Week 17  -  4.22.12 - 4.28.12  -  Navesink

Materials:   Sterling Silver

Cuff Link Dimensions: .  770” H x .580” W x .750” D

The Navesink Twin Lights are a pair of beacons located in Highlands, New Jersey overlooking Sandy Hook Bay, the entrance to the New York Harbor, and the Atlantic Ocean. Built on the highlands in 1828, they became an important guide for ships navigating the treacherous entrances to New York Harbor. This was the first American lighthouse to test a Fresnel lens.

At the World’s Columbian Exposition, held in Chicago in 1893, to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ landing in the new world, a giant bivalve lens was displayed by the French Lighthouse Board. Rather than ship the lens back home after the exposition, the French convinced the U.S. Government to purchase the behemoth and it was eventually installed in the south tower at Navesink.

When activated on June 20th, 1898, the lens and arc lamp produced a whopping 25,000,000 candlepower, making Navesink the first coastal light to use electricity and the most powerful beacon in the country. The revolving lens produced one flash every five seconds that could be seen from over twenty-two miles at sea. The reflection of the light off clouds was reportedly seen at a distance of seventy-five miles.

Residents living near Navesink didn’t have the same admiration for the piercing beacon as the Lighthouse Service did. Neighbors complained that after the new light was installed, they could not sleep, their chickens wouldn’t lay eggs, and their cows refused to give milk. Panels were soon placed on the landward side of the south tower’s lantern room to placate the locals and pacify their animals. The powerful light affected the lives of the keepers as well, as they had to wear special goggles, similar to those worn by welders, when working near the light.