This item has been shown 66 times.
149 3rd-Order Fresnel Lens, Big Bay Point, MI, HL 651, #4200 of 5,000, made in China, box (#6), Certificate of Authenticity, tent card, uses 2 AA batteries
Diamonds when cut perfectly, each facet directs its light through the top of the stone in a brilliant kaleidoscope of color. Not unlike a diamond, the Fresnel lens uses refraction and carefully placed prisms to intensify light.
Invented by the Frenchman Augustin Fresnel, this gem-like optic became the ideal method of illuminating the skies and revolutionizing navigational aids. Rather than burning brighter and brighter flames and risking fires, Monsieur Fresnel invented a way to intensify existing light sources. His very first lens increased a 20-candlepower lamp by 500 times.
The 3rd-Order Fresnel lens in Big Bay Point Lighthouse is a superior example of mathematical dimension and extraordinary beauty. With a focal plane of 60', mariners could safely navigate the upper peninsula of Lake Superior. With its magnificent series of concentric glass prisms, the light would reflect back through the central lens–a perfect example of a “catadioptric system.”
Lighted in 1896, the optic at Big Bay Point Lighthouse guided mariners for 65 years until its deactivation in 1961. Since its reactivation in 1990, the beacon shines brightly again.
Big Bay Point Light Station is privately owned and serves as a Bed & Breakfast Inn. The U.S. Coast Guard has access to the optic, caring for the priceless artifact.
Big Bay Point Lighthouse update (04/2021): Our 3rd Order Fresnel Lens is available to view by all guests staying at the B&B.
We are proud to announce that our original 3rd order Fresnel lens has returned back to the lighthouse and is on display for our guests. The lens is also visible during scheduled tour dates.
Craftsmanship: Designed to capture nearly 90% of light from the source, the Fresnel lens was and still is a modern marvel when it comes to bending and refracting light. The lens segments, or prisms, were hand cut and polished. Today’s technology can barely replicate the precision of the prisms fabricated in the 1800s.
Built in 1895, our original 3rd-Order Fresnel lens was handcrafted in France by the Henry-Lepaute Company. The lens weighs nearly 2,000-pounds and was purchased by the U.S. Lighthouse Service for $3,800 (equal to $116,766 in 2020). Illuminated with a double wick kerosene mantel, the lens provided a visible beam that could be spotted by a mariner 20-miles away.
Originally, the lens provided a fixed/flashing pattern where the mariner would see a continuous solid light, varied by a bright flash every 20-seconds. The flash was provided by separate flash panels that rotated around the lens. The location of the flash panels is unknown.
Lens Display: At Big Bay Lighthouse, we pride ourselves on the traditions of the U.S. Lighthouse Service and the U.S. Coast Guard. Along with our 3rd order lens, we offer a 4th order drums Fresnel Lens and a collection of modern marine lanterns that have been donated to us by the Coast Guard. All lenses on display have been used at various light stations or buoys.
MEASUREMENTS: L = 4½” x W = 4½” x H = 8”
CONDITION: Very good. Displayed for a short time in glass-enclosed curio cabinet.
Each piece will be double boxed and packed for a 30' drop should that occur in handling. Shipper only insures first $100 valuation at no additional cost. If buyer wishes additional insurance, the cost associated with additional insurance will be calculated and buyer will pay additional cost.
If damaged in shipping, buyer must save damaged carton to show shipper’s rep condition of boxes.
NOTE: for the most part, I only collected full size Harbour Lights. GLOWS and Little Lights of Mine will be clearly identified as such should I find I have any.