The invention that fixed lighthouses

17-Fev, 2021
602 554 Ko‘rishlar soni

The most important part of a lighthouse might be one of the beautiful tools hidden inside: the Fresnel lens, a breakthrough that changed seafaring and saved lives.
As the above video shows, these lenses satisfied a need for lighthouses that could shine farther and through dense layers of fog. The Fresnel lens, invented by Augustin-Jean Fresnel, helped do that by capturing all the light coming from a lamp, and then magnifying and directing it in one direction. Suddenly, lighthouses became more useful and shipwrecks diminished.
Even today, this breakthrough is still in operation. As the US Lighthouse Society reports, more than 75 Fresnel lenses are in use in American lighthouses, and businesses like Dan Spinella’s of Artworks Florida craft replicas that capture the beauty - and functionality - of the 19th-century breakthrough.
Watch the above video to learn how these lenses work and how they saved lives.
Further reading:
The United States Lighthouse Society’s history section is a great place to dig into the basics of lighthouse technology.
Dan Spinella of Artworks Florida has a showcase of his fresnel reproductions, as well as useful videos about his process.
Barnegat Light Museum curator Reilly Sharp’s article about the Barnegat Lighthouse captures the stakes behind the shift from primitive Lewis lamps to the Fresnel breakthrough.
Subscribe to our channel! is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out
Watch our full video catalog:
Follow Vox on Facebook:
Or Twitter:

  • neat

    The ArgonaughtThe Argonaught6 kun oldin
  • at the end about how the light moves, it says there is a weight that drops and moves a bunch of gears... but the weight can't drop forever? How does the weight keep dropping to keep the gears moving?

    P WP W9 kun oldin
  • 700th comment

    Gapdel GroenGapdel Groen9 kun oldin
  • The guiltless swordfish summatively marry because parcel orly zip aside a fragile wholesaler. spiteful, sloppy suit

    장성용장성용16 kun oldin
  • In France there’s a lighthouse that is so remote from the continent and seems to be built on a rock in the middle of nowhere that it took 14 years to build it (even though the war between France and Prussia delayed its construction). That’s the Ar-Men lighthouse 🤗

    Thomas DThomas D22 kun oldin
  • The therapeutic cheek clinically examine because asterisk totally found onto a humorous bankbook. complex, hapless iron

    Magic SkillzMagic Skillz22 kun oldin
  • I too have an invention to fix light houses. I call it.... *light!*

    Itty Bitty channelItty Bitty channel23 kun oldin
  • @0:51 St. Augustine Lighthouse would be surprised to learn they're located in Jacksonville. It's not even the same county.

    jlillerjliller25 kun oldin
  • Airport beacons can use these, not very bright, but boy can you see them at a distance.

    jfsa380jfsa38025 kun oldin
  • The military earthquake ultrasonographically desert because fox scully flow unto a future futuristic heaven. disgusted, knowing antarctica

    Super ManSuper Man26 kun oldin
  • I remember a couple years ago I went to visit family on an island where there was this little one-room museum of the island's history, and it had one of these lenses set up in the corner being spun on its original machinery. Initially I was actually frightened by the thing, but it's popped back up in my mind every so often because I wanted to know what it was. Now that I know it's probably taller than me I'm not sure I've gotten over my initial inhibition 😅

    Latitude NorthLatitude NorthOy oldin
  • Intriguing video! Unfortunately you missed the main point about fresnel lenses on why they were adopted. They break up the refraction of light from one single heavy lens into smaller prisms. Not only does this use less glass and therefore less heavy, it is also easier to manufacture (large optical elements need to cool very slowly to avoid cracks and deformations). Additionally the light does travel through less glass there is less light absorbed in the lens, which makes it more efficient. Some of the deployed designs also included mirrors for the outermost rays, which are inherently more efficient than transmissive lenses but engineers probably had not figured out how to manufacture those back in the day yet (look at modern telescopes, almost no transmissive designs are used anymore, also because there is no color diffraction).

    RCP-1136RCP-1136Oy oldin
  • Man ‘The Lighthouse’ (2019) is such a genuine masterpiece

    eggeggOy oldin
  • Great video

    Aly pixarAly pixarOy oldin
  • If there’s something I learnt from this video, it’s checkmate flatearthers

    DanksterDanksterOy oldin
  • Does anyone else work in entertainment lighting and knew this story already?

    C ShendgeC ShendgeOy oldin
  • If it was not for Augustin-Jean Fresnel we not have VR today we all thank you good sir and to all the lives you saved over the hundreds of years.

    Leoken LeSkyyLeoken LeSkyyOy oldin
  • aye, our lighthouse is in this video!

    Derpydogz025Derpydogz025Oy oldin
  • I've seen those fresnel lens in old school projector, the one with transparent slides

    Sabiq RusydiSabiq RusydiOy oldin
  • i live 1 mile from the st.augastine lighthouse

    Tree ZTree ZOy oldin
  • We know how far light from a lighthouse goes, it's part of two-way radio and microwave communication calculations. It also factors in to the range of communications from airplanes and to airports.

    LOManLOManOy oldin
  • are they made of crystal so they can be ground??

    Get ProbedGet ProbedOy oldin
  • as a professional photographer, I can tell you the a studio light with a fresnel lens is incredibly effective

    Timothy DingmanTimothy DingmanOy oldin
  • Why can’t more boomers get into this, instead of QAnon or the QAnon adjacent?

    Thoro CommentsThoro CommentsOy oldin
  • Oh hey they put these in VR headsets (to allow for thinner capable of such a close focal point)

    FiNiTeFiNiTeOy oldin
  • Shoutout to St. Augustine! The oldest city in America and one of my personal favorites!

    David MarciniakDavid MarciniakOy oldin
  • So do you answer about spacial light? Are the steps the same?

    margaret neanovermargaret neanoverOy oldin
  • I need my lighthouse now

    margaret neanovermargaret neanoverOy oldin
  • Wish you all a very happy and prosperous New year God bless you all May your parents get 100 years of life ❤️🙏

    Nature HacksNature HacksOy oldin
  • That's cool that y'all covered our light house here on the Jersey Shore

    Dan ValentineDan ValentineOy oldin
  • Proverbs 8:17💕

    Lisa Love MinistriesLisa Love MinistriesOy oldin
  • Very cool!

    Doctor QuackenbushDoctor QuackenbushOy oldin
  • i just got a shirt from goodwill that has lighthouses on hit

    211 _211 _Oy oldin
  • I love when Vox makes these cool videos about cool engineering.

    Jack GreenJack GreenOy oldin
  • Sand bars shift everywhere, certainly not quick enough to cause problems in the local shipping industries. Nice try though!

    Michael steffensMichael steffensOy oldin
    • @Michael steffens True NOAA navi charts are released annually (amendments can be issued more frequently) but modern Apps are updated very often whenever a hazard is noted. The video is referencing historical navigation so it was a huge problem.

      tw ttw tOy oldin
    • @tw t often? No time period? Just going to suggest I’m wrong with no reason. Move along bud. Sand bar maps are done annually.

      Michael steffensMichael steffensOy oldin
    • Wrong. They do. Charts have to be updated often. Modern internet download helps. Are you forgetting about rivers?

      tw ttw tOy oldin
  • Honestly I could barely understand even half of the dialogue in the lighthouse movie.

    Martin MaMartin MaOy oldin
  • Great video

    Smooth Relaxation - Study MusicSmooth Relaxation - Study MusicOy oldin
  • does anyone else want to buy a decommissioned lighthouse that can turn into a rocket ship or is it just me?

    Sukh DaskaSukh DaskaOy oldin
  • "What" Get the reference?

    DylanDylanOy oldin
    • What?

      Artworks Florida Classic Fresnel Lenses, LLCArtworks Florida Classic Fresnel Lenses, LLCOy oldin
  • Any Uzumaki readers down here?

    sangeetha ravindransangeetha ravindranOy oldin
  • This lens is like something that you saw somewhere but just can’t remember

    Fun zoneFun zoneOy oldin
  • Spill your beans.

    Laura PalmerLaura PalmerOy oldin
  • Ah, lighthouses. They have such a charm that i will probably never experience due to where i live, though i wonder how far could it shine if GPS was never invented and the tech kept developing.

    M PM POy oldin
    • The tech kept developing, but the direction it went in is mostly about being low-maintenance rather that brighter. Example: solar-powered acrylic-plastic Vega beacons with LEDs. Even before GPS, radio beacons and LORAN had come along, plus electric lighting in general meaning long stretches of coast that were once pitch black at night are now well-lighted.

      jlillerjliller25 kun oldin
  • make one inside out to work with sunlight,and reap the POWER"

    michael beardmoremichael beardmoreOy oldin
  • "France to flordia" *shows image of cape Hatteras NC

    SiriskyubiSiriskyubiOy oldin
    • Oh wait nevermind looked just like one they show of Hatteras all the time here

      SiriskyubiSiriskyubiOy oldin
  • The inventor and his inventions that suspended by USA Government. **SPOILER** Nikola Tesla Note: Otis T. Carr learned "how to use universe's energy" . USA has suspended him too.

    Ord. Prof. Dr. Abuzer Kömürcü Son Zürriyet AlıcıOrd. Prof. Dr. Abuzer Kömürcü Son Zürriyet AlıcıOy oldin
  • I miss the clean-shaven Phil Edwards.

    RaymondHngRaymondHngOy oldin
  • "Lewis Lamp: hey it's better then not having one" What an ad slogan lol

    Richard CharbonneauRichard CharbonneauOy oldin
  • This is something I never thought about but was always subconsciously curious about

    Linda SeekaLinda SeekaOy oldin
  • Thanks for the video. From Nova Scotia.

    René BouillonRené BouillonOy oldin
  • I'm not into lighthouses, but is it bad I've been to 3 named in the video?

    weston maloneweston maloneOy oldin
  • This video was in full portrait mode (taking up the whole screen) then I hit expand and it rotated like normal. I couldn't get it back to the original long portrait mode. How do I get that?

    Brian LoperBrian LoperOy oldin
  • It's not that the fresnel lens collects more light than the same size of solid plano-convex lense, it collects the same ammount. It weighs something like a quarter of the same diameter solid lens so it's possible to make much larger lenses. The 'expert' in this video obviously doesn't know this. If you need a good example get one of those small plastic often rectangular lenses used to make reading small print easier. It too is a fresnel but it this case the plano-convex equivalent would be dozens of times heavier

    Lew HuntLew HuntOy oldin
    • Lew, The reference to the Fresnel lens collecting more light, was comparing it to metallic reflectors, not plano-convex lenses. Reflectors allowed light to escape out the front. The diagram that was used was a Lewis Lamp that was invented in the U.S. This design had a plano-convex lens in front of a spherical reflector, but did not work well. Typically the reflectors that were used worldwide were parabolic reflectors. You are correct that the Fresnel lens design reduced the weight by decreasing the thickness and allowing the bullseye and belt lenses to be much larger. But the main advantage to the Fresnel design was to eliminate spherical aberration. Plano-convex lenses were very bad at focusing the light at the perimeter of the lens. The stepped design of the Fresnel lens adjusted the face angle of each zone to correct spherical aberration, and direct all the light rays to exit horizontal into a concentrated beam.

      Artworks Florida Classic Fresnel Lenses, LLCArtworks Florida Classic Fresnel Lenses, LLCOy oldin

    ssabykoopsssabykoopsOy oldin
  • Aust-Agder county have been merged with Vest-Agder and just became Agder county - that happen two years ago.

    Stian ThomassenStian ThomassenOy oldin
  • The Lighthouse Stephensons by Bella Bathurst charts the Stephenson family who built lighthouses through many generations. They did a lot of pioneering work with lenses, especially Fresnel. The author, Robert Stephenson, was one of their generations who worked on, but hated lighthouses and the sea with a vengeance. They are not the locomotive Stephensons, another family.

    Neil BainNeil BainOy oldin
  • should have explained how light house works

    just4fun607just4fun607Oy oldin
  • always top content

    Serhii ToporSerhii ToporOy oldin
  • I remember a story about how, at the Split Rock Light, the mechanism was out of lubricant and couldn’t work properly, and so the keepers had to spin it by hand and by stopwatch all night, waiting for a shipment of lubricant to make its way there, either up the little tram way, or hoisted up the cliffs.

    sheller153sheller153Oy oldin
  • I grew up in Paignton, Devon. From my bedroom window I could see Berry Head Lighthouse. The lighthouse protecting ships & trawlers from the 200ft limestone cliffs of Berry Head near Brixham, just around the coast. It was both the highest & the shortest lighthouse in the UK due to it being stop Berry Head. I remember watching it's light sweep across my window. Two flashes then a pause, two flashes then a pause. Hypnotic, even that far away. Growing up with a lighthouse you can see does make a connection with you. Comforting, even though you're only sailing a bed through the night. Flash... Flash... wait... wait... wait... wait... wait... Flash... Flash... there it is...

    Les HemmingsLes HemmingsOy oldin
  • No sooner did I see the video caption than I hit the like button

    träume.traumasträume.traumasOy oldin
  • Fascinating! Fresnel lenses have so many uses!

    Rob BabcockRob BabcockOy oldin
  • The mighty denim subsequently scorch because kilometer overwhelmingly heap circa a tired appeal. synonymous, tiny thermometer

    Brandon MalcolmBrandon MalcolmOy oldin
  • Vox believed there was some enchantment in the light

    George WashingtonGeorge WashingtonOy oldin
  • Why not go into _any_ of the math and physics? This was such a light-touch story... didn't really say anything concrete.

    UsernameUsernameOy oldin
  • I have experience as a lighting engineer intern at US Bank Stadium and I had no idea that Fresnel lights (and lenses) were this old.

    Tanner RobinsonTanner RobinsonOy oldin
  • Baader-Meinhof effect with this thing the last few days.

    Sagamore StrathgardaSagamore StrathgardaOy oldin
  • I love how Americans always makes it about themselves

    Peter JörgensonPeter JörgensonOy oldin
  • Fun fact: The lighthouse of Alexandria used fire and mirrors and the mirrors acted as a death ray and could set ships ablaze and also could be seen for more than over 3 kilometers away according to Modern day small scale tests

    magnet Fisher Irish boymagnet Fisher Irish boyOy oldin
  • Lighthouses are still creepy to me

    Last WhisperLast WhisperOy oldin
  • Not to be a hater, but the Graveyard of the Atlantic is the Outer Banks in NC. Loved the video otherwise! ❤️

    Burgin MackeyBurgin MackeyOy oldin
  • The inside of the plastic taillight lens on any car.

    George BrillGeorge BrillOy oldin
  • Ah yes, of course. A lighthouse video before sleeping

    TatalinoTatalinoOy oldin
  • The thumbnail reminded me of that lighthouse chapter in Uzumaki by Junji ito 😬

    NightNightOy oldin
  • Vox: Made you care about problem you dont since 2010

    ghaiz ghazghaiz ghazOy oldin
  • Need dark houses

    matthew mannmatthew mannOy oldin
  • There is always a lighthouse...

    Ink BassInk BassOy oldin
  • The berserk pig analytically reproduce because shears suggestively clear among a educated headlight. pushy, languid doctor

    Lloyd PhillipsLloyd PhillipsOy oldin
  • Why not just use lasers

    Kevin LuoKevin LuoOy oldin
  • Fresnell lenses don't do anything that ordinary lenses can't, they just do it using less space and less glass.

    vinzent1992vinzent1992Oy oldin

    Lasse HenriksenLasse HenriksenOy oldin
  • Gustaf Dalén should be mentioned in this context.

    SeeyaySeeyayOy oldin
  • wooo lighthouse history

    Ray's RoomRay's RoomOy oldin
  • "It just wasnt stronenuf" 0:41

    KronkKronkOy oldin

    Chris KyleChris KyleOy oldin
  • bitcoin will save our lives as well

    AlolaAlolaOy oldin
  • Very cool!

    F ArF ArOy oldin
  • the fact that light house experts exist makes me happy

    Xander JohnsXander JohnsOy oldin
    • There's actually quite a few. The Coast Guard still trains members to keep them up and running.

      John ForemanJohn ForemanOy oldin
  • Why this is not part of Almanac?

    Richard LimRichard LimOy oldin
  • I can see the barnegat lighthouse from my house and I drive my boat through that inlet all the time

    Matthew CoonMatthew CoonOy oldin
  • Thanks lighthouses for my vr headset

    Sean HarrisSean HarrisOy oldin
  • Very good video. It has amazing production quality and I can say that I have happily subscribed

    Dylan ProtheroDylan ProtheroOy oldin
  • There's always a man, always a lighthouse, always a city...

    RainingMetalRainingMetalOy oldin
  • Lighthouses are still useful to this day because measuring the angle to two lighthouses gives your position more accurately than GPS can.

    Kelly MosesKelly MosesOy oldin
  • could this be applied in reverse for Solar panels ?=

    tobias bleytobias bleyOy oldin
  • I'm happy that Fresnel lenses are getting more recognition !

    Luciano LizanaLuciano LizanaOy oldin
  • Outer banks vibes...

    Simmi ASimmi AOy oldin
  • What.

    NicoBabyman1NicoBabyman1Oy oldin
  • I guess they would use powerful lasers today?

    SnowmanSnowmanOy oldin
  • thanks, vox. learned something new

    Rakib ShahariaRakib ShahariaOy oldin