a website collaboration between Science Service and the Smithsonian Institution

1934 - Cape May Lighthouse with newly installed sodium vapor lamps


CD 1966011 E&MP27.093

Electric Lighting

Jan. 19, 1934

Cape May Lighthouse at the entrance to Delaware Bay now has a sodium vapor light installed in its 165 foot tower instead of its former incandescent electric lamp. The yellow rays are visible for sixteen miles on a clear night.

The Lighthouse Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce has installed the sodium vapor lamp to test the value of the new lighting system for use in lighthouses.

Tests are still incomplete but when they are finished lighthouses may be sending out yellow instead of white rays to guide mariners. Low cost of operation and maintenance are factors favorable for sodium vapor lamp installation.  

Original Caption by Science Service
US Department of Commerce

National Museum of American History


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