The Tod Head lighthouse lantern. The conservation-restoration of a technical object that has been continuously modified over the years

Marie Grima



This paper presents the conservation and reassembly of the Tod Head lighthouse lantern in the storage area of the National Museums Scotland. The Tod Head lighthouse was located on the Scottish east coast, north of Edinburgh. The lantern was dismantled in 2011 and sent to the National Museums Collection Centre. Firstly we look at a technical explanation of a functioning lighthouse. The lighting device – which is called a lantern – uses Fresnel lenses, also called stepped lenses. The design of the lantern was a collaboration between the Scottish engineer David Alan Stevenson and the horologist Augustin Henry-Lepaute, partner of Augustin Fresnel. Secondly, a short history of the object is presented. Throughout the 20th century, the lantern has undergone many changes. The light has been electrified and the mechanism has been motorised. Finally we detail the conservation operations and the reassembly.

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