Coast Guard may remove fairgrounds' l...

Coast Guard may remove fairgrounds' lighthouse lens

There are 20 comments on the Eureka Times Standard story from Jun 22, 2008, titled Coast Guard may remove fairgrounds' lighthouse lens. In it, Eureka Times Standard reports that:

U.S. Coast Guard inspectors will be at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds Monday morning to examine the condition of the lens housed in the Cape Mendocino Lighthouse replica at the front gate.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Eureka Times Standard.


Hayward, CA

#1 Jun 22, 2008
Short version: Ferndale correctly foresaw the value of this lens, now valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and wants it back for itself before some drunken local yokel kills it with shotgun slug after be frightened in seeing his own image in it.

Miranda, CA

#3 Jun 22, 2008
I've been to the Fair many times and never really looked at the lighthouse. If the lens is as precious as reported, it should be safely stored.

Mountain View, CA

#4 Jun 22, 2008
The Lives that this lens has saved here... Key word, 'HERE' .

Palo Cedro, CA

#5 Jun 22, 2008
I think the mention of someone willing to pay cash for it is the big deal. If they take it Ferndale should charge them for safety and storage. 60 years worth, with interest.
RUGER 10_22

Crescent City, CA

#7 Jun 22, 2008
well....the lens were safe, but now that every one has let the cat out of the bag as to how much they are worth you can pretty well bet they are gone now.
one way or the other they will be moved either by theft or some do gooder who thinks he knows best. they been there for 60 years and no one paid much attention to them but now that the world knows there value you can bet every low life for miles around will come and take a look.......every one should of kept this quite at least till they were safe. good luck to the lighthouse cause it will need all the luck it can get now...

Sonora, CA

#8 Jun 22, 2008
Now that the lens have value, the govt wants it back. Meanwhile, some knuckledragger will read the TS article and damage or steal it. Nice going all around.
Cecil Jo

United States

#9 Jun 22, 2008
It's not exactly easy to carry off. Heavy as bricks. What exactly is a thief going to do with it anyway? It is not the Hope Diamond.
Wasthington DC Robbers

United States

#10 Jun 22, 2008
Great. Take the lens back to Washington D.C. to be hoarded by the curators. Now do you understand why our government is so screwed up? Don't expect Thompson to step in and offer any assistance in this matter.

Fremont, CA

#11 Jun 22, 2008
or your plan, leave it to society and watch it be destroyed
Bernard Fokke

Newark, CA

#12 Jun 22, 2008
"The Shining Eye of the Lighthouse"
America's first lighthouse used a system of silvered reflectors to intensify the main light source, a whale-oil lamp. But, by the 1850's, the government authorized use of a technology new to U.S.: the glorious, multiprismed lens invented in France by Augustin Fresnel (pronounced Fray-nell) in 1822.
It was a marvel....a complex array of dazzling glass prisms and bull's-eye lens mounted in a gleaming brass framework. Each lens cost $12,000 at the time plus shipping costs from France.
The Fresnel lens was much more efficient at collecting and directing the light rays and produced a beam five times more powerful than the reflector system used previously. But, to take maximum advantage of the higher light intensity, the light had to be placed high enough to compensate for the curvature of the earth. When mounted at 100 feet above sea-level, it had a visible range of up to 18 miles at sea.
The new lenses were ranked in six sizes called orders. The weakest, ranked sixth, was used in lights on lakes and in harbors while the largest, first-order lenses were used in lighthouses on fogbound coasts. A first-order lens, made up of over 1000 prisms, stood up to 10 to 12 feet tall and measured 6 feet in girth and could weigh up to 3 tons. Many lighthouses have their original Fresnel lenses in place though many are now unused having been replaced by aero-marine beacons. Many of these beautiful lenses have been removed from the lighthouses and placed in museums and other display areas where the public can view and appreciate the workmanship that went into them. Others, unfortunately, have been vandalized when the lighthouses were abandoned and left unguarded.
Light source for the early lens was a lamp made up of up to 5 concentric wicks and fueled originally by sperm oil or lard then kerosene and, finally, replaced by the incandescent lamp. The Fresnel prisms could focus the rays of such a lamp into a beam of 80,000 candlepower. By the 1930's, most of the lamps had been replaced with Incandescent bulbs as the light source which brought beam intensity to as high as 4.5 million candlepower.
Some lights employ a fixed or stationary lens projecting a steady, uninterrupted beam of light in all directions. Others show a set of flash-and-eclipse (dark) intervals called the "light characteristic" (Figure 2) with the repetition rate of the intervals called the period. When viewing a lighthouse you can determine its period by timing the flash and eclipse which continuously repeat at 5 to 15 second intervals. Each light in an area has a unique characteristic and mariners distinguish one light from another by checking its period on a chart called a 'Light List'.
To create the flash pattern, multiple lens panels were mounted around the cirumference of the Fresnel lens assembly which was mounted on wheels on a circular track or floated in container of mercury, reducing rotational friction to a minimum, and rotated at a precise rate controlled by a clockwork mechanism. In this way, even a 6000 pound assembly could be rotated with the touch of a finger. The clockwork drive, powered by a weight which often traveled the interior height of the tower, was wound by hand using a crank in the lanternroom. The weight required winding as often as every 4 hours which meant the keeper had to make the trip to the lantern room several times each night.
The characteristic of the light was determined by the number of lens panels, their placement around the Frenel lens assembly, and the speed at which it was rotated.
Figure 3
Figure 3 shows graphically how the Fresnel lens works. To bend and focus the rays to form a single, concentrated beam of high intensity light, the catadioptric prisms refract* and reflect; the dioptric prisms and center bull's eye lens refract. With just a 1000 watt bulb, a first-order Fresnel lens can generate a 680,000 candlepower beam visible up to 21 miles out to sea if set high enough.

Eureka, CA

#13 Jun 22, 2008
Guess it's too good for the likes of us. Nope, it's been just FINE for 60 years, but now it has to be rescued from the low life hillbillies out here. Those fancy folks in Washington or Sacramento or wherever didn't give a damn for 60 years, but now that it's worth MONEY to someone, well, it has to be RESCUED!

Palo Cedro, CA

#15 Jun 22, 2008
How does "everyone" benefit from having the lens in that swamp back east. Nothing good, OK not regularly, comes from DC.
Doug Welch

Sacramento, CA

#16 Jun 22, 2008
The Goobers who run the fair in Ferndale should be well warned: When the state takes the two bit horse racing away, then nobody is going to be going to cow pie city to see this sorry excuse for a fair. A collegue of mine who worked for a large California fair board came to the northcoast and worked for the Ferndale group for a while. This person told me that the Ferndale board had been given numerous suggestions on how to improve the fair, including working on ways to get major entertainment acts to come in and perform. The board had no interest, preferring instead to rely on horse racing revenue and booking garbage local acts like the Kitchenaires and local bands (bad ones, at that) because it was cheaper and required less work. Titus and his group are lazy, typical inbred Ferndale types who don't realize that there is a different world once you cross the river. The Coast Guard should take the lens away; the Goobers don't know how to care for it.

Sonora, CA

#17 Jun 22, 2008
For those interested, Bernard's copyright infringement is from this article:

Copyright 1997- 2000, Pete Amass. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the content of these pages by any means, physical or electronic, in part or in full, without the expressed permission of the Author, is strictly prohibited. Do not hotlink to pages or images on this site without the permission of the Author. Images on this site are NOT royalty free and must not be downloaded and/or displayed on any other web site without entering into a royalty agreement with the Author.

Sonora, CA

#18 Jun 22, 2008
Sorry Doug, but my family has never traveled from Trinidad to Ferndale to see the archaic form of entertainment known as horse racing. We go for the fun. Maybe you missed it. The fun can be found in all the things you pass on the way to the horse track. I didn't even know there was horse racing at the fair, and we typically spend two full days there.
Dean the Machine

San Diego, CA

#19 Jun 22, 2008
Any chance that Attorney Jorgenson wantrs the Lens? He can afford it, and may have an "in" with the Coast Guard "Curator". I would also warn the Kinetic Sculpture Race that Jorgenson and his "clients " are a general danger to anything good in Humboldt County.
Parents AFK

Arcata, CA

#20 Jun 22, 2008
Wasthington DC Robbers wrote:
Great. Take the lens back to Washington D.C. to be hoarded by the curators. Now do you understand why our government is so screwed up? Don't expect Thompson to step in and offer any assistance in this matter.
Take it back to washington dc and aim it at the WHITE HOUSE, maybe they will get a bigger picture of all the BS that place stands for now!
Tom Tom

Mckinleyville, CA

#21 Jun 22, 2008
I wonder if the gang at Shelter Cove are behind this theft. Didn't the Coast Guard recently give them what was left of the Cape Mendocino Light House over the wishes of Humbuoldt Bay area including the Maritime Museum...
EkA NaTiVe

Eugene, OR

#22 Jun 22, 2008
the coast gaurd is not the problem here,i say sell the damn thing and use the money to clean up eureka, what a nasty drug infested town, i am not raising my kids there. they've got a much nicer town to live in

Weed, CA

#23 May 27, 2013
The lens is not even close to the ocean in Ferndale. I would like to know what kind of maritime history this town has. The lens before 1948 was located in the Cape Mendocino Lighthouse (Shelter Cove) which does have maritime history. Ferndale is no where near the ocean. It is a small town situated about 25 miles from the sea. No boats could even see it shining and if a boat did it would be run a ground.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

US Coast Guard Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
Coast Guard Basic Training (Jul '08) Mon Abraham martinez 17
News DHS chief says arresting parents may quell huma... Jul '17 Palin s Turkey Th... 9
News California rescuers free humpback snagged by fi... Jul '17 anonymous 1
News Coast Guard: Arrests of migrants with criminal ... Jul '17 anonymous 1
News Coast Guard along Great Lakes seeing increase i... Jul '17 Another Thought 1
News Coast Guard ship will linger in century-old wat... Jun '17 Cordwainer Trout 4
Coast Guard? May '17 Daniel1120 1
More from around the web