Digest>Archives> Mar/Apr 2017

From the Lighthouse Service Bulletin

By Jack Graham

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Aunt Phoebe Rock, New Rochelle, NY.

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 Number 29, dated May 1914, 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.”

Sale of Wreck of Tender Armeria – The wreck of the lighthouse tender Armeria, which foundered off Cape Hinchinbrook, Alaska, on May 20, 1912, has been sold to the highest bidder for the sum of $2,500.

Improvement In Electric Fog-Bell Striker – Improvements have recently been made in the type A electric fog-bell striker manufactured at the general lighthouse depot. The whole apparatus is now set upon a cast-iron bedplate in order to keep the motor shaft more rigidly in line with the shaft of the gear box. A few minor changes, such as changing the large gears from steel to composition, have also been made.

Hurricane Warnings – The display of hurricane warnings by means of rockets at the Martins Industry Light Vessel, S.C., mentioned in Bulletin for April, 1914, will not be made. After further investigation of the matter by the local weather forecaster at Charleston, it is thought that it would be impossible for the light vessel to see and repeat rocket displays from shore stations during the character of weather that usually attends the near approach of a hurricane.

Explosion of Blow Torch – On March 11, 1914, John Larsson, late seaman on the tender Marigold, was fatally burned by the explosion of a gasoline blow torch being used by him in burning paint off the inside of the bulwarks of the tender. From the location of Mr. Larsson’s injuries, it is thought that he was holding the torch between his knees to burn the paint off the bulwarks between the shell of the ship and the shelf which covers the steering chain, and that due to the small working space he was using the torch in an inverted position. . . . . This apparatus can not be used upside down without danger.

Important Changes In Aids To Navigation –

Lights changed from fixed to flashing or occulting: Shinnecock Bay, seacoast New York, fixed white to group flashing white, oil to incandescent oil vapor; Detroit River, Mich., fixed and flashing to group flashing, oil to incandescent oil vapor.

Lights changed from oil to incandescent oil vapor: Brandywine Shoal, Del.

Fog signals established: Aunt Phebe Rock, New Rochelle, Harbor, N.Y. (electric bell); Fiddler’s Reach, Kennebec River, Me. (bell).

Vessels – The bid of Hall Bros. Marine Railway and Shipbuilding Co., Winslow, Wash., in the sum of $62,000, for the construction of the lighthouse tender Fern, for service in the inside waters of Alaska, has been accepted. The lighthouse tender Ivy has been transferred from the ninth to the fifth lighthouse district, and the tender Myrtle has been transferred from the third to the ninth lighthouse district. The transfer was accomplished without noteworthy incident, each vessel being commanded by a master in the Lighthouse Service.

The new light vessel No. 96, intended for station at Buffalo N.Y., was launched at the works of the contractors, Muskegon, Mich., April 21, 1914.

The overhaul and repair of the following vessels has been completed: tenders Arbutus, Larkspur, Pansy, and Woodbine.

Saving of Life and Property – On April 8 John B. Quidley, laborer in charge of Bogue Sound and Core Creek lights, N.C., with the lighthouse launch, towed the disabled freight boat Georgie T. to harbor, a distance of about 12 miles, and later fixed the engine on the freight boat.

On March 30 Wilbur M. Plumley, quartermaster on the tender Mistletoe, assisted in the rescue of the steward of the tender, who had fallen overboard.

This story appeared in the Mar/Apr 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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