|Port Isabel Light|
“Wave-swept Towers: In determining the design of a lighthouse tower to be erected in a wave-swept position consideration must be given to the physical features of the site and its surroundings.”
|Bishop Rock Lighthouse|
I grew up landlocked, the only waves “sweeping” ashore close to me was out at the local pond. Even the wind couldn’t kick up much wave action on that pond. Perhaps this explains my fascination with lighthouses. Or maybe it is their purpose–beacons in the storm–or it could be the way they look. There is just something very cool about lighthouses.
Bishop Rock Lighthouse: The lighthouse on the Bishop Rock, which is the westernmost landfall rock of the Scilly Islands, occupies perhaps a more exposed situation than any other in the world.
If I live long enough, I plan to write a story that involves a lighthouse. So you can possibly imagine my delight when I was browsing through my 1910 Encyclopedia Britannica and I found twenty-four, fact-filled pages dedicated to the topic of lighthouses. For a writer, it is the equivalent of finding the buried treasure chest filled with gold coins.
|Galveston Jetty Light|
In May 2000 the Galveston Jetty Light collapsed into the Gulf during a severe thunderstorm…
I’ve only ever seen lighthouses from the outside and would love to tour the inside of one, but until that happens, it is fun to get an encyclopedic peek inside the workings of lighthouses, and a historic look back at how lighthouses were perceived in 1910. Win-win for someone working on an alternate history, steampunk novel.
Rothersand Lighthouse: This lighthouse, off the entrance to the river Weser (Germany), is a structure of great interest on account of the difficulties met with in its construction.
I will admit I find the technicalities of the lenses is a bit daunting.
In 1825 the French Commision des Phares decided upon the exclusive use of lenticular apparatus in its service.
But, my word, when you look at the size and scale of them, you can’t help but be impressed. Lighthouses were problem solving at its most basic, driven by the need to save lives. Or as my grandmother used to say: Needs must when the devil drives.
|Pharos of Alexandria|
The famous Pharos of Alexandria, built by Sostratus of Cnidus in the reign of Ptolemy II. (say that three times without breathing or stuttering) was regarded as one of the wonders of the world. The tower, which took its name from that of the small island on which it was built, is said to have been 600 ft in height, but the evidence in support of this statement is doubtful. It was destroyed by an earthquake in the 13th century…the name Pharos became the general term for all lighthouses and the term “pharology” has been used for the science of lighthouse construction.
I was going to finish this off with some pithy words about the wreckers, people who put out false lights to lure ships ashore, but according to Wikipedia, these are false legends. Most ships captains were too savvy to be fooled because the lights didn’t look right and weren’t high enough.
Catoptric System: Parabolic reflectors, consisting of small facets of silvered glass set in plaster of Paris, were first used about the year 1763…
So how do you feel about lighthouses? Do they grab your imagination? Know any cool lighthouse stories?
Disclaimer: I totally copied some of this right out of the encyclopedia (which is out of copyright and there’s no teacher in sight!). And btw, I liked it.
I love AnaBanana’s Bath and Body Treats and I love readers and blog visitors, so thought I’d try something a little different. For the month of May, readers who comment on my blog posts will be entered to win a $10 Gift Card from AnaBanana’s Bath & Body Treats. Winners will be posted in the first blog post in June. (If you pop over to check AnaBanana site be sure to click on zombies link!)
Pauline Baird Jones finds her imagination grabbed by many things, including science fiction romance and steampunk romance. She has done “imagination dumps” into 12 novels and is working on #13, which she hopes won’t be bad luck. You can find out more at: www.paulinebjones.com
Lighthouses: (Cool) Beacons in the Storm