Interesting lighthouse stories

  • Owls Head Lighthouse – considered most haunted lighthouse. There are said to be at least two ghosts at the lighthouse. One is known as the “Little Lady” and is most frequently found in the kitchen or looking out a window. Doors slam, silverware rattles, but people say her presence brings a feeling of peace. The other is thought to be a keeper from beyond the grave. Rockland ME

What’s the problem?

Ladies Delight – Land-locked on Lake Cobbosseecontee, located just a few miles west of Augusta, Maine’s capital, the lighthouse was built in 1908. The lighthouse is located on an early steamer route that took passengers to parks along the lake shore. As there was no restroom on board, the steamer would call at a small island, about a mile south of Island Park, where the ladies could make a comfort stop. Later, the lighthose was built here as an aid to navigation. According to local legend, this is why the islet is known as Ladies Delight. Augusta ME

After nearly 100 years of operation, the Ladies Delight lighthouse needed repair.

  • Ask – What materials are now available that could be used in restoring the lighthouse structure? How could the structure be protected from the weather?
  • Imagine – Aluminum and stainless steel are frequently used in structures that were previously build from wood. The metal underbodies of trucks are exposed to much harsher conditions than lighhouses. Materials and coatings used for trucks are suitable for lighthouses.
  • Design, Build – In 2005, welder Mark Newcomb fabricated a new lantern room for the lighthouse using marine grade aluminum to replace a wooden one that had been in service for about fifteen years. The aluminum lantern room was anchored to the tower by stainless steel rods and given a protective coating used in truck beds.
  • Improve – Kerosene lanterns served as the tower’s original light source, with a volunteer from the yacht club visiting the island each evening to service the light. For a period in the 1930s, a wind-powered generator ran an electric light in the lantern room. The lighthouse now receives its power from a submarine cable.

That’s engineering

  • marine grade aluminum – magnesium as its major alloy, which adds to the durability and corrosion-resistance
  • protective coating – polyurethane, epoxy, vinyl ester, neoprene, or polyurea coating for protection against corrosion, abrasion resistance, waterproof, chemical resistant

Engineering ideas

  • anchor, submarine, cable, restoration, protective coating, aluminum, stainless steel, welding

Do It
Challenges for you to work on…

  • explore lighthouse structures and construction materials and methods. There are thousands of different lighthouse designs depending on the location, visibility requirements and materials available.

Learn more…