Lighthouse Terms

ARGAND LAMP - A hollow wick oil lamp (see wick).

ASSISTANT KEEPER - Assists the head keeper in the operation of the lighthouse.

ASTRAGAL - Metal bar (running vertically or diagonally) dividing the lantern room glass into sections.

BALL VENT - A vent on top of the dome to control airflow.

BRASS VENT - A vent in the lens room for controlling air flow to the wick of the lamp.

BULL'S-EYE - A convex lens used to concentrate (refract) light.

CATWALK - On a lighthouse tower, a walkway located outside the lantern room.

BALCONY - watch room and/or the lantern room.

CHARACTERISTIC - Individual flashing pattern of each light.

DAYMARK - Unique color scheme or design which identifies a specific lighthouse during daylight hours.

DISPERSE - Spread out.

DOME or CUPOLA - Rounded roof on top of some lighthouse towers.

FIXED LIGHT - A steady non-flashing beam.

FOCAL PLANE - A plane where rays of light appear to spread after refraction and reflection in a lens.

FOG SIGNAL - A device (such as a whistle, bell, cannon, horn, siren, etc.) which provides a specific loud noise as an aid to navigation in dense fog.

FOG SIGNALBUILDING - Building that houses the fog equipment.

FRESNEL LENS - A type of optic consisting of a convex lens and many prisms of glass, which focus and intensify the light through reflection and refraction.

FUEL - A material that is burned to produce light (fuels used for lighthouses included wood, lard, whale oil, tallow, and kerosene).

HEAD KEEPER - Person who takes care of the light in the lighthouse and is responsible for the operation of a light station.

KEEPER'S QUARTERS - Place where the keepers live.

LAMP - The lighting apparatus inside a lens.

LANTERN ROOM - Glassed-in housing at the top of a lighthouse tower, containing the lamp and lens.

LENS - A curved piece of glass for bringing together or spreading rays of light passing through it.

LIGHTNING ROD - A grounded, metal rod placed on a high structure to prevent damage by conducting lightning to the ground.

LIGHTHOUSE - A lighted beacon of major importance in navigation.

LIGHT STATION - A complex containing the lighthouse tower and all of the outbuildings, i.e. the keeper's living quarters, fuel house, boathouse, fog-signal building, etc.

LOG - A book for maintaining records, similar to a diary.

NAVIGATION - The charting of a course for a ship or aircraft.

ORDER - Size of the Fresnel lens, which determines the brightness and distance the light will travel. The size or order of the lens ranges from 1 to 6, with 1 being the largest and 6 being the smallest.

PHAROLOGIST - One who studies lighthouses.

REFLECT - Bend or throw backlight.

REFRACT - To deflect (or bend) light from a straight path.

REVOLVING LIGHT/ROTATING LENS - One, which produces a flash or characteristic.

SPIDER LAMP - Shallow brass pan containing oil and several wicks.

TOWER - Structure supporting the lantern room of the lighthouse.

WATCH ROOM - A room immediately below the lantern room

SERVICE ROOM - where fuel and other supplies were kept. This is where the keeper prepared the lanterns for the night and often stood watch. The clockworks (for rotating lenses) were also located there.

WICK SOLID - A solid cord, used in spider lamps, that draws fuel up to the flame.

"WICKIE" - A nickname given to lighthouse keepers derived from the task of trimming the wick of the lamps.

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Huntington Lighthouse
PO Box 2454
Halesite, NY 11743

Phone: 631-421-1985

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