Large Ship’s Kerosene Navigation Light by W. Doxford

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Very Rare Navigation Light from a Large Ship!
DIMENSIONS: Lamp not counting bails, 22”  high    Overall
height 28″                  Diameter of 10”.

The top bail adds 3” plus the bottom bail + 3″            LENS:
8″ W x 5 1/2″ H          Weight 20 lbs

 is the
largest antique kerosene ships navigation light we’ve ever discovered. The maker’s tag on the front is imprinted W. Doxford
& Sons Ltd, Sunderland, England and carries the serial number 
Q 443. It was intended for use when a ship was “Not Under Command” as stated in the tag
immediately beneath it. Not Under Command generally meant that the vessel was restricted in her ability to
maneuver, aground or without propulsion. The red all around filter that was used is removable so that the lamp will
show a white light, and therefore may be used as an anchor light.

The contrasting brass details
against the copper lamp are dramatic

The shape of this lamp allowed it to be used as a distress signal with the red lens installed
or as an anchor light when it was removed. An internal hurricane chimney was not necessary.  Note the large bail
or stirrup at the bottom of the lamp which helped guide it when it was raised or lowered. Fueling would last for about
eight days.

Maker’s tag and
latch and hook with chain

Detail shows
the lower bail or down-haul
burner. No hurricane glass

was an English shipbuilder which started operations in 1840 in the Pallion area of Sunderland, located in the North of
England, and in Scotland. Sunderland became the largest shipbuilding town in the world – a distinction it held for more than
130 years, and William Doxford’s grew along with it. The yard was most noted for their Tramp Steamer design which
served in two Wars and the 178 Turret Deck ships they built from 1893 to 1914 that were designed to reduce the charges
for passing through the Suez Canal. They had a very narrow deck and their beam increased at the waterline down which allowed
them to carry a large cargo and beat the measurement rule. Shown is a Doxford turret ship of that period. During both World
Wars, they made ships for the War Department, i.e. 20 destroyers and Ministry of Shipping, many freighters. After
WW II they were acquired by J.L. Thomson & Sons another Sunderland builder which ceased operations in 1961.


The SS Tredegar shown
above is a typical Doxford built Turret Deck ship. This lamp would date to an earlier period and is the largest navigation
light that we have seen of this type.  Old fashioned Turn of 20th Century styling.


Compare the 22″ lamp in the center to the lamps on each side. The right is 19″ H x 6 1/2″ W



               The burner and red lens are loaded from the top


CONDITION: This lamp is in excellent condition with only the usual minor marks of age from
use at sea. The Fresnel lens is perfect. The kerosene burner is original. The knurled knobs are stamped “Best British
Make” on three lines. The knob on the left is bent and wiggles. No hurricane glass is fitted.

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