Digest>Archives> Nov/Dec 2020

From the Lighthouse Service Bulletin

By Jack Graham


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The USLHS Tender Holly at Point No Point ...

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 Volume II, No. 34, dated October 1, 1920 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.”

Trip To Mount Vernon – In connection with the meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States held in Washington on October 6 and 7, 1920, Secretary Alexander invited the delegates to visit Mount Vernon on board the lighthouse tender Holly. The guests of honor on this occasion, in addition to the officials of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, were the following representatives of the Association of British Chambers of Commerce now visiting this country. A.J. Hobson, L.L.D., president; Sir Thomas Mackenzie, G.C.M.G., L.L.D.; A.R. Arkey, M.P. Nottingham; Stanley Machin, J.P., president London Chamber; . . . and R. B. Dunwoody, O.B.E.; secretary of the association. The tender sailed from the lighthouse wharf in Washington about 2 p.m. on October 6, with a party of about 50 guests in all, including the Secretary of Commerce and the Commissioner of Lighthouses. The visit to the tomb and grounds was quite informal and the trip was successful in every way, the party returning to Washington about 7 p.m.

Sale of Oil Cans – The superintendents of lighthouses have been given authority to sell empty kerosene oil cans at light stations or elsewhere as deemed practical and in the best interest of the service. Disposing of the cans by sale to those who can make use of them will make it unnecessary to destroy cans which are in good condition and will thus prevent a certain amount of waste. [By this date, electricity had reached many stations, rendering the kerosene cans unnecessary.]

Accident To Steam Launch of Tender Cedar – On the afternoon of June 4, 1920, the launch of the tender Cedar was towing a scow loaded with gravel from a beach on the west coast of Gravina Island, Alaska, to Ketchikan when the water feed pump and the injector broke down, so that the engineer was unable to get any water into the boiler. The launch and loaded scow were drifting with the wind and tide in a northerly direction as the gas boat Lilly overtook the launch and towed it to Ketchikan.

Radio Fog Signals – The Bureau is continuing actively the investigation of radio direction finding as a means of navigation in thick weather. With the assistance of the Bureau of Standards, a radio direction finder of improved type has been installed on the tender Tulip, and automatic wireless-signaling apparatus has been installed at the Sea Girt Light Station, N.J. and on Ambrose Channel and Fire Island Light Vessels. The radio direction finder installed on the tender is a marked improvement over those used in previous experiments, the installation being of a permanent character, and so arranged that the directions may be read directly on a standard magnetic compass. The automatic wireless signal transmitting sets are of improved design, requiring no expert knowledge in their operation and no mechanical or electrical adjustments after the installation has been completed. During the preliminary tests the master of the tender, after a few minutes instruction was able to operate the compass without any difficulty, and in a run of about 43 miles, during which he navigated the tender entirely by radio compass, he brought his vessel within 800 feet of the Fire Island Light Vessel, for which he was heading, with only three readings of the radio compass, the last of which was taken at a distance of about 15 miles.

Publications Issued – The following publications have been issued. Buoy List, Cedar Keys to the Rio Grande, 8th lighthouse district, corrected to Sept. 1, 1920; Light List, Ohio, Tennessee, Kanawha, and Monongahela Rivers, 14th lighthouse district, corrected to Sept. 15, 1920.

Service Insignia – There has been some misrepresentation of paragraph 4, page 8, of Regulations for Uniforms, 1920, in regard to the use of gold service stars and bars to indicate length of service of keepers at light stations and depots. In some cases where keepers have had 25 years or more of service they are wearing the gold star and also a gold bar for each of such 5 years of service, which is contrary to the regulations. A keeper having had 25 service is authorized to wear one gold star only, a keeper having had 30 years of service is authorized to wear one gold star and one gold bar, while a keeper having had 50 years of service is authorized to wear two gold stars only.

Saving of Life and Property – On August 11, 1920, James B. Cox, assistant keeper, Long Shoal Light Station, N.C., rendered assistance to the officers and crew of the disabled U.S. naval sea plane N.C.-2. On August 31, 1920, E. W. Osgood, assistant keeper, Manana Island Fog Signal Station, Maine, rescued the body of a lady who had drowned near the station in attempting to rescue her companion.

That’s another sampling From the Bulletin. Watch this space in each issue of Lighthouse Digest for more.

This story appeared in the Nov/Dec 2020 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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