The Evolving Eye of Lighthouse Engineering

Photo by Chris Mills

For over 60-years, the 36-inch diameter Double Drum rotating DCB-36 Aerobeacon replaced most of the Glowing Eyes of American Lighthouses. Since the mid 1940s, the large Fresnel lenses, manufactured using hundreds of handmade polished prisms, were replaced by more efficient and less costly aerobeacons.

With new advances in technology, the DCB-36 Aerobeacon is being phased out by modern acrylic optics and LED Beacons.

Bob Trapani, executive director of the American Lighthouse Foundation, explores the history of the sweeping eye of the DCB-36 Aerobeacon.

To read Bob’s article, please visit DCB-36 Beacon… Fading Away and All but Forgotten by History

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About Debbie Dolphin

Lighthouse author and photographer living in New England

Posted on February 19, 2008, in Bob Trapani, History and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Hi Kim ROFL,

    As a sweeping eye, the DCB-36 was Directional Code Beacon as well as a Distracting Continuous Buzz for the ears! 🙂

  2. very interesting history Debbie …shame that it was so noisy…
    obviously they were unique in their day…

    Kim ROFL’s last blog post..Random Picks and Stolen Art

  3. Hi Debo,

    Tidal Turbines and Sea Wave electric power generators harness the current from the currents of tidal waves which is a green idea that could be used to power the existing DCB-36 technology and the lamps of the older Fresnel lens.

    There are about 35 pending permits for wave and tidal projects off the shores of Florida, New England and the West Coast!

    200 turbines can produce up to 10 megawatts of electricity which is enough to power 7,500 homes!

    Hopefully, the past will be stored for future use to preserve the architectural design, aesthetics, and symmetry of active historic Lighthouses!

  4. I guess we have to make way for new technology and hope that the past is stored away peacefully.

    Debo Hobo’s last blog post..Aphrodisiac Destinations

  5. Hi Drowsey Monkey,

    Thankfully, the ominous all-seeing eye of the DCB-36 is harmless since the Aerobeacon is blind in one in eye and can’t see out the other like me! 🙂

    The powerful glowing sweeping eyes of the DCB-36 could send out two powerful beams of light which could be visible to a maximum range of 24 nautical miles at sea!

  6. That’s a pretty ominous looking photo!

    DrowseyMonkey’s last blog post..Living in America

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