When Thomas Tag was a boy in Indiana, he used to swim at the foot of the Michigan City Pierhead Light. Fast forward through his life, and now Tom is a recognized authority on the technical aspects of lighthouses – the lens, lamps, and illuminating apparatus.
Cordouan LIghthouse, France
Tom’s expertise developed when he retired and decided to pursue his interest in lighthouses. His research found that little had been written about their technical elements. As a result, he began to study and investigate that aspect, amassing enough information to author a large number of stories about how lighthouses work and the people who invented the technology.
Tom has been involved with lighthouse research for 22 years now and is president of Great Lakes Lighthouse Research in Chicago, Illinois.
Tom at Dunnet Head Lighthouse, Scotland.
He has written four lighthouse books and numerous technical articles, serves as an advisor to the United States Lighthouse Society, is chairman of the American Lighthouse Council – Artifact Committee, and is a member of the Optics Work Group of the World Lighthouse Society. He is a holder of the Holland Award from the ALC.
Tom has two favorite lighthouses. One of them is the Cordouan lighthouse in France because it held the first Fresnel lens and was built for a king complete with a king’s chamber and his chapel.
Little Sable LIghthouse, MI, photo by Chuck Turk
His favorite lighthouse in the US is Little Sable Point Lighthouse in Michigan, a natural brick tower located on a beautiful beach on Lake Michigan. It was also the subject of the first lighthouse book he authored.
When asked what his most memorable lighthouse experience was, Tom said, “Lighthouses mean many things to different people. On a lighthouse tour my wife and I were part of several years ago we met a woman who had terminal cancer and had had chemo just days before coming on the tour. She came because she loved lighthouses and being around them gave her peace. We talked about her feelings and were inspired by her dedication. Lighthouses can be truly wonderful in many ways.”
Tom hopes that in addition to admiring lighthouses for their beauty, people will discover the “real story” by taking a little extra time to look into their history.
Thanks, Tom, for your efforts to help us understand more about the “real story” of how lighthouses worked.
“Remember the days of old;consider the generations long past.” Deut. 32:7a