Combined Bibliography, Life at Sea, Parts 3 and 4 (Lighting)
by Iver P. Cooper

Andrews, “A Short History of Electric Light”

Appleyard, “Using Spinning Liquids to Simplify the Construction of Parabolic Reflectors in Solar Cookers “

Baird, Searchlights, J. U.S. Artillery, 47 (143) 1 (Jan.-Feb. 1917).

Bander, Dutch Warships in the Age of Sail 1600-1714 (2014).

Banke, The evolution of artificial lighting, part 2

Bishop, Tips and Tricks for Using Oil Lamps

Bauer, Register of Ships of the US Navy, 1775-1990: Major Combatants,.

Burns, Communications: An International History of the Formative Years (2004).

Cameron, Public skies: telescopes and the popularization of astronomy in the twentieth century, Ph.D. Dissertation, History of Science and Technology, Iowa State University (2010).

Chattaway, The Deposit of Metallic Silver on Glass, The Chemical News, 96 (2496): 151 (Sept. 27, 1907).

Common, “Silvering Glass Mirrors”, The Observatory, 369 (1892).

Coston, “Night Signals”

De Paula, “A Contribution for the Construction of Parabolic Mirrors”
English abstract,

Dempster, Lighthouses of the Great Lakes (2002).

Dill, Myth, Fact, and Navigators’ Secrets: Incredible Tales of the Sea and Sailors (2006).

[EB11] Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition (1911)
“Lighthouse”, “Lighting”, “Lantern”, “Mirror”, “Reflection of Light”, “Lens”,

Elliott, Standardizing Shipboard Lighting: Light Fixtures and Light Bulbs on U.S. Navy Ships, Naval Health Research Center Report No. 92-22 (1992).

Faber, Military Pyrotechnics, vol. 1 (1919).

Falconer’s Dictionary of the Marine (1780)

Findlay, A description and list of the lighthouses of the world, 1861

Fort MacArthur

General Electric

Glete, Swedish Naval Administration, 1521-1721 (2010).

Griffith, The Artillerists Manual (1859).

[Grosvenor], “Red, Green and White Lights on Vessels,” Grosvenor Library Bulletin, 69 (Sept. 1921).

Halperin, Titanic’s Masthead Light

Hayward, Colonial Lighting, Vol. 2 (1962).

Howard, Sailing Ships of War, 1400-1860

IATSE, The limelight

Irwin, The Spermaceti Candle and the American Whaling Industry (2012).

[KCWB] Kentucky Civil War Bugle, “By placing it in limelight, Union turned
night into day in Fort Wagner siege”

Laughton, Old Ship Figure-Heads and Sterns (2012)
Lavery, The Arming and Fitting of English Ships of War 1600-1815 (1987).

Lewis, Underground Coal Mine Lighting Handbook, 1. Background (1986)

Licuanan, The Philippines Under Spain: 1564-1573, The Legazpi expedition, conquest, and colonization (1991)

Liss, Oceans of Crime (2011).


Mamabear, Lamp Oil and Wick Burn Time (2004)

Marriott, Lighthouses (2003)

Maynarde, Sir Francis Drake his voyage, 1595 (1849).

Mills, The Nernst Lamp

Mills, “Technical and Economic Performance Analysis of Kerosene Lamps and
Alternative Approaches to Illumination in Developing Countries” (2003)

Mirror Lab, Richard F. Caris, “Frequently Asked Questions”

ModernSurvivalBlog, How to Make Own Olive Oil Lamp

Mondfeld, Historic Ship Models (2005)

Motture, Re-thinking Renaissance Objects: Design, function and meaning (2011)

Mussett, The Bayeux Tapestry (2005).

National Candle Association

Navy Department, Searchlights and Signal Lights (1918).

Nerz, The Construction and Use of Projectors, The Electrician, 30: 713 (1893).

North American Searchlight Advertising LLC
HISTORY – Modern Searchlights

Ordnance Department, Military Pyrotechnics: The History and Development of Military Pyrotechnics (1920).

Pearce, Ship Bridge Lighting: Red or White 9Defence and Civil Institute of Environmental medicine (1979).

Pendergrast, Mirror Mirror: A History of the Human Love Affair with Reflection ().

Pereez-Mallaina, Spain’s Men of the Sea (1998).

Pilato, “Martha Coston: A Woman, a War, and a Signal to the World”

Plimpton, Fireworks: A History and Celebration (1984).

QSVC, Begbie Signal Lamp, 17 Dec. 2012 post to Victorian Wars Forum

Quinn, Kendra Leeanne, “Shipboard Lighting: A.D. 400-1900, ” (M.A. Thesis, Anthropology, Texas A&M Univ., Dec. 1999).

Ross, “History of asbestos discovery and use and asbestos-related disease in contewt with the occurrence of asbestos within ophiolite complexes, “in Dilek, ed., Ophiolite concept and the evolution of geological thought (2003).

Sephton, Sovereign of the Seas; The Seventeenth Century Warship (2013).

Skylighter, Realgar & Orpiment

Sterling, Military Communications: From Ancient Times to the 21st Century (2008).

Stevenson, Life of Robert Stevenson (2014).

Thomson, Minutes of Evidence Taken Before the Select Committee on Lighting (May 23, 1879), Parliament, House of Commons, Reports from Committees: 22: 176 (1879).

Tolansky, The Reflectivity of Speculum Metal, J. Sci. Instruments 24(9): 248 (1947).

Traill, Social England (1902).

Trowbridge, The Electric Light for Steamships, Pop. Sci. Monthly, 720 (Oct. 1874).

US Army, Military Explosives, TM 9-1300-214.

Willis, Fighting at Sea in the Eighteenth Century (2008).

[USLHS] United States Lighthouse Society
“The Fresnel Lens Makers”
“Fresnel Lens Orders, Sizes, Weights, Quantities and Costs”
“Glass Facet Reflectors”

Ward, An Elementary Course of Instruction on Ordnance and Gunnery (1845)

Werrett, Fireworks: Pyrotechnic Arts and Sciences in European History (2010).

Whelan, “The Fluorescent Lamp”
“Incandescent Lighting”

Wrixon, Codes & Ciphers & Other Cryptic & Clandestine Communication (1998).

Yoder, Opto-Mechanical Systems Design, Vol. 2( 4th ed. 2015).



Rey, The Range of Electric Searchlight Projectors (1917).

Murdock, Notes on Naval Dynamo Machinery, Naval Institute Proceedings 19 (4): 345 (1893).

Burstyn, Search Light Projectors — AN Experimental Comparison of the Mangin and Schuckert Projectors, The Electrical Engineer, 289 (Mar. 22, 1893).

King, The History of the Telescope (1955).

Lemaitre, Astronomical Optics and Elasticity Theory: Active Optics Methods (2008,). 20

The complex refractivities of metals in the following references were used to calculate the reflectivities at 400 and 700 nm:

Weinrich, Optical Properties of Tin

“Mirrors: Coating Choice Makes a Difference”

This reference was not cited but is of interest as an early comparison of the reflectivity of silver and speculum:

Conroy, Some Experiments on Metallic Reflection, No. III. On the Amount of Light Reflected by Metallic Surfaces. Proc. Roy. Soc. London, 26 (Feb. 15, 1883). At 10 degree incidence, the mean reflection was 70.05% (silver), 54.38% (steel), 39.76% (tin) and 66.13% (speculum).

Conroy notes that it is more difficult to give a good polish to silver and tin than to steel and speculum metal (36).

Reference on searchlights, not cited but of interest:

Cresap, The Searchlight, and the Principles Involved in its Construction and Use, J. Am. Soc’y Naval Engineers, 25: 650 (1913).


A 19th century attempt was made to build up a parabolic mirror with so-called meniscus rings, but it proved too difficult to line them up to have the same focus.  (Baird)

.   Immediately after Ring of Fire, the power plant management plans to gear-down within 18-24 months to a steam power plant supplying 10-15 megawatts.  Jones, Power to the People, Ring of Fire.  Later, they are building fourteen steam engines, each putting out 1000 hp -- a total of 10.4 megawatts. Jones, "Power Play," Grantville Gazette 24.

Quantifying Light

Light sources may be compared in terms of their intensity (light output over a unit solid angle, one steradian, measured in candelas; one old candlepower equaled 0.981 candelas, but the terms are now synonymous), or their total light output (also called luminous flux, measured in lumens). 

If a light source is radiating one candela in all directions, then the total light output is 12.56 lumens.. 

The luminance of a light source is measured in  candela/square meter (or foot-lamberts, 1fL=3.426 candela/square meter).  It is. 

The illumination of a target surface  provided by a given light source is dependent on its output in the relevant direction, the distance between them (inverse square law applies),  atmospheric clarity and the angle of incidence. Illuminance is measured in lumens/square meter, also called lux, or in  foot-candles; 1 fc = 10.764 lux. The illumination provided by direct sunlight can be as high as 100,000 lux, while that provided by the moon on a clear night is not more than one lux.  The lighting inside a modern home might be 50 lux and inside an office as much as 500 lux. (Wikipedia/Lux).  

The luminance of a surface from which light is reflected is measured in candela/square meter and is dependent on the illuminance received, the spectral distribution of the incident light, the reflectivity of the surface for different wavelengths, etc. The Bureau of Mines requires 0.06 foot lamberts (2.06 candela/square meter)  as the minimum reflected light level on all surfaces required to be lit.(Lewis 3). 

Another important aspect of light is color.  Red is long wavelength (700 nm) and blue is short wavelength (400 nm).  If a light source glows because it is hot, then the higher the temperature, the brighter and bluer it is.  Light sources can be assigned "color temperatures" based on the surface temperature of a "black body radiator" whose light is of a similar hue. Thus candle flames are 1850K, standard incandescents, 2400K, moonlight ~4100K, daylight 5000-6000K. (Wikipedia).

Note that we see certain wavelengths of light better than others, and the peak sensitivity wavelength depends on the light level. The photopic (bright) curve peaks at 555 nm and the scotopic (dim and fully dark-adapted)  at 507, with the scotopic eye being less than half as effective.  Since full dark adaptation is unusual, even if the sole source of light is starlight or moonlight, the practical visual effect of the light is likely to be a blend of photopic and scotopic.