Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Lighthouse Blunders

Do you notice anything unusual about the card above? If you know a little about lighthouses, then you'll quickly see the lighthouse pictured is not on Cape Cod; rather, it's Portland Head Lighthouse in Maine. This is typical of the blunders made by advertisers, giftware makers, and public affairs people when it comes to images of lighthouses.

If they only knew how "bright" we lighthouse folks are, they'd be more careful in choosing what they print or make!

Here's a lighthouse blunder on a souvenir plate from Bermuda. There isn't a lighthouse in the Bermuda Islands that looks like this one. Giftware companies are so enamored of that Cape Hatteras, North Carolina look! I have to admit, it is prettier than the plain white Gibbs Hill Lighthouse in Bermuda. But St. Davids Lighthouse, Bermuda is quite fetching, with its red and white bands. I think I would have featured that one.

This one is downright amusing. The Nubble Light at Cape Neddick, Maine is one of the most famous lighthouses in the United States and a favorite with photographers. You'd think the Hassan Cigarette Company could have gotten it right in 1910 when they made a set of collectors' card for cigarette packs. Compare the card with the snowy image below it, and you'll wonder how the artist came up with such a rendering.
The postcard printer who made the c1900 card of St. Augustine Lighthouse below was a bit off-color, no pun intended. The spiral stripes should be black and white, not brown-red and white. And the lantern should be bright red. I also believe the proper name is St. Augustine Lighthouse, not Anastasia Lighthouse (Anastasia Island is where it stands), but now I'm nitpicking.
These campaign buttons for George Bush feature Portland Head Lighthouse, Maine--a popular image, despite the victory city of Austin, Texas and three counties in Ohio printed on the buttons. Both Texas and Ohio have plenty of lighthouses of their own.
The postcard below, touting a good time on Martha's Vineyard, features the iconic shark of the "Jaws" movies....and a red and white spiral striped lighthouses. I've seen lighthouses kind of like this one in the Netherlands and also in Lake Michigan....kinda. There's no lighthouse like this anywhere on Martha's Vineyard. Hmmmm.


I know of no lighthouse in New York that looks like the one pictured below. It's a little like Fire Island Lighthouse on Long Island, without black and white bands and standing in the sea, not on land. I think someone at this postcard company needed a quick reference and used an image of England's Eddystone Lighthouse.

And then there are Hollywood lighthouse images! Check out the three lighthouses used for posters of the movie "Captain January," starring the late Shirley Temple. The Captain, played by Guy Kibbee, must have had frequent transfers with the lighthouse service. He started at a generic lighthouse modeled after Minot's Ledge, then moved to the West Coast to Old Point Loma Lighthouse in California, and finally, he was transferred to Portland Head Lighthouse, Maine. So which one did little Star visit? All three? (I have an original copy of the 1890 book Captain January by Laura E. Richards, and she says he was keeper of Light Island Lighthouse in Maine. It's a fictional lighthouse Down East.)

A final faux pas I'll share goes to the Canadian postal service. In 2008 they produced a stamp featuring Pachena Point Lighthouse on Vancouver Island. When Canadian lighthouse fans and the Pachena Point lightkeepers saw it, they gasped. The lighthouse scene was backwards! Below you see the original stamp on the left. The orientation of the tower and house is correct on the right. I'm told a red-faced Canadian postal service artist quickly fixed the error, and the stamps were reprinted. But....if you happened to have purchased some of the original Pachena Point Lighthouse stamps, with the scene shown backwards, they're worth some money!


Do you have any lighthouse blunders to share?

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