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Giant lens crafters

Posted: 5/21/14

Gloucester Daily Times - A giant lens that, for more than a century, once served as a beacon warning mariners they were approaching Thacher Island is being rebuilt this week in preparation for its exhibit when Cape Ann Museum reopens in August after extensive renovations. Link to the full article here.

Lampists from New York and New Jersey have been putting the finishing touches on the preservation and reassembly of the 155-year-old Fresnel lens at the museum. The lens, which was housed in the south lighthouse tower on Thacher Island from 1861 to 1980, had been on display at the U.S. Coast Guard Museum in New London, Conn., but is now on permanent loan from the U.S. Coast Guard to the Cape Ann Museum for its reopening.

The effort to preserve the mammoth lighthouse lens was funded through both Gloucester and Rockport Community Preservation Act grants worth $10,000 apiece.

The lens stands 10 feet tall and measures 6 feet in diameter. The 2,000-pound lens was made in Paris in 1860. It is composed of more than 1,000 glass prisms set in a bronze frame and could focus a beam of light 22 miles out to sea.