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What is this technical item

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Postby Optics » Sat May 07, 2005 7:17 am


This 'thing' is used in every lighthouse - although they don't all look like this one. What is it?

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Postby island » Sat May 07, 2005 10:02 am


To get the ball rolling here and to get some ideas from others, I am going to begin with an "off the wall" guess.

This “thing” looks somewhat like a pulley wheel but more so like an insert of some type. So what would be an insert common to every lighthouses? The only item I can think of is a lantern ventilator, of the type for the purpose to allow outside air to enter the around the circumference of the lantern. Not all lantern ventillators were round shaped like the "thing" in question.
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Postby Optics » Sat May 07, 2005 2:02 pm


Island,

You are just too good at your guessing! Yes it is a lantern vent. This kind is used extensively in Scotland and elsewhere. You turn the knob (figure head in this case) and it controls the amount of air allowed to enter through the side wall of the lantern. The photo below shows such a vent from the side and you can see the vent hole and how it would close slowly as the knob is turned. The inner tube only has an opening on one half, so as the outer tube turns it progressively closes the opening.

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Postby island » Sat May 07, 2005 2:44 pm


I am familar with lantern vents, rectangular and round, but I have not before seen anything like this design for real or in photographs. This one looks like it would be very effective but that fluted end piece in the second photo would not be appreciated by a lightkeeper who would have to had have kept it polished. :)
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Postby Fred » Sat May 07, 2005 3:09 pm


The second ventilator shown is the same as those at Point of Ayre,we tended to give a quick wipe with Brasso and then shine,for special occasions we might have used a "Brass" brush to clean between the flutes.

"Brass" brush--A bit of a misnomer since the bristles were hair or synthetic,not made of brass--named after its use?
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Postby Terry_Pepper » Sat May 07, 2005 3:21 pm


David,

Clearly, the USLHE was no more concerned about the polishing sensitivity of our light keepers than the Scotts, since the standard inner vents in our lighthouses were also of brass, albeit a little more utilitarian in appearance than that beautiful Scottish handiwork.

However, I am sure your grandfather spent more than a few "enjoyable" hours applying liberal quantities of elbow grease in order to keep them in "inspection ready" condition :D

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Postby island » Sat May 07, 2005 4:17 pm


Much like Tom Sawyer and the fence painting story, my grandfather allowed me the privilege to polish brass at an early age. This privilege came about from my earlier compulsion to put my hands on his brightly shined brass.

In later years during the Coast Guard era there was apparently a severe shortage of brass polish so they were "forced" to substitute paint for polish wherever possible. You see, my father allowed me the privilege to apply paint at a number of CG lifeboat stations and the Rockland Breakwater light station so I must now confess that I am responsible for some of the brass disappearing.
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Postby mikev » Sat May 07, 2005 5:44 pm


OK, so I'm just checking this forum after a full day of work at the Buffalo lighthouse that included pulling the thickly painted ventilator plates off the ventilator assemblies (well, two of them anyway, the rest went missing years ago). And I'm guessing that somewhere beneath all the black paint there's brass. So how do I get the paint off without damaging that? A bath of chemical stripper? Elbow grease?

:?:
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Postby island » Sat May 07, 2005 6:19 pm


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Postby mikev » Mon May 09, 2005 7:33 am


Thanks, David. Good brass-care site. I think step one will be a careful and very small scratch through the paint on the reverse side to see if there really is brass there.
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Postby island » Mon May 09, 2005 8:16 am


A magnet would tell you that it is non-ferous metal and probably brass if it is sufficiently heavy. If brass plated it would be magnetic.
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