Name

Winslow Lewis

Career

Business/Commerce

Occupation 1

lighthouse builder

Occupation 2

sailor

Identifier

Massachusetts

Region

NA/New England region

Era

Heroic Age of Sail (1816-1865)

Born

1770

Died

1850

Source

DAB

Text

...had attained the rank of captain and made several voyages as a commander before retiring to engage in business in Boston. He left the sea before 1810, and in the War of 1812 he commanded the Boston Sea Fencibles, a volunteer organization of seamen. He was captured by the British in this war, but it was while he was on his way to inspect a lighthouse, and he was soon released on parole. He was a member of the first Common Council of the City of Boston in 1822... He was president of the Boston Marine Society, a semi-official organization of shipmasters, from 1818 to 1820; and he was a member and officer of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company.
His chief business was as a contractor and builder... his nautical experience probably led him to specialize in designing and building lighthouses and providing equipment for them. ...he obtained a patent for a �lantern, reflecting and magnifying� for illuminating lighthouses, and in 1811 it was installed in Boston Light for trial. It proved satisfactory, and Secretary Fallatin contracted with him to put his lamps and reflectors in all the United States lighthouses, then forty-nine in number, Lewis giving a bond for $60,000 to save half the previous consumption of oil. When this work was completed in 1815, he entered into another agreement to supply all lighthouses with the best sperm oil for seven years, and to visit each of them annually and report its condition. He also built about a hundred structures for the lighthouse service. Some of these, like the beacon on Romer Shoal, New York Harbor, have been replaced; but others, like the beacon on Bowditch�s ridge in Salem Harbor, still stand (1933). [In 1808] he received a patent for a binnacle light [and ten years later] received another patent for lamps.

Related Images

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