We had to walk the one half mile to the lighthouse, since driving is restricted to service vehicles or people vacationing there. According to the Mendocino Coast Model Railroad & Historical Society website, a French physicist, Augustin Fresnel invented the lens.
The Fresnel lens’ glass prisms are clustered to appear like one enormous beehive. The hand ground and polished glass prisms were fitted into the frames, so they bend the light into a horizontal beam. Since this type of lens produces more light with less weight, the Fresnel lens has many uses even today.
The lighthouse keeper’s full-time job was to keep the lens’ oil lamps burning brightly, make sure the lens turned smoothly and clean the smoke off the prisms. Today, this function is done electronically with minimum maintenance work involved.
Originally, the fog horn had two steam-driven diaphones that produced a two-tone “bah-rump.” The keeper and his assistants had the tedious job of tending the boilers that produced the steam. The fog horn is no longer needed, but I wonder how the light keeper’s family slept through the noisy bah-rumps.
The children had tinker toys and a rocking whale to play with. I love the whale’s colorful, pink lips!
The job of lighthouse keeper offered low pay, but free room and board for the families living there. If you’ve always wanted to experience a quiet and isolated vacation, you can rent the Head Lighthouse Keepers home at this website: http://www.pointcabrillo.org/Head_Lightkeepers_House.html
This historical museum is a short distance from Fort Bragg, California. If the youngsters in your family aren’t ready for a quiet vacation, I highly recommend visiting the lighthouse just to see this lens operate. It is so unique and amazing to watch, as it silently sends it’s beacon out to sea. Please share where you enjoyed your most unusual vacation.