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SOUTH STACK LIGHT-HOUSE.
"Dark night set in: there was no moon, no star,
ONE of the most interesting objects on which the human eye can rest is a lighthouse-a beacon lighted by kindness and sympathy to guide the mariner in his dangerous course.
The most beautifully constructed light-house of which we read in ancient history, is that which was built on a small island at the mouth of the Nile, by Sostrates, King of Egypt. It was very lofty, being composed of several stories raised one above another, adorned with columns, balustrades, and galleries of the finest marble. At the top a large fire was kept constantly burning, which could be seen at the distance of twenty-four English miles. This building was called a "Pharos," and hence the term has since been regarded as synonymous with lighthouse. The famous brass statue of Rhodes, known as the "Colossus," and which is said to have had one foot on the one side of the port of Rhodes and the other on the opposite, allowing ships to pass between its legs, was a "Pharos."
The erection of lighthouses in this country has not been regulated by any organised system,-they have been the result of a succession of disasters; necessity has alone originated their construction. From this cause it arises, that until lately they have each been conducted on entirely different principles. Under the operation of recent Acts of Parliament, all the public or general lighthouses around the coast of England and Wales are under the management of the Trinity House; those around Scotland, under the Commissioners of the Northern Lights; those around Ireland under the Ballast Board of Dublin. The local or harbour lights are managed by corporations and local trustees, under powers given for that purpose, but even these local lights are being brought under a more central authority. There are at the present time about 320 lighthouses round the several coasts of the United Kingdom. These lighthouses are maintained by dues levied on all vessels which leave the harbours of the United Kingdom, at so much per ton per vessel, according to the number of lighthouses which the vessels pass. These dues, which have amounted in some years to £400,000, are in some instances very oppressive; but gradual improvements are being introduced into the whole system.
SOUTH STACK LIGHTHOUSE.
One principal object in the establishment of lighthouses is that of giving intimation to vessels as to the place they are in. It is therefore essential that the lights should be so arranged as to be easily recognised from one another. For this purpose a variety of plans have been adopted. Sometimes by the arrangement of lamps; sometimes by revolving lights; sometimes by distinguishing colours.
The mode of lighting now generally used in this country, is that of placing an argand burner in the focus of a parabolic reflector. This instrument is made of silver strengthened with copper, and is about three or four inches in focal length and twenty-one inches in diameter. The number and the arrangement of reflectors in each lighthouse depend upon the light being fixed or revolving, and upon other circumstances connected with the situation and importance of the lighthouse.
The Lighthouse represented in our Engraving is situated on an isolated rock, called the South Stack, near Holyhead. It is connected with the harbour, and of essential service in facilitating the entrance of vessels. The light, which is more than two hundred feet above the water, is produced with twenty or twenty-one lamps with powerful reflectors.