Pat Shingleton: "The Attic Fan and The Lighthouse..."
"How did they do it back then?" This question requires lots of historical answers, especially with our recent collection of 90 degree readings and needed air conditioning. When inspecting our first home in Baton Rouge in 1979, I questioned the realtor about an enormous attic fan. Covered by a wooden grate, when I switched it on, against the advice of my wife, a whirlwind of dust ensued. Even though this older home was later converted to conditioned air, it was a subtle reminder as to how residents dealt with the heat years ago. An attic fan created comfort and it did it solely on the principle of circulation. With opened, screened windows, a persistent draft of air would flow from room to room. An additional ceiling fan also enhanced the movement of air. By recycling the rising heat, this simple device provided a down draft of comfortable air. Another "old" story included the keeper of the lighthouse who kept the lamps lit using kerosene. The light houseman donned a pair of colored goggles, preventing blurred vision from the ignition flash. From the coast of the Pacific Northwest to California, the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic seaboard, more than a thousand lighthouses guided the ships at sea away from coastal tragedy and brought many a captain through gales, storms or fog. There is only one manned lighthouse remaining in New England – the Boston Light. The other was kept for 65 years by Frank Schubert who manned the Coney Island Lighthouse. He and his dog, Blazer, remained on duty until December 11 of 2003. Schubert died at the age of 88, the last Coast Guard civilian lighthouse keeper.