When you're aboard a ship barreling towards unknown shores, the last thing you want is an inconspicuous lighthouse guiding you in. Our friends at Oobject have a collection of the most extreme examples of lighthouse design from around the world.
If you're looking for more on seafaring vessels, check out these prefabricated ships, some with impossibly large cargo, and some that simply sparkle.
United States Lighthouse Establishment Travelling Lighthouse Library
Being a lighthouse keeper was often a lonely and solitary job, and reading was considered so important that traveling libraries were provided by the precursor to the US Coastguard service.
"The United States Lighthouse Establishment, precursor to the Coast Guard and the governing body of all lighthouses until the early 20th century provided traveling libraries that circulated between each lighthouse. Each library was numbered and housed in a portable box. On the insides of each door contained a reading list of what the library offered as well as a travel log, detailing at which lighthouses the library had been at, and the amount of time spent there."
Lighthouse of Alexandria in Shenzhen
Until some of its remains were discovered in 1994, the Lighthouse of Alexandria remained one the of the Seven Ancient Wonders whose description only existed in text. Now, of course, like entire Austrian towns an imagined replica has been built for a Chinese theme park in Shenzhen.
18th century stone lighthouse section
A cross section of the 18th Century stone Eddystone Lighthouse shows just how massive the structure needed to be before Industrial era engineering.
Enoshima Lighthouse, Japan
Cape Florida lighthouse, free standing spiral stair
Unlike most lighthouses the stair at Cape Florida lighthouse does not touch the surrounding wall, make for a particularly interesting piece of architecture.
Video of lighthouses during very stormy weather
Gives you some idea of the kind of beating they are designed to withstand.
Abandoned Russian Polar Nuclear Lighthouses
Being so remote, soviet engineers decided to power polar lighthouses with nuclear reactors. And now they are abandoned.
Hyperboloid Lighthouse by Vladimir Shukhov
The opposite of what we think of when we imagine a lighthouse. this one is delicate and transparent. A hyperboloid structure designed by the Russian engineer Vladimir Grigorievich Shukhov in 1911.
Workers on Beachy Head Lighthouse, England
This dramatic temporary cable car was built to transport construction workers to the Beachy Head lighthouse near Eastbourne in England.
Wind powered lighthouse railway
According to the text at the link this contraption ferried "V.I.Ps, Military servicemen and Lighthouse crew out to the Lighthouse and Gun installations at the end of South Gare."
Beautiful Lighthouse Lights
Before electricity, lighthouses relied on lamps that would almost be considered mood lighting by today's standards. Mechanisms were clockwork and had to be wound as often as every two hours. In the 19th century, Fresnel designed a lens that could focus this light into parallel rays and project it horizontally, dramatically improving lighthouses. By the end of the century, all lighthouses had Fresnel lenses classified into orders, with first order being the largest and most impressive.
Cleveland Ohio, incredible Ice covered lighthouse
Like the lighthouse at the end of the world, freezing temperatures encased this Great Lakes lighthouse entirely in ice.