Kate's Corner · News

Kate’s Corner #29

Sand Island Light Station, Alabama, in 1893. National Archives photo 26-LG-38a-81A.

Kate Walker here, keeping the light on Robbins Reef.

Danville Leadbetter (Wikimedia Commons)

Third District Inspector A.S. Snow told me the sad story of the Sand Island Light Tower, located three miles south of Mobile Point at the entrance to Mobile Bay, Alabama. Before the Civil War, Mobile was the South’s second-largest cotton exporting port. A lighthouse was built on Sand Island in 1838 to mark the entrance to Mobile Bay. A new, 200-foot-tall Sand Island tower was completed in 1858 by Army Engineer Danville Leadbetter — the tallest lighthouse ever built on the Gulf Coast.


In the first months of the Civil War, Confederate States collector T. Sanford hired a contractor to remove the nine-foot-tall, first-order lens for storage, first at Mobile and later at Montgomery. The empty tower was used repeatedly as a lookout post as forces of both sides spied on each other’s strengths from aloft. Union glasses searched for weaknesses at the forts commanding the bay entrance and stood careful watch for the dreaded ram CSS Tennessee. Southern forces occasionally studied movements of the fleet from the tower.

The CSS Tennessee (Wikimedia Commons)

To keep the tower out of Union hands, Confederate Lieutenant John W. Glenn decided that the tower should be destroyed. On January 31, 1863, he sailed his yawl down the bay and begun a hurried reconnaissance of the island. When his movements were detected and a Union boat approached, “As hurriedly as possible I set fire to the five frame buildings on the island and then returned to my boat and by keeping the island between

John W. Glenn (Wikimedia Commons)

me and the enemy’s vessel, I managed to get a mile away from her before she discerned my exact position.”

He added that,” The island is now a barren sand waste. Even the grass and brush is burned off and at such a time as I shall judge expedient, I will tumble the lighthouse down in their teeth.” He followed up his threat on February 23. He sapped the lighthouse with 70 pounds of gunpowder buried under its base and lit the fuse. He reported that, “Nothing remains but a narrow shred about fifty feet high.”

Glenn’s gleeful report was addressed to Confederate States Brigadier General Danville Leadbetter, the U.S. Light-House Board engineer who had built the magnificent tower on Sand Island only a few years earlier. How do you suppose General Leadbetter felt about a brash young lieutenant destroying his masterpiece?

The 1872 Annual Report of the Light-House Board noted that “a temporary frame tower, with fourth-order lens, was erected to replace a brick tower destroyed during the war . . .. The island lies three miles south of the mouth of Mobile Bay and is merely a bank of sand, about four hundred acres in extent, constantly changing its outline. . . . The foundation, consisting of a double course of sill timbers resting on one hundred and seventy-one piles and overlaid with a depth of 12 feet of concrete, was put down.”

(From Thompson Engineering Sand Island Light House Report)

Have you seen pilings supporting a dock or pier? Can you picture 171 piles sunk in a solid circle to hold the concrete base of this lighthouse (Sand Island)? You can see the base of the lighthouse in this drawing. It is surrounded by stone riprap to cut the force of water washing against it. Is riprap a new term to you?

The 1873 Annual Report of the Light-House Board indicated that the total height to the focal plane of the light will be 125 feet, or 132 feet above sea level, and the visibility of the light will extend to a distance of seventeen and one-half nautical miles.

The light was deactivated in 1971. The island has since eroded away, and the tower is exposed to the sea. The Sand Island Lighthouse Preservation Group hopes to restore the lighthouse.


Information is from David Cipra, Lighthouses, Lightships, and the Gulf of Mexico, p. 72, and this web page.


Lighthouse News of the Week

White Shoal Lighthouse (U.S. LIghthouse Society archives)

White Shoal Lighthouse (MI) to open for tours in 2019

Isolated White Shoal Lighthouse, under the care of the White Shoal Light Historical Preservation Society, will open for tours in July 2019 — five years ahead of their original schedule. The group announced on their Facebook page:

“This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view and photograph White Shoal before access once again becomes extremely limited during the planned 5-year restoration process. By participating in the many exciting events we are planning for the summer of 2019, you will be helping us raise the much-needed funding to restore this Queen of Great Lakes Lighthouses! Stay tuned as we reveal additional exciting details in the coming weeks!”

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Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse (Wikimedia Commons)

Night Tour at Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, Florida, on January 30

On January 30, visitors will have the opportunity to climb Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse in Jupiter, Florida, to take in the spectacular sunset views and witness the light turning on to illuminate the night sky. Visitors get an inside look at the nuts and bolts of a working lighthouse watch room. Tour time is approximately 75 minutes. The cost is $20 per person, $15 for members. Tickets are required and may be purchased online. Tours are weather permitting. Children must be at least 48” tall to climb the lighthouse and must be accompanied by an adult.

Click here for more information on this and other events.


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Souter Lighthouse (U.S. Lighthouse Society archives)

Keeper’s cottage at the world’s first electric lighthouse will switch to gas

When the Souter Lighthouse in South Tyneside, England, was built in 1871, it was the first lighthouse in the world to be designed and built specifically to be powered in electricity. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1988 but remains a popular tourist attraction maintained by the National Trust. One of the two keepers’ cottages, utilized for vacation housing, will soon be converted from electric heat to a more efficient gas heating system.

You can read more here.

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. You can receive these posts via email if you click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button in the right-hand column. Please support this electronic newsletter by joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member.

If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to Jeremy at nelights@gmail.com.


Kate’s Corner #28

Kate Walker here, keeping the light on Robbins Reef.

A reporter from the New York Times visited the lighthouse in 1906, asking me all kinds of questions about life on Robbins Reef. I told him, this lamp in this tower, it is more difficult to care for than a family of children. It need not be wound more than once in five hours, but I wind it every three hours so as to take no chances. In nineteen years that light has never disappointed sailors who have depended on it. Every night I watch it until 12 o clock. Then, if all is well, I go to bed, leaving my son Jacob in charge. Jacob was appointed assistant keeper in 1896.

Kate Walker filling the kerosene lamp at Robbins Reef Lighthouse.

The wicks of the lamps had to be trimmed every time they were used. In winter I removed the frost from inside the glass windows of the lantern, and during snowstorms I climbed outside onto the balcony to clear the snow off of the windows. The official instructions were:

To prevent the frosting of the plate glass of lanterns, put a small quantity of glycerin on a linen cloth and rub it over the inner surface of the glass. One application when the lamp is lighted and another at midnight will generally be found sufficient to keep the glass clear during the night.

Sperm oil became expensive in mid-century, and many lighthouses switched to lard oil. Kerosene proved a much cleaner illuminant, and many lighthouses switched to kerosene in the 1880s. An incandescent oil vapor lamp was very similar to the Coleman lantern that many people take camping.

Keeper Maurice Babcock with the IOV (incandescent oil vapor lamp) inside the second-order Fresnel lens at Boston Lighthouse circa 1940. (Courtesy of Diana Cappiello)
Fannie Salter on the stairs of the Turkey Point Lighthouse.

Until 1943, when electricity was installed at Turkey Point, Fannie Salter made four or five trips daily to the top of the tower. When a 100-watt electric bulb was placed inside the Fresnel lens, increasing the light to 680 candlepower, the keeper’s time-consuming duties were reduced to the mere flip of a switch. Then one trip a day up the tower kept the light in working order. Only during cold weather were additional trips necessary to defrost the large windows surrounding the light. The heavy brass oil lamps used earlier were kept in readiness in case the electric power and auxiliary generator malfunctioned.

In my years at Robbins Reef I switched from lighting kerosene lamps with matches to pumping up an incandescent oil vapor lamp to switching on electricity. The Light-House Board began experimenting with electric light at the nearby Statue of Liberty and Sandy Hook East Beacon in the 1880s, and after 1900 gradually converted those lighthouses that were near power lines.


Information is from National Archives, Record Group 25 Entry 3 (NC-63); 1902 Instructions to Light-Keepers, p. 21; Clifford, Women Who Kept the Lights, p. 206.


Lighthouse News of the Week

Pensacola Lighthouse (FL) celebrating 160th birthday

Pensacola Lighthouse (U.S. Lighthouse Society archives)

There will be three days of special events in commemoration of the 160th anniversary of the first lighting of Pensacola Lighthouse on Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, this weekend. The celebration began today (Friday, January 11) with a ribbon cutting marking the end of a four-year, $3 million project restoring the lighthouse and surrounding buildings.


At 2 p.m. Saturday, January 12, a group will gather at St. John’s Cemetery to place Lighthouse Service plaques on the graves of former keepers. The cemetery celebration will include bagpipe music by the McGuire’s Irish Pub band. From 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Sunday, the lighthouse and museum will offer free admission to all visitors. Tour guides in period costumes will greet visitors.

Vance Buras, now 85, son of a former keeper, has returned to Pensacola for the event. “My dad was the keeper and there were two assistant keepers. One of them would carry a tin of kerosene to the top every night to fuel the light,” he told the Pensacola News Journal.

You can read more about the celebration here.

You can read about the recent restoration here.

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Manitowoc South Pier Light (WI) gets washed into Lake Michigan

It was not really a lighthouse, but it was an official aid to navigation at the end of a pier at Manitowoc, Wisconsin. At about 8:30 a.m. on January 7, Ann Barbeau of Manitowoc was out taking photos as the winds were gusting to 50 mph and the waves were as high as 12 to 15 feet.

Barbeau took a series of 16 photos of waves crashing into the pier around the 20-foot-tall fiberglass aid to navigation. Then she realized it was gone. “I looked in the water, and it was floating for about five seconds, then sunk,” she said. “I looked around and cleared my eyes because I couldn’t believe what I just witnessed.”

“Rest In Peace, South Pier Lighthouse,” Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nikels posted on Twitter. “We can now add this to our upcoming attractions in our Marine Sanctuary along with the shipwrecks. In all seriousness, the Coast Guard has been notified about this since it is their lighthouse. All will be well.”

You can read more here.

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City of Marquette (MI) to build a new park around lighthouse

The city of Marquette, Michigan, obtained ownership of the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse two years ago, and they announced plans to establish a new park around the property. “The commission about a year ago set aside 1 million dollars to make this happen,” said Mike Angeli, Marquette City Manager. “We’re working to stay within that budget. I think we’ll be able to do that with the overall goal of creating a park that the entire community can enjoy.”

Marquette Harbor Lighthouse (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

Construction on the park is expected to begin early spring and to be completed by mid-summer. The park will provide improved ease of access to the Maritime Museum/lighthouse.

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Lighthouse is shut down

We reported here recently that Sullivans Island Lighthouse in South Carolina had gone dark, and that its 56-year-old DCB-224 aerobeacon-type system would have to be removed and replaced. That work was due to be completed soon, but the latest word is that it is on hold due to the federal government shutdown.

U.S. Coast Guard spokesman Lt. James Zorn said the staff needed to do the work can’t travel to South Carolina until the government reopens.

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Lighthouses are for Lovers and Friends

The National Lighthouse Museum at Staten Island, New York, is presenting their fourth annual “Lighthouses are for Lovers and Friends” event featuring the “Dreamers Quartet” on Saturday, February 9, 2019, 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the museum, 200 The Promenade at Lighthouse Point, St. George, (adjacent to the Free Staten Island Ferry) Staten Island, NY.

The Dreamers feature the music of Motown, The Jersey Boys, Carole King, Skyliners, Smokey Robinson, Chicago, The O’Jays, Harptones, Tavares, Temptations, and many more. Gourmet Buffet Dinner catered by Franboise. Cash Bar Available. Tickets $75.00. For info/reservations: Lighthousemuseum.org. email: info@lighthousemuseum.org. Tel. 718-390-0040.

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. You can receive these posts via email if you click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button in the right-hand column. Please support this electronic newsletter by joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member.

If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to Jeremy at nelights@gmail.com.

Journals of Florida's Keeper Thomas Patrick O'Hagan · News

Journals of Florida’s Keeper Thomas Patrick O’Hagan, Part 2

Thomas Patrick O’Hagan, Mosquito-Ponce Inlet Lighthouse’s second principal keeper (1893-1905), and principal keeper at Amelia Island Lighthouse (1905-1925), was stationed at many other U.S. Lighthouse Service stations during his fifty year career. Two of his sons became keepers, and a third worked as a mate on USLHS tenders. O’Hagan has some fascinating stories to share about his life at different stations throughout his long service, his extensive contacts with keepers at other stations, Lighthouse Service officials, and of course, his sons’ and family members’ tenure at other lights in the Fifth and Sixth districts. On a side note, the O’Hagan family continued to be represented at the Amelia Island Lighthouse until just recently by Helen O’Hagan Sintes who is Thomas Patrick’s granddaughter and Thomas John O’Hagan’s daughter, as the third generation of Amelia keepers. For many years, Helen graciously shared her knowledge of the Amelia Island Lighthouse and her family’s story with visitors as historian and Coast Guard Auxiliary lead volunteer at Amelia Island. She donated family memorabilia and sat for several informative oral histories with Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum staff. Dear to us all, Helen remains an active member of the Florida Lighthouse Association.

January 5, 2019

John F. Mann, Lead Docent, Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum

Tuesday, March 29, 1927

amelia island lh john mann
Amelia Island Lighthouse, photo by John Mann

Warm, light to moderate breeze, S. to S.W. (can’t break a life-long habit of keeping the log) on a spring morning on the porch of my new little house down the lane from the Amelia Island Lighthouse. In my last little bit of writing, I promised that I would tell the story of the peripatetic Amelia Island Lighthouse. Now, I know that a few of the cast-iron towers have been unbolted and moved around from time to time like that one up in Cape Cod that went all the way to California, sat at the Depot in San Francisco Bay for six years, and now is going to be placed south of San Francisco. But I’m betting that my Amelia Island tower, which started in service in 1820 only a few miles across the Saint Mary’s River on Cumberland Island in Georgia, is the only brick tower ever to be disassembled, moved from one state to another, and rebuilt. And from what I understand, Winslow Lewis, the original builder in Georgia, moved it some eighteen years later here to Amelia, reconstructing it in late 1838 to 1839.

ameliaislandlh keeper's residencewikimedia commons 4.27
Amelia Island Light Station (Wikimedia Commons)


I know that during his time, Mr. Lewis established standardized plans for his towers, with certain heights, sixty-five feet, and fifty and down to twenty-five feet and so on. That could work in the Northeast, but it wouldn’t make too much sense along the coasts from New Jersey on down. I also think it can be said many of Mr. Lewis’ towers don’t seem to have much luck staying upright. A good example, the first Mosquito Inlet lighthouse, looked very much like Amelia and pretty much all of Lewis’ towers with a typical whitewash sometimes on stucco over the brick and a black, iron lantern room.

1835 tower mosquito artists conception pilh collection
Artist’s conception of the 1835 Mosquito Inlet Lighthouse (Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Preservation Collection)

That first Mosquito tower, 45 feet tall, was built by Lewis in 1835 on a dune on the south side of the inlet, or the New Smyrna side. Before it could be fully supplied with oil and lit, it was hit by several storms which washed away the sand dune around most of whatever foundation it had, if any, and seriously undermined the tower. All that might sound unkind or critical about Lewis, but that was frequently the trouble with his towers, and his work. And whether all the storms that happened that year had anything to do with Halley’s Comet, which was widely seen at that time according to the Almanac, is a different matter.

One storm lasted seven days, really not all that unusual along that coast. That late October storm completely washed away the keeper’s residence, all of the family’s belongings, ate away at the dune the tower was built on, and further angled the tower. Having sold his part of a plantation and having moved to the new lighthouse station upon his appointment as keeper, William Williams, his wife, Fanny, his children and servants were, according to him, “made homeless, without a change of garments, and dependent on the kindness of others for shelter.” To make matters worse, all of this was happening during the Florida Wars with the Seminole people. In fact, a month later on Christmas Day of 1835, a Seminole raiding party burned homes and plantations in that immediate area. The Indians eventually wound up at the light station and ended up setting fire to the tower’s wooden door to get in. They tried to burn the wood steps and did break all the glass in the windows and the lantern. If the oil had been delivered, surely the tower would have been burned completely. The Seminoles even discovered where Williams had hidden away the lamp’s reflectors, and local lore has it that their leader wore one of the reflectors as a head or chest ornament during a battle a month later at a plantation.

Williams, son of a local planter, was active in local politics as a Justice of the Peace and a Notary. He went on to considerable fame later in life, becoming a member of the Florida legislative council that drafted the Florida Territory’s first constitution. He was later elected Sherriff of what was then East Orange County, a part of the broken up Mosquito County, a huge area consisting at the time of parts of several present counties here in north central Florida. That East Orange County is now called Volusia County. However, the best part of the Williams’ saga is how he revenged himself on the Indians, but not without some consequence. Williams joined a troop of Florida Militia called The Mosquito Roarers, organized to fight the Seminoles and to protect their families and property. At one encounter with the Seminoles, he and his fellow militia found themselves cut off with their backs to the river while retreating to their boats. In a final act of spite, Williams dropped his trousers and exposed his hind end before boarding. A Seminole musket ball found its way, lodging itself into his fleshy seat. It is said he limped slightly for the rest of his life, but always laughed at himself when telling the tale.

1835 tower mosquito artists conception pilh collection (2)
Artist’s conception of the demise of the first Mosquito Inlet Lighthouse in 1836. (Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Preservation Collection)

The 1835 Mosquito Inlet tower was completely washed away by erosion from another storm in April of 1836. The Lighthouse Establishment thought seriously about replacing it, but given the ominous uncertainty of Seminole raiding parties harassing people and plantations all over that part of the Territory, it never happened. It was forty-six years before another lighthouse would be built at that inlet.

When it is all said and done, the 1887 Mosquito Inlet Lighthouse tower was the most beautifully proportioned and well-built of all the tall brick towers. I didn’t expect to serve there, and that’s a story in itself I’ll tell, but I have very good memories of living and working there from December 1, 1893 to September 23, 1905.



Thomas Patrick O’Hagan  (Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Preservation Collection)


Information gathered from Ellen Henry’s soon to be published new history of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse; McCarthy and Trotter, Florida’s Lighthouses, University Presses of Florida, 1990; Taylor, Thomas, Florida’s Territorial Lighthouses 1824-1845, Florida Sesquicentennial Publication 1995; Taylor, Thomas, Florida Lighthouse Trail,2001, Pineapple Press; and Oral Histories given by Helen Sintes to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Preservation Association.


Lighthouse News of the Week

Things are fairly quiet as 2019 dawns on the lighthouse world, but there are some things to report.

In November, we reported that the refurbishing of the first-order Fresnel lens from the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse in California was about to begin. The lens has been on display for years in a glass enclosure in Cambria, CA, next to the Veterans Memorial Building on Main Street.

Under the supervision of Jim Woodward, one of the most respected lampists (Fresnel lens experts) in the United States, the refurbishing of the lens has been completed. Woodward and his team spent about 220 hours on the project, and Woodward spent an extra 16 hours by himself. According to an article on the project, the lens’s prisms now “sparkle like diamonds.”

You can read all about it here.


The Montauk (New York) Historical Society is preparing for two major projects at the Montauk Lighthouse: the rebuilding of a revetment guarding against erosion, and a renovation of the lighthouse tower. Meanwhile, a renovation of the keeper’s quarters is ongoing. The work began after the lighthouse museum, on the ground floor of the keeper’s quarters, closed for the season in October.

U.S. Lighthouse Society tour at Montauk Light Station, 2009

The upstairs apartment hadn’t been renovated since 1962. “We’re going to save everything possible that is historic,” said Joe Gaviola, a Montauk businessman who will be the new resident “keeper” once the work is completed. Margaret Wimski had lived there for 31 years.

Asked whether the building’s fireplaces will be made operational, Mr. Gaviola replied, “George Washington built the lighthouse. Joe Gaviola doesn’t want to be the one that burned it down.”

You can read about the work on the Montauk keeper’s house here.

You can read an article about Joe Gaviola here.


There’s an opening for caretakers at the beautiful East Brother Light Station in California’s San Francisco Bay, which is operated as a bed and breakfast inn. According to a press release:

“The successful candidates will be a couple, one of whom must possess a Coast Guard commercial boat operator’s license. They will operate the five-room inn, serving both dinner and breakfast, as well as providing ferry service for guests and all other tasks from chef to maid. High quality culinary experience and capability will be a critical qualification. The inn is open four days a week, and the island is also available for day use and special events. The new keepers will start in mid-April 2019, allowing two weeks for training.”

East Brother Island Lighthouse, April 2015. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

Over the last couple of years, the innkeepers’ income has been about $130,000, split between the couple. You can read more in this article in the San Francisco Chronicle.


One of the most famous of all lighthouse mysteries is the disappearance in 1900 of three keepers at the Flannan Isles light station in the Outer Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland. That tantalizing true life puzzle has been turned into a new movie called The Vanishing, which shifts the story to 1938 and fills in all the blanks with a story of greed turned to violence. The New York Times calls it a middling good-guys-gone-bad thriller, but it’s certainly of interest to lighthouse buffs.  The lighthouse used in the movie is the Killantringan Lighthouse in Scotland, by the way. You can read the review here.

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U.S. Lighthouse Society News is produced by the U.S. Lighthouse Society to support lighthouse preservation, history, education and research. You can receive these posts via email if you click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button in the right-hand column. Please support this electronic newsletter by joining the U.S. Lighthouse Society if you are not already a member.

If you have items of interest to the lighthouse community and its supporters, please email them to Jeremy at nelights@gmail.com.

Education · Kate's Corner · News

Kate’s Corner #27

Kate Walker here, keeping the light on Robbins Reef.

If I don’t write English too good, you’re probably wondering how I write these blog posts. Voice recognition software. It’s wonderful. I just say what I want to and the computer records it. Then my son Jacob goes through what I’ve said and straightens out my awkward sentences. I rely constantly on Jacob and don’t know what I would do without him. He was also my postman, marketman, and general courier.

Jacob was officially appointed assistant keeper in 1896. He married and brought his bride to Robbins Reef to live, using the second bedroom. When I retired in 1919, Jacob became principal keeper. He was in charge when the Lighthouse Service began experimenting with radio.

The first radio beacons, installed after 1921 to allow navigators to pinpoint their position, must have seemed almost miraculous. Marine radio beacons were non-directional; the signal was sent to the whole horizon. The first signals used were short and distinctive for each station. Sending minutes were alternated and frequencies varied so that signals would not interfere with each other. Ships needed only a simple direction-finder or radio compass to pick up the signals.

Circa 1930s postcard of Highland Lighthouse on Cape Cod with radio beacons. (Collection of Jeremy D’Entremont)

The navigator on the bridge of the transatlantic steamer, when he was 200 miles or so off the coast, began to take radio bearings on Nantucket lightship. For most of the vessels crossing the Atlantic this was the first radio outpost of America. When he picked up the signal four dashes (—-) repeated continuously, he knew he had the lightship, and in a few seconds by rotating the coil first from one side and then from the other, until the signal fades away, he obtained accurately the direction of the Nantucket Beacon. After passing Nantucket safely, the navigator could at once pick up the two dash (- -) radio signal of Fire Island Light ship, and later the continuous dot ( . . . . . . ) signal of Ambrose Lightship, anchored off the entrance to the Ambrose Channel into New York Harbor.

The Ambrose Lightship (WAL-512), now a tourist attraction at the South Street Seaport in New York City, received one of the earliest radio beacons in the U.S. in 1921, greatly assisting navigation of the congested channel in dense fog. Photo by Jeremy D’Entremont.

A vessel equipped with a radio direction-finder could take a bearing on another ship sending radio signals, and thus determine its direction at sea by the same method it would use with the radio beacon on shore. This taking of bearings between ship and ship diminished the risk of collision and fog and it also helped one ship to find another which may be in distress.

Introduction of the radio was an enormous boon to mariners. With the ability to communicate with land and other vessels, mariners could send distress calls and share weather forecasts and notices of moved buoys or defects in aids to navigation. Jacob enjoyed experimenting with his radio beacon.


Information is from Annual Reports of the Light-House Board and George R. Putnam, Sentinel of the Coasts (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1937), pp. 199 – 215.