Risk and Insurance Trivia # 1

The archaeologist Hermann Thiersch's 1918 drawing of  the Pharos of Alexandria

The archaeologist Hermann Thiersch’s 1918 drawing of the Pharos of Alexandria

Lighthouses have saved thousands of ships and countless lives over the centuries.

The earliest ones appear to have been towers in which fires were lit and tendered by priests or monks.

The first purpose built lighthouse is believed to have been the Pharos of Alexandria (Egypt on the Mediterranean Sea) built in the third century BC. A top this massive structure the light from a fire was focused on bronze mirrors into a beam which due to the height of the edifice could be seen for 56 kilometres away.

The first lighthouse to be powered by electricity was the Dungeness Lighthouse in Southern England in 1862.

With the introduction of electricity to lighthouses meant that they no longer needed to be manned.

As is the case in most countries, there are no longer any manned lighthouses in New Zealand or Australia.

Lighthouses, nonetheless continue to be a valued risk management measure to the maritime and insurance industries.

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