Antique Wrought Iron Lantern - Port Jefferson, New York  by © Sophie W. Smith

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A lantern is a portable lighting device or mounted light fixture used to illuminate broad areas. Lanterns may also be used for signaling, as ‘torches’, or as general light sources outdoors (such as camping). Low light level varieties are used for decoration. The term “lantern” is also used more generically to mean a ‘light source’ or the enclosure for a light source. Examples are glass pane enclosed street lights, or the housing for the top lamp and lens section of a lighthouse.

Lanterns are first spoken of by Theopompus, a Greek poet, and Empedocles of Agrigentum. Lanterns were used by the ancients in augury. The only known representation of an ancient Egyptian lantern probably is not much different from those spoken of by John the Evangelist in John 18:3 from the New Testament, where the party of men which went out of Jerusalem to apprehend Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane is described as being provided “with lanterns and torches.”2

The simplest technology used is the candle lantern. Candles give only a very very light light, and must be protected from wind to prevent flickering or complete extinguishment. A typical candle lantern is a metal box or cylinder with glass or mica side panels and an opening or ventilated cover on the top. A primitive form of candle lantern, made from white horn and wood and called a lanthorn, was first made in the time of King Alfred of England.Read more

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  • Otto Danby II
    Otto Danby IIabout 2 years ago

    Beautiful image Sophie, life in Port Jefferson is very picturesque.

  • Thank you Otto! Yes, it is very picturesque, it can be said so for all of Long Island, except certain parts of it.

    – © Sophie W. Smith

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