Crooked River Light House

Lighthouse Blog

Article by our newest volunteer


Although history traces the earliest maritime signal fires to ancient times, the  modern effort to protect seafarers began with the family Stevenson  along the Scottish coast.  For three generations spanning the 18th and 19th centuries, these remarkable engineers designed, developed, and constructed the first modern lighthouses. Well, all but one. Robert Louis Stevenson tried his hand at the family business for a year or so, and then decided to follow his passion as a writer. Lucky for us.

Stevenson-built lighthouses had walls 9 feet thick to withstand battering by the North Atlantic. Early lights had already been  invented, but it took Augustin Fresnel’s design  to illuminate the unforgiving waters of the coast far enough out to cut down the number of shipwrecks.  The first lenses, called catoptric lights  placed the lens or reflector behind the flame, actually dissipating the light.  By placing the lens in front, dioptric lights,  candle power was tripled even with the earliest prototypes, by bending the light towards a specific point on the horizon.  Think of the difference between a candle’s glow, and a light bulb’s illumination.

  Fresnel lenses were ranked in order of size and resulting brightness from one to six.  A sixth order lens weighed about 220 pounds and was designed for piers and breakwaters.  In contrast, the first order lens weighed upwards of 6 tons, was used for major coastal lighthouses and shown  18 times brighter than the smallest. The Crooked River lighthouse’s Fresnel lens, now removed to Coast Guard Headquarters in New Orleans is a fourth order lens.

To learn more about the early days of lighthouse construction, you are directed to Bella Bathurt’s  The Lighthouse Stevensons,  ISBN: 0-06-019427-8. With site names like Mull of Kintyre , Skerryvore, and  the Butt of Lewis, you’re guaranteed a fascinating read about our favorite subject.

Starting soon, the Crooked River light will be opened for tours to the top of the catwalk on Thursdays and Fridays, as well as on weekends.

Please join the Carrabelle Lighthouse Association in welcoming our newest volunteer, Captain Bob.  He will be leading tours on Thursday and Friday, September 27 and 28.

Posted Monday, 08/27/12, 08:49 AM - Comments - Category: Events


Comment by Tamara on August 28, 2012 - 03:17 PM

Welcome, Capn. Bob. Great to have you aboard. Facinating article. tamara allen

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