HC Deb 13 September 1886 vol 309 cc183-4

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade, Whether the object of the experiments conducted by the Trinity House at the South Foreland was to ascertain whether oil, gas, or electricity is the best illuminant for lighthouses; whether, in these trials, the best form of oil light and the best form of electric light were tried, and whether a trial was refused to the double quadriform, the best form of gas light; whether the reasons given for refusing a trial to the double quadriform gas light are not completely set aside by Professor Barrett's description to the Royal Dublin Society of the light and its performance; whether that description plainly indicates that the advantage of increasing the light to double its power, claimed for the gas system, cannot be obtained by the oil system; and, whether it is expedient that this question should be tested by practical trial?

THE SECRETARY (Baron HENRY DE WORMS) (Liverpool, East Toxteth)

The object of the recent experiments by the Trinity House at the South Foreland was to ascertain the relative value of the three lighthouse illuminants named. The best adopted forms of lighthouse electric and oil lights were tried; also the best form of gaslight yet adopted as an illuminant by any general lighthouse authority. The Board of Trade are not aware that the double quadriform is the best form of gaslight, and no lighting authority has yet applied to them for sanction to its adoption. The reason for not trying other lights than those experimented with was, as stated in an answer given to the hon. Member by my Predecessor on the 17th of June last, and I am still advised, that the value of the double quadriform gaslight can be calculated from the results already obtained. Professor Barrett stated his opinion that the high temperature within the lantern when double quadriform lights were burning would be fatal to the employment of mineral oil. The Board of Trade are of opinion that no further trials are necessary to demonstrate the possibility of increasing the intensity of the various illuminants to the highest power required by the mariner. Since the experiments were completed, the lighthouse authorities have devised, and the Board of Trade have sanctioned, both gas and oil lights of about equal intensity to the double quadriform gaslight referred to, with a lower temperature inside the lantern.