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Helping to Restore "The Lost Lens" of Hatteras

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Postby vacastle » Mon Mar 14, 2005 5:41 pm


I've had the privilege and great opportunity of working with this team of expert lampists all last week...
http://www.lighthouseconsultant.com/index.htm
You'll see an article in the current Lighthouse Digest about the lens at Point Reyes that this team restored.

They have been hired to restore and re-assemble the 1854 Henry Lepaute 1st Order Fresnel lens that once rested atop the 1803 Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. This lens is the subject of the book, "The Lost
Lens" by Kevin Duffus,
http://www.lookingglassproductions.org/id11.html
Last week a team from the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society helped label and pack all the parts in a NPS warehouse in Manteo,NC, and then spent 3 1/2 days with the lampists at the Graveyard of the Atlantic
Museum, beginning the restoration efforts.

Our OBLHS team will work with the lampists for two more weeks, and then the lens is scheduled to be assembled in the lobby of the museum the last week of March. From the ground, counting the platform, it
will reach approx. 21 feet high.

There are a lot of pieces missing from this lens, including most of the bull's eye, but there is enough to re-build it and have it structurally sound. It will be the first time the public has seen one reconstructed in this condition, rather than making new parts to fill in. The purpose is to show the actual huge destruction of most of these magnificent lenses that the public has never seen before.

The last week is also open to the public, so if anyone of you are on the Outer Banks then, do schedule time to stop by.

Other OBLHS members who are also Lighthousing.net members are also part of this team...Shirin, Bett Padgett and Beth (COTA).

We have photos from last week that I will try to get posted tomorrow, and we plan to document the on-going process.

Wow! What a week, and so much was learned from these talented lampists.

Judy :D
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Postby Hersh » Mon Mar 14, 2005 7:46 pm


After reading Kevin's great book, I'd love to see this lens in person. After the amazing journey it had, we're lucky to have any of it at all. What a great effort it must have taken to get this done, so this treasure isn't lost forever.

For anyone who hasn't read the book, I definitely recommend it, it will add a whole new level of appreciatin for this piece of history.
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Postby Pharoslvr » Mon Mar 14, 2005 8:25 pm


Definitely a "once in a lifetime opportunity" for you guys! How does it feel to be a part of history, assisting on that grand ole lens? I look forward to seeing those photos! :)

Brent
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Postby vacastle » Tue Mar 15, 2005 1:11 am


It was a tremendous feeling of AWE for each one of us. Just to walk into that warehouse and actually see the pieces stacked on this shelving was breathtaking.

The lampists instructed us exactly how to handle each piece. The prisms for the most part are in very bad shape with ragged edges. Everything was catalogued as it left the warehouse and catalogued again as it was received at the museum. It traveled the distance from Manteo to Hatteras Village by way of a U-Haul-It with huge mushrooms painted on the side of the truck...a pretty strange sight.

On Tuesday afternoon, a freak storm blew through North Carolina, leaving the warehouse in total darkness for hours. We continued to work with a few flashlights, including one of the keychain variety!

Kevin Duffus filmed much of the work last week and will continue to do so, with plans to make a documentary. He instructed us to pretend the camera wasn't there and even to not look at it. This worked perfectly fine most of the time, until he would stick it right in your face and ask you to express your feelings at the moment! Then, your tongue felt like it had weights tied to it. :roll:

Another phenomenon of modern times occurred when the guys went shopping for bubble wrap. None was to be found on the Outer Banks, so they decided it was going to require a trip into Norfolk, VA. For those of you who are not familiar with the Outer Banks, there is a fairly new Home Depot as well as major office type stores and a UPS shipping store, but none had ENOUGH! Along the way to Norfolk, they saw a small "mom & pop" type shipping store, and thought they might as well try it. It was there that they were able to purchase several huge rolls of bubblewrap. They cleaned the store out of their supply, and "mom & pop" have a neat story to tell...and tell...and tell! :wink:

Btw, there were some mighty interesting artifacts, some from the Kinnekeet Lifesaving Station stored in that warehouse.

Oh, and did you know that no two 1st Fresnels are exactly alike, and that these trained lampists can identify what lighthouse they and the separate parts came from?

Judy
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Postby kinnakeet » Tue Mar 15, 2005 5:47 am


Judy,
My Grandfather was chief yeomen at Little Kinnakeet. I'd love to know what type of artifacts you found there.
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Postby shirin » Tue Mar 15, 2005 7:14 am


Awesome, awesome, awesome Judy! I'm counting the days till I leave already! This weekend cannot come soon enough!

I'm ready to see some photos now!
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Postby plebetkin » Tue Mar 15, 2005 10:14 am


a liftime dream come true. Thanks for sharing it with us!
good friends mean good times
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Postby COTA » Tue Mar 15, 2005 6:07 pm


Argh! I just typed quite a bit and it's gone! :evil: :twisted:
<img src="images/SmallOBLHSlogo.jpg"><br>Please Visit the New Web Site of OBLHS!<br><a href="http://www.outerbankslighthousesociety.org/">http://www.outerbankslighthousesociety.org
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Postby beachbum1616 » Tue Mar 15, 2005 8:11 pm


What a great opportunity!
Stephen

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Postby vacastle » Sun Mar 20, 2005 9:34 pm


The lens restoration is beginning to make the newspapers. This appeared today in the Virginia Pilot, written by Catherine Kosak....

http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=83791&ran=125699

Judy
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Postby Pharoslvr » Mon Mar 21, 2005 9:10 am


A nice story! Everybody involved should be extremely proud of playing such a part in the history of that lens! :)

Brent

(it would have been nice if they had mentioned some of our own Lh.net members in the article)
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Postby vacastle » Mon Mar 21, 2005 9:50 am


Yes, it would have been nice, and even better if they had mentioned OBLHS's involvement period.

But the twins are also members of OBLHS.

Oh well, that was just the first of a lot media we will see, and it did give a really good description of the restoration process and also the condition of this lens. The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum will be making sure there is a lot of publicity.

Judy
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Postby Terry_Pepper » Mon Mar 21, 2005 1:44 pm


For anyone who has not taken the time to visit Woody's website at www.lighthouseconsultant.com , I highly recommend you surf on over and check it out - NOT because I created the site with him, but because of the incredible story of his dedication and incredible experience it tells.

As someone who apprenticed with one of the last of the Lighthouse Service Lampists, Jim is truly unique, and as such is a living national treasure.
Last edited by Terry_Pepper on Mon Mar 21, 2005 9:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Pharoslvr » Mon Mar 21, 2005 4:01 pm


I agree! For anyone who's followed his work, he's actually become a kind of a legend!

Brent
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Postby vacastle » Mon Mar 21, 2005 5:00 pm


He's also a pretty neat guy to spend a week with. Woody is a neat guy, and a terrific boss! Not to mention all the neat tidbits I learned from him.

Judy :D
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