A collection of blogs and musings from the people that work at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum - Florida's Finest Lightstation.

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Psychotherapy the Lighthouse Way

Posted by: Rick Cain in From the Lens Room

I feel like I’ve been running a lot and getting nothing done, so I took a climb up the lighthouse this morning to check on things. I go up once a day anyway, but usually in the afternoon. Spending time in the tower always helps me focus and quiet down. It really is remarkable. Once in the rotation room, I listen to the hum of the motor to see if anything is amiss. No problems there. I can keep my hand on the motor housing for several seconds, which tells me the motor isn’t working too hard. The gearbox is next, an older piece of equipment from the early 1960’s installed by the Coast Guard. I hold a screwdriver handle to my ear, placing the other end on the gear housing and listen to each of the bearings. They are purring today as usual. The lens is turning smoothly and everything is in order. My only concern is the condition of the friction rollers. There are eight bronze friction rollers or “Chariot Wheels” that turn the flash panels. The flash panels are the part of the lens that produce the “flash” for the ships at sea.

Friction roller inspection

We use bronze for the wheels because it is softer than steel and we don’t want the steel tables to wear. About one-half the weight of a 2-ton Fresnel lens turns on those wheels and for a time I have been watching some degradation of the bronze on the contact surface. They are all OK today.

Up around the lens the sun is warm as I look down on wind-blown guests standing on the gallery deck. The sea is an angry green today with small white caps, in spite of the clear blue sky. I take a few moments to be still…

suddenly everything is right in the world.

Comments (2)

So I guess you don't put a penny on the track and let the wheels flatten it?

Hey, you may have an idea. Maybe if we put the image of the lighthouse on the wheel like those penny press machines at Walt Disney World, we could make commemorative lighthouse coins for our visitors for, say, 75 cents each (they provide the penny)??? :-)

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