USLHE US Lighthouse District Inspector Stopwatch


Stock Number: #260


This is an extremely rare original early U. S. Light-House Establishment stopwatch. c. 1870. This stopwatch was a tool that would have been for use by the District Inspector to time the lighthouse's lighting characteristic or flash pattern. The flash pattern (if there was one as some lighthouses were just a steady burn fixed light) was critical to the mariner at night who would watch for this flash pattern to know where they were located. A mistake reading the flash pattern or if the lighthouse keeper was not maintaining his light properly could cost the mariner his ship. Interpreting a flash pattern wrong might mean were many more miles away from their intended location which could cause the ship to wreck on a shoal.

This is probably one of 25 stopwatches produced between 1867 and 1900 by Centennial Watch Company and others for the U.S. Light-House Establishment. These watches were issued to each of the 24 Supervisors in 12 Lighthouse Districts for timing the rotation of the lighthouse lenses. As one of only a few stopwatches still known to exist [A noted lighthouse authority has seen only three in 13+ years], this watch is extremely rare.





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