Light Beacons on Great Race Rock Island

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Originally in 1860, the light installed at Race Rocks was made up of a tall set of crystal prisms (said to be Lalique crystal from France), designed to carry the beam from an oil or gas-light far out to sea. We do not know why this complete cage was removed but you can see in these historic photos that it was replaced with the current cage sometime in the early 1900’s. An interesting adaptation of the Fresnel lens is noted in this article about using it to focus the suns energy in photovoltaic applications:

 

When walking over the cobble areas on the south side beaches at Race Rocks, we often turn up pieces of very thick glass. This one was found in April, 2006.This glass came from the Fresnel lens on the original light installed in 1860, seen here on the right in an artists drawing.

When walking over the cobble areas on the south side beaches at Race Rocks, we often turn up pieces of very thick glass. This one was found in April, 2006.This glass came from the Fresnel lens on the original light installed in 1860, seen here on the right in an artists drawing.

When walking over the cobble areas on the south side beaches at Race Rocks, we often turn up pieces of very thick glass. This one was found in April, 2006.This glass came from the Fresnel lens on the original light installed in 1860, seen here on the right in an artists drawing

In this report of John Langevin, 1872, The light is referrred to as a “second dioptric light.”The Doty burner was used in lighthouses till the end of the nineteenth century. Note this reference from the 1874 session of parliament where the expense of oil for lighthouses on the West Coast is referred to.

Trev Anderson, 2010–(When they arrived at Race Rocks) “All the equipment for the kerosene light was still there including tanks, pump, and 80mm mantles. The huge weight that was used to drive the clockworks was still connected. I believe the A/C power had just been installed at Race Rocks,  as with the station at Lennard Island , and they had turned on the electricity soon after we arrived in 1962. The weight with cable was still used at Lennard Island….(it had to be rewound every two hours…good thing I was ambidextrous) !”

From CCG reference: “These light stations used colza oil with the Argand burner until it was superseded by the introduction of mineral oils. Colza oil had been cheaper than whale oil, but mineral oil was cheaper than both and its use was extended after the development of a multiple wick burner, invented by a Frenchman, Captain Doty, for the consumption of hydro-carbon oils.”

You can get a live close-up look of the lucite-lens light beacon above currently operating at Race Rocks by going to the remote control camera 5 .

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Click on this  QuickTime slideshow , made on a foggy evening of July 1 2006. Images were taken from the remote camera 5.
GF Photos.