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Historic Societies/Equipment Manufacturers
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Wherever possible pictures are also included.

 AGA

    (Click on either picture to obtain  a closer insight to this manufacturer)

Known as the Gasaccumulator Company

Established by Gustave Dalen in 1907

Main basis of this company was to utilize acetylene as a means of illumination. Although this idea was not new, which had been devised by Leopold Wilson in 1892.
Light produced was between 5 and 10 times greater than an illumination produced by mineral oil gas with a useage of equal volume.


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 Ballast Board

In respect of Ireland, this Board was original responsible for the allocation of shingle (ballast) which was used to stablize a ship. A lot of money was made by those people or companies which traded in Ballast.
Proper name was the Dublin Port Authority, but better known as the Ballast Board.
Became responsible for for managing all of the Irish Lights by an Act of Parliament in 1810.

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 Brown Brothers

 
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Brief History:
Date established unknown
Brown Brothers of New York
Manufacturers of engines, steam powered sirens and other associated equipment.
Patented a siren design in 1872 which consisted of a conical cast iron trumpet, 5ins (127mm) narrowest end; 27ins (686mm) at the other. Required 70 psi (4.9kg pscm) of steam pressure to revolve the siren disc at 2,400 rpm.
First trials by Trinity House carried out at its experimental lighthouse centre, Blackwall, London, 1872.
First English lighthouse to have this type of siren South Foreland 1873.
By 1876 a further 22 lighthouses and 16 light vessels were using these sirens in one form or another.
Early siren had a winding up sound to them, as the blast of steam propelled the disc.
Later versions used part of the steam to rotate the disc to its optimum speed, prior to the main blast of steam being forced through the disc.


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 Chance Brothers

 
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Originally glass manufacturers in 1824.
Its base of operation was in Smethick, Birmingham, England. (established at these works in 1848)
By 1851 this company was established to go into competition with various French optical manufacturers which already supplied the complete lenses and optical assemblies being employed in lighthouses. This was under the management of James Kenward FRS.
By 1860 under the guideance of founder James Timmius Chance (later knighted for his contribution to maritime safety and glass manufacturing), Chance Brothers had become the world's premier suppliers of lighthouse optics.
Its expertise in lighthouse construction and the manfucturing of helical lanterns became the prime qualification world-wide, especially within the territories of the former British Empire.
In 1872 Chance Brother began its own clockwork section, with some splendid mechanisms being produced which did not need all of the assembly dismantled, if a repair was needed. In fact these assemblies remained in service for nearly 100 years.
By 1930 Chance Brothers had progressed into the growing field of electrical application.
In 1954 Chance Brothers was sold to J.Stone Holdings.
The Smethick works was closed down with the operation moved to Crawley in Sussex.
Only a few members of the original work force remained and by the 1970's many of these skilled people were found to be surplus to requirements.
Business of Chance Brother officially closed in 1977.


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 Commissioners of Irish Lights

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Although the 1786 Act of Parliament had formed the Corporate Body of the 'Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port of Dublin', it was not until 1810 that this was changed by a further Act of Parliament to increase the powers of this Authority, so that it became responsible for all of the lights around Ireland. Yet at this time it was better known as the Port of Dublin Ballast Board.
A further change to the Act of Parliament in 1867 brought about the naming of the Commissioners of Irish Lights.

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 Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port of Dublin

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Formed in 1786 by an Act of Parliament. This was the real term or name put on the legal papers for the Act that installed the Commissioners of Irish Lights as a Corporate body.

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 Ecclestiastical lights

From medieval times to the beginning of the 17th century, the safety of seamen, was a task which often fell to the caring people of the church. Indeed, the majority of early maritime lights were of ecclesiastical origin.
One of the first recorded lights, established by a religious order in the British Isles, was at Hook Head in County Wexford; reputed to be the site where the monks of St. Dubhan established a fire beacon as early as the 5th century.  Another report gives 810 as the date of establishment, but there is no doubt that the tower that exists there today is the oldest operational light in any of the four countries and dates from 1245.

It was reportedly built by the Warden and Chaplains of the Monastery of St.Savior Rendeuan.  A lighthouse is said to have been built at Youghal in Ireland, around 1190 by Maurice Fitzgerald, who put it in the care of the nuns of St. Ann's convent which he endowed. In England the earliest known light; apart from the Dover pharos,was a harbour light at Winchelsea on the Kent coast erected about 1261.

Although the ecclesiastical orders may have tended the lights, not all were built by them. St. Catherines's oratory on the Isle of Wight, was erected by a rich merchant to stave of ex-communication by the Papal Church. The merchant, Walter de Godeton, purchased numerous barrels of wine from a local wrecking community at St. Catherine's. Despite the principle of 'Custom and Descent'; where salvage from shipwrecks was considered the lawful right of the people, the Pope considered this to be an act of plunder and sacrilege because the wine had been destined for the Church. As penance, Walter de Godeton was forced to build the St. Catherine's oratory; to provide a 'chaunting priest' and to establish a 'light for the benefit of the mariners, to be lit every night for ever.' From 1314 until dissolution of the Papal monasteries by Henry VIII in 1534, the descendants of Walter de Godeton kept the oratory lit.

One of the most famous medieval lights in the British Isles, was exhibited from the top of St. Michael's Mount Church in Cornwall. This coalburning light was established around the middle of the 14th century, with the Church standing proudly on its island base, off the fishing port of Marazion.

It may seem strange that one of the last remaining ecclesiastical lights to be in operation, was in the North Devon coastal town of llfracombe. This particular light was exhibited from the Chapel of St. Nicholas, on Lantern Hill. Originally this light was introduced for the protection of fishermen, by the local priest, around the middle of the 13th century. Its purpose was to provide a marker for the treacherous Norte Stone and Rockham Shoals. When lit it was reported to be visible by shipping for up to 5 nautical miles and for its 650 year history, it was only extinguished during the first and second World wars.

Ecclesiastical lights were shown in Scotland, with the best known at Leith near Edinburgh from 1522. The last light erected by a religious order in Scotland, was in 1566 at Aberdeen.


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 Hanseatic // adj.
[Middle High German hanse, Old High German, Gothic hansa ‘company’]

The Hanseatic League was formed officially between 1250-80. It consisted of various groups of Rhineish merchants who set up a collective in order to protect their common interests in sea-trade.
They employed very ruthless men who were put on board each ship to fight of pirates. These men also carried out many sorties which destroyed other ships that did not belong to this fraternity.
Most of their foreign trading centres were situated in Brugge, Bergen and London.
Understood that the League was made illegal in 1550.

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 Le Paute of Paris

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 Northern Lighthouse Board (Scotland) (data only)

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 Royal Society

Royal Society n. (in full Royal Society of London)
a society founded in 1662 to promote scientific discussion.

To be and F.R.S. (Fellow of the Royal Society) is considered to be a very high honour.

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 Trinity House

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First mention about Trinity House its Masters or Fellows, dates back to the time of King Alfred (871-899).
There was further reference to Trinity House or Guild in documents stating that it was originally founded by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton (1207-1228) during the reign of King John.
This particular record states the the Guild or Fraternity was composed of : 'godley disposed men who for the actual suppression of evil persons bringing ships to destruction by showing forth of false beacons do bind themselves together in the love of the Lord Christ in the name of the Masters and Fellows of Trinity Guild, to succour from the dangers of the sea all who are beset upon the coasts of England to feed them unhungered and athirst, to bind up their wounds and to build and light proper beacons for the guidance of mariners.'

On the 19th March 1513 the Respectable Company of Mariners, in the College of Deptford, petitioned Henry VIII because of the lack of suitably qualified mariners who could pilot the King's  ships.
Henry VIII agreed with the petition and awarded a Royal Patent and a Royal Charter of Approval to the: 'Master, Wardens and Assistants of the Guild or Fraternitie of the most glorious and blessed Trinity and Saint Clement (patron Saint of Mariners) in the parish Church of Deptford Stronde, in the County of Kent.' The date this award was given was on the 20th May 1514.

First Master of Trinity House was Sir Thomas Spert who was the Comptroller of the Navy and the Master of Henry VIII's prestigious man-of-war Henri Grace A Dieu. He held this position from 1514 until 1541.

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 W. Wilkins and Son Ltd

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Northern Lighthouse Board (Scotland)

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Northern Lighthouse Board (Scotland) (data)
(see Commissioners of the Northern Lights)