National Lighthouse Day - August 7
The lighthouse is a tower that spreads light that shines in the dark to protect and warn. It is meant to aid in navigation and sailing at sea, but the word lighthouse is also a metaphor for a person or friend who helps in difficult times and guides the way.
The history of the lighthouse
The earliest methods of helping seafarers reach the shore were lighting fires at the top of cliffs and hills.
The lighthouse began to be used for navigation, to mark shorelines and sandbars and to help ships reach the port safely. To distribute the light use a system of lamps and lenses.
The most famous lighthouse structure from ancient times was the Pharos of Alexandria, Egypt, although it collapsed during an earthquake hundreds of years later.
When aviation began to develop, in the 1920s and 1930s, lighthouses were built to signal aircraft and mark flight directions and airports for them. This was before they invented means of navigation like radio waves, radar and the like.
In the United States, for example, a line of lighthouses was stretched to its full width. Many such lighthouses were built in Europe and especially in England and were used until the Second World War.
Today there are modern navigation aids and the need for a lighthouse has been reduced. There are less than 1,500 lighthouses left in the world.
The modern lighthouses are unmanned. They have a rotating lens system that sends short flashes in all directions. These lights are similar to the lights emitted from beacons installed on tall buildings.
Although the use of the lighthouse has diminished, the lighthouse still has a cultural and nostalgic value. In honor of Lighthouse Day, go visit one or two lighthouses and learn about the great value they had in saving lives in the past and also about using them today.
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