Switchables Lighthouse Nightlight Cover SW275 - Stained Glass Night Light

Switchables Cover, Lighthouse with Seagulls SW275

SKU: 1433
Stock: 1
Price: $19.99

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Shine On

Unlike its inspiration, the Switchables stained glass lighthouse cover doesn't rotate and won't blind you. Switchables covers with "SW" catalog numbers use the traditional process with a metal frame, as opposed to the fused-glass "SF" models.  

This is not a self-contained night light. Switchables stained glass night light covers are designed to be used with the Switchables Nightlight Fixture (sold separately). Switchables are "switchable" because you can easily swap any one of our covers onto the same simple fixture. You can also use your Switchables cover as a suncatcher, a Christmas ornament, or with any other kind of light source. To display your Switchables cover in a window, add the optional suction cup. Switchables make gift-giving easy: Start your recipient out with a fixture and one or two covers, then buy him or her new covers on future gift-giving occasions.


Are you curious...?

Before there was GPS, before there were radio beacons, even before there was electricity, lighthouses guided mariners to safe harbor. Bonfires on hilltops gave way to fires on raised platforms, and they didn't change very much until transatlantic shipping boomed at the turn of the 18th century. Advances in construction techniques allowed lighthouses to be built closer to marine hazards and gave them a new role as warnings. A simple wood pyre or coal fire provided the light. Then in 1782 the Argand lamp fed various types of oil to a wick that incorporated ground glass. Later designs suspended a mantle over the flame, providing a steady, smokeless light. This remained the state of the art for more than a century. Electric lighting came along in 1875 but didn't catch on due to the logistics of generating electricity in remote locations. Instead, a vaporized oil burner that improved brightness by a factor of six was invented in 1901, and it remained the preferred technology until electricity finally won out in the 1960s. The Soviet Union even built some nuclear-powered lighthouses that could operate in remote locations for long periods with no maintenance.

The flame wasn't everything; starting in 1763 there were advances in lenses to focus and direct the light. Once they figured out how to create a directional beam, rotating lighthouses started to appear. The ingenious Fresnel lens of 1823 manipulated light using far less glass than older designs; Fresnel lenses are still used in applications like automobile tail lights.

That covers the "light" part. The "house" exists because fires (even electric ones) need tending. In remote locations, that requires a live-in keeper with a salary, shelter, heat, supplies, sanitation, and all the other expenses that come with keeping a person healthy and content.

Of course, time and technology march on. As lighthouses became less and less vital to navigation, they were abandoned and fell into disrepair. Nowadays various government agencies and private groups are charged with their preservation. Those lights that still serve a purpose are apt to be simple towers with LEDs and solar power. There are very few old-school lighthouses still in service, and even fewer lighthouse keepers.   

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