From:South Georgia Museum
About this objectThis whale beacon was attached to killed whales as they floated in the ocean. The beacon emitted a light which made the whales easier to trace when the ships returned to haul in the catch.
Medium and Materialsmetal, glass, rubber
Inscription and Marksposition: top plate; method: stamped plastic; content: "SCREW DOWN TIGHT / WHEN SWITCING ON"
position: top plate; method: stamped plastic; content: "AP. / 202754
MeasurementsL. 56cm; Dia. 15.5cm
Subject and Association Description“It is a whale beacon from the early 1950s. This was one of the last to be purely light for after then a combined light, radio transmitter, and radar reflector was used. These usually has [sic] Ni-Cd accumulators and fittings to be places [sic] on the whale marker (usually a sharp long crow-bar thing). There were several variations on the theme – and this was one of the best. The most common just had a cylindrical battery box and a lamp with a Fresnel lens (I’ve got one at home, the Sandefjord whaling museum was not interested in it as they have plenty).
The big bright red cylinders (40cm long, 15 dia) which I had in KEP were the version which replaced them when the cable to the light also acted as an aerial. The one you have, as you will have seen, a very solid object better built than most others. The switch is an innovation as the earlier ones merely needed the battery to be put in and the case screwed closed for it to operate.
There were also similar things on life-belts, but these had automatic switches so they illuminated after being chucked in the sea (and they looked more like they had the ability to float)
R K Headland
Supplementary Information?: Recovered from Husvik by the donor (Dr W Block) during his work on South Georgia as a Research Biologist between 1976-1997
Copyright LicenceAll rights reserved