Taiwan has had lighthouses from as early as 1868, meaning they have been around for 149 years. There are, in all, 36 lighthouses around the island, each with their own unique architectural style, having been built over a period including the Qing dynasty, Japanese colonial rule, and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) era.
On Mar. 1 the Maritime and Port Bureau established the first lighthouse culture museum in Keelung. The museum will initially display 60 different kinds of lighting equipment, among them the incandescent mantle lamp invented in 1904. When lit, this lamp emits powerful rays, and it would have been the best light source available to lighthouses 100 years ago. A range of different lamps, from incandescent lights and wick oil lamps to carbide lamps, were developed and evolved over the years, and each one of them, marked and mottled, speak of a bygone era.
Lin Chung-fa, who has been a lighthouse keeper in Keelung for over a decade, has previously served on over 10 lighthouses, including on the Pengjia Islet, Cape Fuguei, Sandiaoling and in Hualien. He says that you can enjoy wonderful views as you work, and seeing Taiwan from offshore gives you a feeling difficult to put into words. In his free time he was able to go diving and fishing and to go bird watching and, he says, even with today’s GPS systems, lighthouses still have the ability to make you feel safe and secure.
(CNA, translated by Paul Cooper)
1. ray [of light] n.
2. [lamp] wick /w?k/ n.
3. bygone era n. phr
(chen2 nian2 wang3 shi4)
4. view n.