Digest>Archives> March 2002

From the pages of time — Midget Lightships


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Now here’s an interesting piece of lighthouse history! The header of the ad read “Midget Lightships to guide the Giant Clippers home!” We know that the U.S. Lighthouse Service operated an Airways Division, but whether or not their predecessor the U.S. Coast Guard was involved in this World War II era effort is unknown.

This magazine advertisement, by Sylvania, tells how Pan American Airways has teamed with Sylvania to build new midget lightships whose fluorescent lamps would mark a clear channel for passenger water landings.

The ad went on to say, “Yes, at New York’s Marine Terminal, at Lisbon, Portugal and Eire. PA, those harbor lights are fluorescent now. Pan American pilots have found these bouncing beacons the answer to a sea pilot’s prayer. And their cheerful green glow, shinning across port waters, marks another first in fluorescent for Sylvania, whose accomplishments in the science of lighting as in electric research help advance the cause of victory today, hold bright promise for our peaceful tomorrows.

If only we could find one of these in existence today, it would make a unique and unusual display at a lighthouse museum

This story appeared in the March 2002 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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