The Saint Augustine Lighthouse lantern/lamp room (in the old days it was called LANTHORN) houses a Fresnel lens which was crafted in France in the late 1800s. The revolving lens produces a fixed white light, varied every three minutes by a white flash, at a focal plane of 165 feet. Originally fueled by lard oil, the lamp was switched to kerosene, eventually the tower was electrified in 1936. Electricity lessened the lighthouse keeper’s responsibilities, eventually leading to the de-staffing of the lighthouse in 1955. Local lamplighters were subsequently employed to polish the lens and switch the light on and off. David Swain, a former assistant keeper at the lighthouse, filled the role of lamplighter from 1956 to 1968. Full automation of the light occurred around 1971, when a sun relay was installed atop the tower to activate and deactivate the light.
Lighthouse Lantern Room – The round or multi-sided room at the top of the lighthouse tower in which the lens stands on a pedestal and projects its beacon through the room’s surrounding windows.