The Grecian Doric-column lighthouse of Madras (1840) and its builder John Thomas Smith, Madras Army Corps of Engineers

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Abstract

Lighthouses fascinate us. They captivate our minds not only by their imposingly variable structures and engineering nuances, but also by the benefits they offer to sailors. John Thomas Smith of the Madras Army Corps of Engineers was directed to build the stonework lighthouse in Madras in the late 1830s. The present article chronicles the research he did before building the lighthouse and the task he completed in 1838'1839. Today the light apparatus and the lantern seated atop this Doric tower have gone missing. What is immensely striking is that the Doric-column structure, which once provided a beaming light with a wide and long sweep for boats and ships passing along the Madras coast, today stands as a mute testimony of the acumen of a sharp army engineer, burying in it brilliant physical and engineering details of a unique edifice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1106-1111
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Science
Volume111
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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