a new Light was first exhibited on July 16

dec-sev

Senior Member
Russian
Hello.

From an article on the Fraser Island Lighthouse (source):

"....a temporary light was displayed until a new Light was positioned back on the coast on Perth Hill, a short distance from the original Point Cloates Lighthouse light, and was first exhibited on July 16, 1966."

I'm not quite sure what "exhibited" means in this context. It looks like the meaning is 'the light was first lit', but I'm not sure because I've never come across this meaning of 'to exhibit' before.
 
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  • wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Yes, it must mean the same as displayed, meaning that the light was put in operation.
    Unfortunately, the sentence is not well expressed, since as written it could mean that the temporary light was first operated on July 16, 1966, but the context indicates it was the Perth Hill light which first came on then.
    It would be clearer if the last clause were made into a separate sentence, starting:
    'The Perth Hill light was first...'
     

    dec-sev

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I went on with my searh and foound a similar sentence:

    A fixed light is occasionally exhibited at an elevation of 18 feet from a mast 34 feet in height, situated on Duck Wharf and a similar light is occasionally exhibited at an elevation of 7 feet, at the head of the ferry pier.

    It's from a pdf document and I can't give you a link. I'm confused about a 'occasionally exhibited' bit. You say that the meaning is 'was put in operation', but how a light can be put in operation occasionally? It looks like the second example is about an alternating light and 'occasionally exhibited' means that it periodically switches on and off. What do you think?
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I find the verb "exhibited" rather odd here, and I couldn't find it in the OED either, but then I'm not a lighthouse keeper.

    If the synonym "shown" had been used instead, I would have thought it unremarkable. This sense of "show" has its own entry in the OED:
    1e. To hold up or place (a light) where it can be seen (as a signal, to point out the way in the dark, etc.). Also fig.

    My guess is that the author was familiar with this use of the verb "show", but remembered his schoolteacher's advice to avoid the plain and ordinary word, and replaced it with "exhibited".

    I suppose that "occasionally exhibited" means something like "shown only in exceptionally bad weather".
     
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    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    'Exhibited' means that the light is shown: it is switched on, actually in operation, shining out. Thus 'occasionally exhibited' means it is shown from time to time. I would not read this as 'alternating on and off automatically', but rather that the light is used at certain times and not others.
    'Fixed' presumably means that it does not rotate or oscillate.
     

    pwmeek

    Senior Member
    English - American
    As a long-time recreational boater, and an avid reader of all things nautical (including Coast Guard Light Lists): Exhibit and display are used to describe the actual visible light that it shows. Thus a light house may exhibit a light with some characteristic (fixed, alternating, occulting, flashing, etc.). The lighthouse may be called a light, but that is a noun referring to its function rather than the visible radiation.

    Yes, fixed is one of eight types of light signal that may be exhibited, and does mean continuous or uninterrupted.
     
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    dec-sev

    Senior Member
    Russian
    As a long-time recreational boater, and an avid reader of all things nautical (including Coast Guard Light Lists): Exhibit and display are used to describe the actual visible light that it shows. Thus a light house may exhibit a light with some characteristic ...
    Could you please specify the bit in blue. As far as I understand it, one should use 'exibited' when the light is actually buring and the sentence "A fixed light is occasionally exhibited at an elevation of 18 feet from a mast 34 feet in height, situated on Duck Wharf" cannot be said by a sailor who is seeing the light in quesiton for the first time becasue he doesn't know if the light is constanly lit /exhibited or occasionally. Right?
     

    pwmeek

    Senior Member
    English - American
    The sentence "A fixed light is occasionally exhibited at an elevation of 18 feet from a mast 34 feet in height, situated on Duck Wharf" sounds like a line from a Light List (official publication describing all lights in an area) or from the Notices to Mariners (a periodic publication describing changes to Light Lists and charts). A sailor would never say that, unless quoting an entry from the Light List to another person. A sailor would say, "Look; the light on Duck Wharf is on tonight" if he was familiar with it, and maybe, "What's that light?" if he wasn't. Note well that a sailor who has any responsibility for navigation would never go into unfamiliar waters without researching (from Light Lists and charts) the characteristics of any lights that he might encounter.

    The phrase in blue explains that "exhibit" is used to mean that visible radiation shines from the source which is being described. Just as in the Duck Wharf sentence: "At Duck Wharf there is a mast 34 feet tall, and on that mast there is a fixture (light) at the 18 foot level which shines (on some days) in a fixed (it doesn't blink or flash) manner." It's like any specialized speech. You get used to it.

    A Light is what you would see looking across the water at night. It may shine from a pole, a lighthouse, a building etc. It is described by how it appears: Fixed, Flashing, Quick Flashing, Group Flashing, Occulting and several others. The beam displayed from (or exhibited by) a lighthouse may rotate, but it is never described that way. The description will be what you see from a distance; if the rotating beam is narrow, so that you see a short flash of white light and a longer period of darkness with the whole cycle taking 5 seconds, it "exhibits a flashing white light (5 seconds)" in the List, or "Fl W 5sec" on charts.

    Some confusion may be caused by the fact that a lighthouse (or any other light) may be described by what it does: "There is a flashing red light on that point of land," as opposed to "The Stone Point Lighthouse exhibits (or displays) a red flashing light." Thus Light (as in the original post) might mean either the Lighthouse itself, or the Light which would be described on charts and in Light Lists. From the context, it is the latter.
     
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