Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Little Lighthouse Minutia

Minutia--I love that word. It pretty much describes the inside of my brain and my house. How many of you collect lighthouse minutia? Mugs, patches, pillows,  picture frames, magnets, candles, t-shirts, wind chimes, and more. I have SO MUCH lighthouse minutia. You'll find it all over the internet too, especially on eBay. So, I thought I'd share some of it here. Please share yours too! Tell me what secret, somewhat-useless baubles you have in your lighthouse collection!

Got any Cape Neddick "Nubble" chapstick? Yes, you can get almost anything with the Nubble on it, especially at the gift shop at the viewing area for the lighthouse. I wonder if this is specially made for the effects of the raw sea air?
Have you got a cigar box label? Not many cigars are found in households these days, but my older cousin, Duke, always smoked them. He gave me a cigar box to cover and decorate as my first pencil box used in school. Many cigar boxes feature lighthouses. This is an old one I found on eBay showing El Moro Lighthouse.

And while we're on the subject of labels, there are many products that feature lighthouses. Here's Sea Watch Clam Chowder. I can attest that as canned chowders go, it's not bad!

Lighthouse topiary, anyone? This is an old photo, from about 1987, of a topiary boxwood at the Lewes, Delaware ferry terminal. It's probably gone now, but it sure caught my eye.

I wish I had one of these! This is a lighthouse-style ukulele in the collection of the Maine Lighthouse Museum. I just took this photo last Saturday when I was at the museum to give a talk. I had never seen one of these before.

This is a lighthouse shaped Tangram Puzzle. Tangrams are shapes made from seven geometric pieces. They will make everything from a perfect square to animals, people, and more. I had sets of these for my students in elementary school. They not only make geometry fun but also help develop spacial thinking, creativity,  and problem-solving.

This is a giant lighthouse made of apples! It was supposed to be Eddystone Light. The postcard says that it was featured at an apple show in August 1913. Amazing!

I have scads of patches in my collection of lighthouse minutia. This one used to be worn by the Biloxi Police Dept. I'm not sure if they still sport a lighthouse patch on their uniforms. Maybe someone reading this blog knows. And by the way, the lighthouse shown doesn't look much like Biloxi Lighthouse. It's the thought that counts, I suppose.

This mean-looking lion is actually a rain-spout on the cupola of Old Point Loma Lighthouse, California. As you can see, it was sunny the day I snapped this photo, so I didn't get to see him spitting rain. A number of lighthouses have ornate rain-spouts. Sandy Hook Light in NJ, for example, has gargoyles.

I've photographed a number of drive-thru coffee stands in the shape of a lighthouse. This one at Manchester, WA is a really cute one. When I lived in WA, I usually stopped here on my way to Vashon Island to see my daughter. Coffee was kept on the stove at all lighthouses during the years they were tended by lightkeepers. It was an important drink if someone was chilled or if visitors stopped by, and it kept watchmen awake in the night.

Palo Duro Canyon in Texas has one of nature's lighthouses--a rock worn away by wind and rain until it looks like a lighthouse. I'd say it resembles Coquille River Lighthouse in Oregon. Someday, before too much weathering destroys it (or vandals!), I want to see it.

Sweet! A hand-crafted lighthouse birdhouse I found in Nova Scotia, Canada.

I dearly wish I owned one of these. It's an antique Lighthouse Clock from the late nineteenth century. Lighthouses were as much loved then as now, but perhaps for different reasons. Today, they are fascinations, but back then they were true symbols of rescue and salvation. This is such a Victorian fancy, but a useful one. I could see this is the parlor of a well-to-do family.

The Coast Guard gave me this funny photo. Someone in the 13th District Public Affairs office got creative with a real photo of a helicopter getting ready to land on top of Mile Rocks Light in San Francisco Bay. The caisson once had a telescoping light tower on it, but it was removed and the beacon was put on a post on the remaining platform. It was the perfect spot for a seagull to nest, the PR staff thought...but this mama bird is gigantic!

My longtime friend and penpal, Klaus Huelse of Germany, sent me this postcard of a French lighthouse. The fog here must have been horrendous! Check out the four-trumpet setup. It makes the lighthouse look a little like a windmill. Ah, those French lighthouse engineers were clever!

This cute little gadget is a pillar sundial. You can see the sun marks on its sides and the hours on the bottom. It was designed to take along on trips in order to get the time while traveling, or anywhere for that matter. It's old, possibly from the 1600s. This was made long before wrist watches or even pocket watches. Probably only the wealthy would have owned such a trinket. People of that day seldom traveled far from home, unless they were explorers or on a crusade, so the sundial would work most places they went. (Sundials must be made to correspond to latitude, so if you traveled far north or south of your home, this one wouldn't work.) I think it's neat that it was made in the shape of a lighthouse--a symbol of guidance.
Finally, in this lineup of lighthouse minutia, is a curious image from Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Can you guess what this shows? If you visit lighthouses regularly, then you know these are deck prisms. Each small circle of light is a prism, mounted in a circular disk that sits in the floor of the lantern room. The prisms bring light down into the lower part of the tower--cheaper than installing lots of windows in the tower. Since prisms can bend and concentrate light, they not only work well in a lighthouse lens but also for adding light to darker floors below the lantern. Each prism is about the size of a walnut. You can also see the base of the base of the lens in the upper part of the picture. Why not just install electric lights? This lighthouse was built in the 1870s, before electric lighting came to lighthouses...or other places.
I hope you enjoyed this trip into the land of lighthouse minutia! I have many more peculiar collectibles...but I must save some for a future blog. Do leave comments and tell me which of these items is your favorite and why, and also tell what kind of odd items are in your collection.

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