Lighthouse

undefined Within the Wick Heritage Museum you can examine the complete optical and mechanical working of Noss Head Lighthouse. (lat 58 28 lon 3 3).

This lighthouse is one of the very few dating from the middle of the 19th century and which is still in complete working order. It is on loan to the Wick Society from the Lighthouse Commission and was designed and built by Alan Stevenson, uncle of the writer Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island

undefined The lighthouse is in three main parts. Beginning at the top you can see 16 triangular mirrors with 16 lenses and prisms in the shape of an umbrella and underneath 16 vertical lenses and prisms. One of these has been left out to give a good view of the lamp, which was made in France in 1848. This originally burnt oil but the Society has fitted electricity for ease of maintenance. Any lighthouses can be identified by its unique series of flashes. In this way seafarers can tell the light they see and then locate it on their charts. This pattern of light is created by making all the lenses and mirrors turn around a fixed lamp and at a fixed speed.

The lenses are turned by a clockwork mechanism, which can be viewed from the floor below. The lenses magnify the lamp as they pass and this gives the appearance of a flash. When you stand as far away from the lamp as possible, and look at it through one of the lenses, the powerful magnification of the lens can be seen. The mirrors reflect all the light, shining upwards into the main lenses, so that no light is wasted. This lighthouse flashed every 30 seconds and came from Noss Head, 3 miles north of Wick.

The lighthouse workings were dismantled and rebuilt by members of the Wick Society.

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