the center of the apparatus and there fixed. The result of this arrangement is that the light reflected from the two halves of the mirror instead of striking the mantle passes on either side of it and strikes the lens without interference. This device has been installed at several stations for service test. Photometric observations to determine the possible gain in efficiency are also being made, and the final result will be reported in the Bulletin at a later date.

Savings of Property From Loss By Fire - The tender Zizania rendered valuable assistance to the fire department of Portland, Me., on the night of June 20, 1912, when a fire broke out on the waterfront of that city, endangering wharves and other property. The tender promptly responded to the alarm, and although lying under banked fires, got underway at 2:30 a.m., proceeding toward the conflagration one-eighth mile away within 12 minutes, with steam on the new duplex fire pump recently installed, and two lines of hose ready for action. The vessel remained at the scene of the fire until 8:30 a.m. The officers and crew of the vessel have been commended for prompt and efficient service, with special mention of the energetic actions of Engineer Joseph O’Brien and Cadet Officer Tyler in their respective departments.

Punishments - A lighthouse keeper has been dismissed from the service for oppressive and capricious conduct and for failure to forward an official communication in accordance with the regulations, 1911... The engineer and assistant engineer of a light vessel have been reprimanded for not taking the proper precautions in starting the engines... A keeper of a light station has been warned on account of the condition in which his station is kept... A mate on a light vessel has been warned for failure to show proper interest in his work.

This story appeared in the Sep/Oct 2019 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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