Digest>Archives> Jan/Feb 2017

From the Lighthouse Service Bulletin

By Jack Graham


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Thimble Shoals Lighthouse.

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 III, Number 36, from December 1926, follow. The Bulletin had as it 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.”

Radiocompass Assists In Heroic Rescue At Sea – Another striking instance of the great value of radiocompass aboard ship has just been reported in the press in connection with the rescue in a violent North Atlantic storm of 25 men from the sinking British steamer Antinoe by the officers and men of the United States Lines steamer President Roosevelt. When the Roosevelt answered the SOS of the Antinoe on Sunday, the freighter was 100 miles away from the position given in the distress call, so without the radiocompass and the men to operate it she would never have been found in the blizzard that was blowing.

Twelve Radio Sets To Lighthouse Stations and Vessels – To afford relief from the loneliness that is part of some of the men in the Lighthouse Service, cut off from all but few human contacts, a wealthy woman of New York has sent 12 large radio sets to Harold D. King, superintendent of the Baltimore lighthouse district, for distribution among lighthouse tenders, light vessels, and shore stations.

[In connection with the above item, the following entry is from the April 1926 Bulletin. It is from the keeper of the Thimble Shoals, VA., lighthouse, to District Superintendent King.]

“I respectfully wish to inform you that we have received the radio set and it is working fine. We have been able to hear very plainly a good sermon every Sunday since we received it and also lots of good music. It is the most company of anything I have ever seen in the Lighthouse Service. I wish to thank you for sending one of the sets to this station.”

Saving of Life and Property – The following persons have been officially commended for meritorious services rendered in saving life and property:

The tender Crocus, John P. Bourke commanding, on December 8 rescued two men in and exhausted and half-frozen condition from a small motor boat in Maumee Bay, Ohio.

Charles W. Vanderhoop, keeper of Gay Head light station, on November 24 rendered assistance to the occupants of a disabled boat which was washed ashore in the vicinity of the station.

Color of Overfalls Lightship – The color scheme used on Overfalls Lightship has recently been changed to black hull with white superstructure. The Delaware Pilot’s Association states that this painting of the lightship gives a higher visibility under all weather conditions and will be of aid to passing vessels.

Cape Spencer Lighthouse of Great Value To Mariners In Alaska Waters – Capt. Jerimiah Flynn, master of the Alaska Steamship Co. liner Alameda, after one of the stormiest voyages in his experience in January, is reported in the Ketchikan Chronicle to have said: “The new light station at Cape Spencer is of incalculable value to mariners in Alaskan waters. Approaching Cape Spencer, the weather was so thick that had it not been for the strong light, which was not sited until the Alameda was in a short distance of it, the vessel would have had great difficulty in finding its way to inside waters. Formerly a blinker light was established at Cape Spencer.”

Tool For Preparing Holes In Rock Bottom – A steel punch is in use in the seventh lighthouse district for driving holes in coral rock for inserting the piles of wooden beacons. It consists of a shaft of mild steel 6 inches in diameter and about 24 feet long, to one end of which is securely welded a conical steel bit 9 inches in diameter on the driving face, 8 inches in diameter at the upper face, and 6 inches thick. The other end of the shaft is provided with a driving head 10 inches in diameter and 30 inches long, shrunk on so that there is 12 inches of solid metal between the upper end of the shaft and the driving face of the head, the entire length of the tool being 25 feet. The punch when in use is driven into the coral rock by a steam or drop hammer.

This story appeared in the Jan/Feb 2017 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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