to Navigation - Markers, buoys, lights, fog signals, and
electronic systems such as G.P.S. & loran. Used to assist
mariners in fixing their positions, aid in marking landfalls,
mark dangerous shoals and rocks and to enable ships to keep
within a channel.
An early lamp
system used to
automate lighthouses. The Sun Valve would automatically turn the
gas on as the cold of night arrived and off with the arrival of
the warmth of day. A pilot light would remain constantly lit.
Equipped with a tank into which acetylene could be pumped from
lighthouse tenders, lights could be supplied with sufficient
acetylene for an entire season.
- A modern type of light presently used in many lighthouses to
produce a characteristic. Also used in many airport beacons.
Lamp - A hollow wick oil lamp.
- Metal bars dividing the lantern room glass into sections.
- Aids to navigation.
- A convex lens used to concentrate (refract) light.
- Individual flashing pattern and/or color of light exhibited.
A series of gears, chains and counter-weights used to rotate
the lens. Working similar to that of a grandfather clock the
counter-weights were hoisted every day .
- A foundation usually constructed of timber and filled with
rock and/or concrete. Sometimes sheathed with steel plate.
- Unique color and/or pattern that identifies an aid to
navigation or vessel during daylight hours.
- A tide falling or moving from high to low water.
Light - A steady, non-flashing beam.
- A tide rising or moving from low to high water.
Signal - A
device used as an aid to navigation in fog or darkness. Some
types of devices used are cannons, bells & whistles.
Lens - A parabolic type lens invented by French physicist Augustin
Fresnel, commonly used in lighthouses throughout the world.
Classified by size into six "orders" based on the lens
focal length. The First Order
is the largest at 12 feet tall with a diameter of 6 feet and a
focal length of 36 inches. The Sixth Order is the smallest at 2
feet tall with a diameter of 1 foot and a focal length of 5.9
inches. Click here to see a Second
- A material that is burned to produce light (fuels used for
lighthouses included wood, lard, whale oil, tallow, kerosene.)
Today electricity is common with acetylene gas and solar power
- On a lighthouse tower, a railed platform, walkway or balcony
located outside the watch room and/or lantern room. Also referred
to as a Parapet.
- Global Positioning System that operates off of at least (3) satellites
to triangulate location and elevation.
- A concentric cotton wick used in Argon and other type lamps.
- Individual who takes care of the operation of the light in a
lighthouse along with it's maintenance. (The head keeper is
responsible for the operation of a light station.)
- The lighting apparatus inside a lens.
- Civilians who care for minor working lights.
Room - Area within glass panels surrounding the lamp and
lens at the top of a lighthouse tower.
- A curved piece of glass for bringing together or spreading
rays of light passing through it.
- A tower used as an aid to navigation marking a hazard or point
of entrance. Usually consisting of a very bright light atop a
tower and often a foghorn or siren and radio beacon.
- A vessel used to mark a hazardous area and/or guide
shipping traffic, anchored in position with a mast mounted
beacon and equipped with a steam whistle for fog warning.
- A book for maintaining complete daily records,
- Long range aid to navigation. Operates off of (3) land based
radio towers to triangulate location.
- Directing the course of a vessel.
- Size of the fresnel lens which determined by the brightness
and distance the light will travel.
- A bowl-like metal, silver or chrome plated, reflector with a
small oil lamp in the center.
Lens - A
lens that has the shape of a parabola rotated about the
parabola's axis of symmetry. It reflects rays of light in
parallel lines from a light source at the lens' focus.
- The walkway around the outside of the lantern room. Also referred
to as a Gallery.
- A Harbor or Port of Call providing protection for vessels.
Also the Left side of a vessel, marked by a red light or
- A transparent piece of glass that refracts or disperses light.
Beacon - A fixed radio beacon that aids navigation by
sending a radio signal. Vessels can determine location by taking
bearings from several different signals.
Lights - Two lights or Day-Marks, located a distance apart,
visible from one direction only. When one light is visible
directly above the other, you are in the marked channel for safe
- A ridge of
rocks, sand, or coral at or near the surface of a body of water.
- Bend or throw back light.
- Bend or slant rays of light.
Light - A rotating beam of light that produces a flash or
Rip-rap - A loose foundation or an
arrangement of broken stone in water or soft terrain used to
help prevent erosion. The material used for this is known as
rap or rapping.
- An area of
rocks or sand at or near the surface of a body of water.
- A distress signal.
Lamp - Shallow brass pan containing oil and several solid
Light - A lighthouse with no family living in it,
occupied by men only.
- The right side of a vessel, marked by a green light or
"Tall Five" - Five Great Lakes lighthouse
towers with supervision of design
and construction appointed to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Major O.M.
Poe. They were all constructed from the same plans giving them
the classic "Poe" style. The lighthouses are: Michigan's Little
Sable, South Manitou Island and New Presque Isle along with
Wisconsin's Wind Point and Illinois' Grosse Point.
- The regular rise and fall of the water level along a seacoast
or in an ocean port. Gravitational attraction of the moon is the
primary cause of tides. With the moon orbiting the earth every
24 hours and 50 minutes, low and high tides are about 12 hours
and 25 minutes apart.
- Structure supporting the lens and lantern room of the
Lamp - A device that turns fuel into vapor, after
contacting the hot walls of a vaporizing chamber, which then
passes into a mantle where it burns with a very bright light.
Ball - A ball shaped vent above the lantern room designed to
remove excess heat and exhaust fumes, allowing fresh air to
Room - A room immediately below the lantern room used as
a service room. Fuel and other supplies were often kept here.
The keeper prepared the lanterns for the night and often stood
watch of the burning light from this room. The clockworks (for
rotating lens) were also located there.
Solid - A solid cord used in spider lamps that draws fuel up
to the flame by capillary action.
Well - A cylindrical pit in the center
of the tower foundation designed
to house the descending clock-work counter-weight as it
rotates the lantern.