The new light will not be as powerful as the lens that was installed in 1859, Rinaldi pointed out. The original lens, which is on display at the Barnegat Light Museum and Gardens, is about 10 feet by 8 feet with a kerosene lamp at its center.
The soon-to-be-installed lens is about 20 inches high and 20 inches wide, composed of Lucite panels. A rotating turntable behind the panels can accommodate a 10- to 100-watt bulb. The Coast Guard has approved the use of the new light, which is being imported from Vega Industries Limited in New Zealand at a cost of about $15,000, Rinaldi said.
As the turntable rotates, the light strikes a panel that refracts and magnifies the light to create a single beam that can be visible for up to 22 nautical miles.
This is all being done to commemorate the 150 anniversary of the lighthouse, first lit on Jan. 1, 1859. Old Barney is probably one of the most recognizable sights at the Jersey Shore. I have climbed all 217 steps to the observation deck a few times. The first visit, in the 1980s, revealed that about 172 feet below, our car was parked on the helipad. Oops.