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 Vol, No. 67, dated July 1, 1929, 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.”
President Hoover Lays Cornerstone – President Hoover laid the corner stone June 10 of the new building for the Department of Commerce, at the northwest corner of Fifteenth and E Streets, Washington. The structure will be 1,050 feet in length, 325 feet in width, and 7 stories high, and occupies nearly 8 acres. It is expected that it will be completed in 1932. The impressive ceremonies were conducted in the presence of an immense throng, including many present and former officials of the Government, and was widely broadcast by radio. The President used the same trowel and gavel which President Washington used when he laid the corner stone of the Capitol in 1793.
Inspection of Airways By Airplane – The airways division of the Lighthouse Service is now using a Fairchild cabin monoplane, the N.S. 7, which is equipped for carrying four passengers in addition to the pilot, for inspecting air navigation facilities. The airplane is powered by a wasp 400-horsepower air-cooled motor and is being equipped with the latest type radio and navigation equipment in order to properly certify the adequacy of the aids to air navigation, and landings are made at the intermediate landing fields for the purpose of inspection. A recent 10-day inspection trip was made in the airplane N.S. 7 by Superintendent of Lighthouses F.C. Hingsburg, chief engineer of the airways division, and was piloted by W.T. Miller, principal airways extension superintendent. Starting from Washington, D.C., the flight was made to Pittsburgh, Columbus, Dayton, St. Louis, Kansas City, Moline, Newton, Iowa City, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Chicago, Cleveland, New York, and back to Washington.
Recovery of Sunken Buoy – On June 12, 1929, while grappling for a buoy recently lost, the lighthouse tender Speedwell recovered a BW-600 gas and whistling buoy sunk on Cape Henry Junction Gas and Whistling Buoy Station about 4 years ago. Captain Brooks states: “Grappling operations were begun at 6 a.m. On the first drag the grapnel caught in the buoy’s mooring, but because of a heavy undertow and strong ground swell the 6-inch grapnel line and the trip line parted. This forced us to proceed in for another grapnel, but we were fortunate enough to intercept the Orchid in Thimble Shoal Channel, and a grapnel was obtained from her with which we returned to the position. Again we hooked on the first drag. This proved to be the chain of our lost grapnel which we found hooked into the buoy’s moorings. The sinker was next recovered along with the chain up to within ten fathoms of the buoy. When we tried to lift the buoy, our relief purchase stranded and we then secured buoy with slings and towed it inside Cape Henry to smooth water, where we were successful in landing it on deck. We completed operations at 5 p.m.”
Lightning Damage At Ship Island Lighthouse, Miss. – On June 3 an electrical storm passed over Ship Island Light Station, Miss., and the tower, 62 feet in height, was struck by lightning. The damage to the tower was not great; a few weatherboards were knocked off the tower on each of the four sides about midway the height of the wooden structure and two panes of plate glass were cracked in the lantern. The keeper reports that he and his wife were in the dwelling not more than 20 feet distant, but that no damage was caused to that building, although the crash jarred it and startled the occupants. The lightning conductor was examined and found to be in excellent condition, being the customary copper ribbon about 1.5 inches in width. The efficient condition of this lightning conductor may probably have saved the tower from further damage.
Lighthouse Tender “Laurel” Assists In Salvaging Plane – While a pilot of the Keystone Aircraft Corporation was conducting tests on a Navy seaplane in the Delaware River, on May 24, the plane turned over and was partially submerged near the dock, resting finally in a vertical position between a heavy set of pilings and a long wharf. The lighthouse tender Laurel, under the command of Capt. J. M. Kendley, having observed the plight of the plane, went to their assistance and righted the plane and towed it back to the landing site without any further damage. This action has been praised by the Keystone Aircraft Corporation in a letter to the Department of Commerce, and also by the Inspector of naval aircraft in a letter to the Navy Department.
Lightship “No. 100” – Lightship No. 100, the first of three lightships under construction at the Albina Marine Iron Works, Portland, Oreg., was launched at the plant of the company on June 17. It is a single-screw Diesel electric-propelled vessel and measures 133.3 feet overall, with a length on the load water line of 108.9 feet and a molded beam of 30 feet. The launching was a feature event of the celebration of “Marine Day” at Portland and was witnessed by a large and distinguished company.
That’s another sampling “From the Bulletin” Watch this space in each issue of Lighthouse Digest for more.
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