Lighthouse Display Case

Page 1
This page by Jerry Wilkinson

     An artist's rendition of the early navigation aid for the Roman Empire.
     At one time or another, five lightships served in the Florida Keys, the Aurora Borealis in the Dry Tortugas, the Sand Key Honey, the Key West Lightboat (name unknown), and the Cesar and Florida at Carysfort Reef.
     The lanterns were oil lamps, usually whale-oil, and mounted on a compound gimbal to maintain the lamps level with the roll and pitch of the ship.
     Generally, all lamps used some variety of reflective device. In the above drawing, the flame was centered in front of the reflector at the correct distance. The Winslow Lewis patented Argand lamp with a 14-inch reflector was typical. Winslow Lewis also placed an optical lens in front of the reflector for magnification.  Frequent cleaning  was necessary.
     An array, or bank, of lamps was frequently used for additional light. Various sizes of arrays were used depending on whether it was a long distance coastal light or a short distance marker, or beacon light.
     Various fuels have been used to produce the light. Whale-oil, kerosene and acetylene were the most common. Various forms of batteries and charging systems were tried and solar is generally preferred today. Various lamp and reflector combinations were tried, but the Fresnel (pronounced Fer-NELL) was by far the best with fuel oil lamps, also the most expensive. There were six sizes (orders) with the "first-order" being the largest. The Fresnel lens is not used with today's solar powered systems.
     A typical present-day solar powered automated lighthouse (Rebecca Shoal Lighthouse). 

     Now for the Florida Keys lighthouses.

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