Interview With Edward Carr

From the interview with Edward Carr of Port Townsend conducted by John Clise on October 26, 2002 at the Fort Worden History Center. Mr. Carr served at Fort Worden in the 248th Coast Artillery during World War II. Here he describes maintaining the searchlights:

“Our searchlights were kept in the balloon hangar. We did all our maintenance down there. Sometimes we’d roll them out on their wheels, and sometimes test them …The searchlights really took quite a bit of maintenance. The mirror had to be polished and it was a stainless steel mirror. They used jeweler’s rouge to polish that mirror to get the high reflective quality. The reason it was stainless steel and not glass was that the light was produced by a carbon arc. These carbon arc rods were about three quarters of an inch in diameter and they would be fed automatically. That arc produced the light, and in an elevated position if there were any sparks that flew off the arc, it would melt a glass mirror. Sparks falling on the stainless steel would not distort the mirror, like it could a glass mirror. The routine maintenance we did required the maintenance of these rods, replacing the rods, being sure they were fed right, and the engine maintenance of the generator.”

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