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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Port Huron in Saint Clair County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Seeing the Light

 
 
Seeing the Light Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 5, 2014
1. Seeing the Light Marker
Inscription.

Evolution of Lighting the Way
It has long been documented that the first shoreline lights were wood burning fires set on hillsides. Later, these wood fires were moved to the top of man-made towers. Wood however proved to be inefficient, as it would burn rapidly, being very difficult to maintain. Candles offered a cleaner and less labor intensive solution, but were not as bright. The introduction of the oil lamp revolutionized lighthouse technology. The oil based lamps would be used well into the 20th century. Electricity would ultimately lead to automated lights, and the end for the need of a full time light keeper.

Lewis Lamp
In 1810, American Winslow Lewis patented an adaptation of the Argand lamp for use in the United States. Lewis increased the light by hanging many lamps together in chandeliers which could be rotated to provide a flashing light. By 1820 all 49 United States lighthouses were outfitted with Lewis Lamps.

Fresnel Lens
French physicist Augustin-Jean Fresnel developed a lens which surrounded a single lamp. A series of glass prisms would reflect and refract the light into a single beam, allowing it to be seen from greater distances. In the 1850's, the Lighthouse Service decided to use the new technology in all its lighthouses.

Fuels
When
Fort Gratiot Lighthouse and Markers image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 5, 2014
2. Fort Gratiot Lighthouse and Markers
oil lamps were introduced, whale oil was the fuel used in almost all lighthouses. Its demand however, led to higher costs, and the search for cheaper alternative. Various oils were tested, and lard oil proved to be the most economical and became the most utilized. Lard oil however did not burn cleanly, and would soon be replaced by the cleaner burning mineral oil (kerosene). Mineral oil would be used until the introduction of electric lights.
 
Erected by Port Huron Museum, Saint Clair County, Michigan Dept of Environmental Quality, and NOAA.
 
Location. 43° 0.4′ N, 82° 25.347′ W. Marker is in Port Huron, Michigan, in Saint Clair County. Touch for map. Marker is about 125 feet north of the lighthouse at Fort Gratiot Light Station County Park, where Lake Huron empties into the St. Clair River. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2800 Omar Street, Port Huron MI 48060, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fort Gratiot Light (here, next to this marker); The Storm (here, next to this marker); Learning from Lake Huron (here, next to this marker); Sending a Signal (here, next to this marker); Keepers Duties
Fort Gratiot Lighthouse image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., July 5, 2014
3. Fort Gratiot Lighthouse
(here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Fort Gratiot Light (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fort Saint Joseph (approx. 0.4 miles away); Great Storm of 1913 and Sailors Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Port Huron.
 
Also see . . .
1. Fort Gratiot Light Station County Park. (Submitted on August 8, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. (Submitted on August 8, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. The incredible Fresnel lens: A brief history and technical explanation. (Submitted on August 8, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. USCG Guidelines for the Care of Fresnel Lenses. (Submitted on August 8, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. CommunicationsMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 8, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 179 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 8, 2014, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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