Portal:Lighthouses

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Introduction

The lighthouse of Aveiro, on the west coast of Portugal.

A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses and to serve as a navigational aid for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways.

Lighthouses mark dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoals, reefs, rocks and safe entries to harbors; they also assist in aerial navigation. Once widely used, the number of operational lighthouses has declined due to the expense of maintenance and use of electronic navigational systems.

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Dhu Heartach Lighthouse, During Construction, by Sam Bough (1822–1878)

Dubh Artach (/d ˈɑːrtɑːx/; Scottish Gaelic: [t̪uh ˈarˠʃt̪əx]) is a remote skerry of basalt rock off the west coast of Scotland lying 18 miles (29 km) west of Colonsay and 15 miles (24 km) south-west of the Ross of Mull. The translation of Dubh Artach is "The Black Rock", artach being a now obsolete Gaelic word for a rock or rocky ground both in Scottish Gaelic and in Irish.

A lighthouse designed by Thomas Stevenson with a tower height of 145 feet (44 m) was erected between 1867 and 1872 with a shore station constructed on the isle of Erraid. The rock is subject to extraordinary sea conditions with waves of 92 feet (28 m) or more being encountered by the keepers. Despite these adverse conditions several men served the light for lengthy periods until it was automated in 1971. Dubh Artach is the official name of the lighthouse, although the skerry itself is also known as Dhu Heartach. Various interpretations have been provided for the original meaning of the Gaelic name, of which "The Black Rock" is the most likely.

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John Smeaton

John Smeaton, FRS, (8 June 1724 – 28 October 1792) was an English civil engineer responsible for the design of bridges, canals, harbours and lighthouses. He was also a capable mechanical engineer and an eminent physicist. Smeaton was the first self-proclaimed civil engineer, and often regarded as the "father of civil engineering". Recommended by the Royal Society, Smeaton designed the third Eddystone Lighthouse (1755–59). He pioneered the use of 'hydraulic lime' (a form of mortar that will set under water) and developed a technique involving dovetailed blocks of granite in the building of the lighthouse. His lighthouse remained in use until 1877 when the rock underlying the structure's foundations had begun to erode; it was dismantled and partially rebuilt at Plymouth Hoe where it is known as Smeaton's Tower. He is important in the history, rediscovery of, and development of modern cement, because he identified the compositional requirements needed to obtain "hydraulicity" in lime; work which led ultimately to the invention of Portland cement. Portland cement led to the re-emergence of concrete as a modern building material, largely due to Smeaton's influence.

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Point Pinos Lighthouse
Photograph: Frank Schulenburg

Point Pinos Lighthouse is a lighthouse located in Pacific Grove, California. Lit in 1855, it is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.

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Two Years Before the Mast
On the whole coast of California there was not a lighthouse, a beacon, or a buoy, and the charts were made up from old and disconnected surveys by British, Russian, and Mexican voyagers.
Richard Henry Dana Jr., from his memoir Two Years Before the Mast and his view of the coast in 1835

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