Lighthouse Trivia Quiz Questions and Answers

Trivia quiz questions and answers about lighthouses

 

Lighthouse Trivia Quiz Questions and Answers

What is a lighthouse?
A: A lighthouse is a tower, building, or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses and to serve as a navigational aid for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways.

Lighthouses mark what?
A: Dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoals, reefs, rocks and safe entries to harbors; they also assist in aerial navigation.

Once widely used, the number of operational lighthouses has declined due to what?
A: The expense of maintenance and use of electronic navigational systems.

Before the development of clearly defined ports what were mariners guided by?
A: Fires built on hilltops.

Since raising the fire would improve the visibility, placing the fire on a platform became a practice that did what?
A: It led to the development of the lighthouse.

In antiquity, the lighthouse functioned as a what?
A: An entrance marker to ports more than as a warning signal for reefs and promontories, unlike many modern lighthouses.

What was the most famous lighthouse structure from antiquity?
A: It was the Pharos of Alexandria, Egypt, which collapsed following a series of earthquakes between 956 and 1323.

 
The intact Tower of Hercules at A Coruña, Spain gives insight into what?
A: Ancient lighthouse construction; other evidence about lighthouses exists in depictions on coins and mosaics, of which many represent the lighthouse at Ostia.

When did the modern era of lighthouses begin?
A: At the turn of the 18th century, as lighthouse construction boomed in lockstep with burgeoning levels of transatlantic commerce.

Advances in structural engineering and new and efficient lighting equipment allowed for the creation of what?
A: Larger and more powerful lighthouses, including ones exposed to the sea.

The function of lighthouses shifted toward what?
A: A visible warning against shipping hazards, such as rocks or reefs.

The Eddystone Rocks were a major shipwreck hazard for mariners sailing through where?
A: The English Channel.

The first lighthouse built there was an octagonal wooden structure, anchored by 12 iron stanchions secured in the rock, and was built by whom?
A: Henry Winstanley from 1696 to 1698.

His lighthouse was the first tower in the world to have been what?
A: Fully exposed to the open sea.

 
The civil engineer, John Smeaton, rebuilt the lighthouse from 1756–59; his tower marked a major step forward in what?
A: The design of lighthouses and remained in use until 1877.

He modeled the shape of his lighthouse on that of a what?
A: An oak tree, using granite blocks.

He rediscovered and used "hydraulic lime," a form of concrete that will set under water used by whom?
A: The Romans.

He developed a technique of securing the granite blocks together using what?
A: Dovetail joints and marble dowels.

This profile had the added advantage of allowing some of the energy of the waves to do what?
A: To dissipate on impact with the walls.

His lighthouse was the prototype for the modern lighthouse and influenced what?
A: All subsequent engineers.

One such influence was Robert Stevenson, himself a seminal figure in the development of what?
A: Lighthouse design and construction.

 
His greatest achievement was the construction of what?
A: The Bell Rock Lighthouse in 1810, one of the most impressive feats of engineering of the age.

This structure was based upon Smeaton's design, but with several improved features, such as the incorporation of what?
A: Rotating lights, alternating between red and white.

Who designed the first screw-pile lighthouse?
A: Alexander Mitchell, his lighthouse was built on piles that were screwed into the sandy or muddy seabed.

Where did construction of his design begin in 1838?
A: At the mouth of the Thames and was known as the Maplin Sands lighthouse, and first lit in 1841.

The Argand lamp, invented in 1782 by the Swiss scientist, Aimé Argand, revolutionized lighthouse illumination with it’s what?
A: Its steady smokeless flame.

What did the Argand lamp use as fuel?
A: Whale oil, colza, olive oil or other vegetable oil as fuel which was supplied by a gravity feed from a reservoir mounted above the burner.

The lamp was first produced by whom?
A: Matthew Boulton, in partnership with Argand, in 1784 and became the standard for lighthouses for over a century.

 
South Foreland Lighthouse was the first tower to successfully use what?
A: An electric light in 1875.

What were the lighthouse's carbon arc lamps powered?
A: By a steam-driven magneto.

John Richardson Wigham was the first to develop a system for what?
A: Gas illumination of lighthouses.

His improved gas 'crocus' burner at the Baily Lighthouse near Dublin was how much more powerful than the most brilliant light then known?
A: 13 times.

What was invented in 1901 by Arthur Kitson?
A: The vaporized oil burner, and improved by David Hood at Trinity House.

The fuel was vaporized at high pressure and burned to heat the mantle, giving an output of over six times the luminosity of what?
A: Traditional oil lights.

With the development of the steady illumination of the Argand lamp, the application of optical lenses to increase and focus the light intensity became what?
A: A practical possibility.

 
William Hutchinson developed the first practical optical system in 1763, known as what?
A: A catoptric system.

This rudimentary system effectively collimated the emitted light into a what?
A: A concentrated beam, thereby greatly increasing the light's visibility.

The ability to focus the light led to the first what?
A: Revolving lighthouse beams, where the light would appear to the mariners as a series of intermittent flashes.

It also became possible to transmit what using the light flashes?
A: Complex signals.

A Fresnel lens can be made much thinner than a comparable conventional lens, in some cases taking the form of a what?
A: A flat sheet.

The first Fresnel lens was used in 1823 in what lighthouse?
A: In the Cordouan lighthouse at the mouth of the Gironde estuary; its light could be seen from more than 20 miles (32 km) out.

Fresnel's invention increased the luminosity of the lighthouse lamp by a factor of what?
A: Four, and his system is still in common use.

The advent of electrification, and automatic lamp changers began to make lighthouse keepers what?
A: Obsolete.

Improvements in maritime navigation and safety such as the Global Positioning System (GPS) have led to what?
A: The phasing out of non-automated lighthouses across the world.