WHAT IS THIS THING? Mystery museum object #4

Picture of mystery museum object from Maritime Musuem of the Atlantic (lighthouse)

WHAT IS THIS THING? Inspired by a mystery object tweeted by one of my favorite websites, Collectors Weekly, I’ve decided to make a little game out of some of my own ridiculously interesting MYSTERY MUSEUM OBJECTS. Try to guess what this strange thing is before scrolling down for the answer!

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No peeking….

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Keep scrolling….

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Did you figure it out yet?

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A little farther…

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THE ANSWER:

This magical looking thing is the lens from a lighthouse. More specifically, it was the light in the Sambro Island Lighthouse in beautiful Nova Scotia (my homeland!) from 1906 to 1967, when it was replaced by a modern, airport-style beacon light. The Sambro Island Lighthouse is located on a little island near the entrance of the Halifax Habour, and is the oldest operational  lighthouse in the Americas, still operating since its establishment in 1758. The light is a ‘First Order Fresnel Lens’, constructed from crystal glass prisms set in bronze frames, and would have been illuminated by a petroleum vapour burner maintained by lighthouse keepers who resided on the island (the lightstation was de-staffed in 1988 and the island is now uninhabited). Today, this remarkably beautiful object can be seen on display at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which was my favorite museum as a child (and it’s still easily in my top ten as an adult!).

Did you figure out what this object was before you read the answer? If not, leave your guesses in the comments! For more, see Mystery Museum Object #1, Mystery Museum Object #2, Mystery Museum Object #3 and Mystery Museum Object #5.

// Image: from the collection of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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23 thoughts on “WHAT IS THIS THING? Mystery museum object #4

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  2. Nice. I thought, that’s a lighthouse lens. Wait, I know the display cases behind that! That’s the Sambro Light lens! Nice! And I was right! Woohoo. Curiosities from home.

  3. I think its timely that I just saw that last week in Halifax while on vacation. On that note, I highly recommend Halifax and the Canadian Maritimes as a vacation destination. Had an excellent time!

  4. It’s a FRESNEL lens…well four of them. They are sculpted to give the most amnount of concentrated light to get the longest trow distance used in light houses. You can find Fresnels used mainly in theatre lighting now a days

  5. I guessed immediately but had an advantage: I worked at that museum as a design intern in the early 90s. Gem of a museum in a gem of a city. Thanks for the memory.

  6. I actually went with “something to do with beehives.” It was incorrect, but I ought to at least get the secret bonus points you give to people who make bee-related guessss. That’s a thing, right? Because it is on Jeopardy! I am going to SOOOO dominate when i go on Jeopardy!

    “Is it “something to do with beehives, Alex?”

    Dominate.

  7. Pingback: WHAT IS THIS THING? Mystery museum object #1 | The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things

  8. Pingback: WHAT IS THIS THING? Mystery museum object #2 | The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things

  9. Pingback: WHAT IS THIS THING? Mystery museum object #3 | The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things

  10. I guessed this was something to do with a lighthouse and got the crocodile tongue correct but the other two I had no idea. This is a great idea for your blog. Maybe you could post the answer to the mystery in a follow-up post rather than the same one to really keep us on our toes? Keep them coming, please.

  11. Pingback: WHAT IS THIS THING? Mystery museum object #5 | The Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things

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