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Claude J. Tipple Collection
Faulkner’s Island Foghorn Megaphone Series
Date of Photos: 1899 to 1900

This collection of glass plate negatives was acquired by Joel Helander for the Guilford Keeping Society Library Committee in November, 2021 from Barry K. Jones of Milford, NY

Barry Jones first contacted the Faulkner’s Light Brigade’s president Mr. Fred Farnsworth, via email in October 2006. Variously over the years, Joel has been in contact with Barry Jones to encourage permanent placement of the collection in a Guilford repository.  Barry Jones made an express trip to Guilford for delivery of the glass plate negatives, which were in their original brown sleeves or envelopes with many original handwritten identifications made in light pencil. There are forty 5x8” size plates and three 6 ½ x 8 ½ inch plates, in total 43 plates.

The photographer—Claude J. Tipple (1878–1947)—was only 21/22 years of age at the time the photos were taken. Mr. Tipple is Barry Jones’ paternal great grandfather. The glass plates were salvaged from Barry Jones’ parents’ home in Milford, NY.

How and why Mr. Tipple began his association with Mr. Robert F. Foster of Brooklyn, NY is unknown. Foster was the inventor of a fog horn megaphone that was set up experimentally on the Faulkner’s Island government light station. Whether Tipple was hired by Foster or  by the U.S. Government to document the experiment on the island is unknown, but it is suspected that it was Foster who retained Tipple’s services. More than half of the negative images show finely detailed close-ups of various mechanical parts of the megaphone apparatus.  

The Island Called Faulkner’s book (1988) by J. E. Helander chronicles the Foster fog horn megaphone experiment. The omni-directional megaphone was ultimately not adopted by the U.S. Lighthouse Establishment on Faulkner’s or elsewhere because Foster’s theory of rotating trumpet horns was not proven to be any more effective than a single trumpet horn.

Several of the glass plate images are photographs taken on Faulkner’s Island. They show rich and novel details, such as Mr. Foster himself, Lightkeeper Captain Ernest Hermann, the rear of the keeper’s dwelling with bell tower, the wharf with boat hoisting davits, construction of the megaphone platform, the A-frame steam fog whistle building, close-ups of the multiple megaphone trumpets, close-ups of the gear box machinery with compressed air pipes, etc.

A number of the images were clearly taken elsewhere, mostly for the  purpose of documenting other fog horn installations and devices, such as the Robert Hope-Jones diaphone fog horn and the Crosby fog siren. One image appears to be an exhibit hall with tables of machine devices, perhaps at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY, which occurred in 1901, one year after the CJT photo series. Educational exhibits at the Exposition show-cased the latest advancements in technology.



Faulkner’s island wharf, showing davit hoists coal pocket, well pump, lobster pots on wharfs log cribbing, wooden barrels, 6 men at end of wharf


Faulkner’s Island close-up of platform construction of foghorn megaphone. Original envelope: Getting engine foundation ready, no 32


Faulkner’s Island one foghorn megaphone on platform before installation of compressed air machinery with one man, prob Mr. R.F. Foster


Close up of 8 foghorn megaphone trumpets with gear box and belt displayed inside a building.


Faulkner’s Island man fitting compressed air pipe 2-3 inches onto machinery for revolving foghorn megaphones. Note A-frame steam fog whistle building which fixes the island location


Man with overalls standing with unidentified machinery driven by a belt from compressed air Indoor machine shop view


Foster fog horn megaphone device close-up view of gearbox and underside of trumpets.


Megaphone apparatus fully assembled under cylindrical roof possibly Faulkner’s Island. Note embankment and water body


Mechanical close-up


Mechanical close-up. Hope Jones diaphone


Close-up of mechanics of foghorn megaphone on roof underside, with portions of multiple megaphones visible


Mr. R. F. Foster & Captain Hermwin examining alarge megaphone


Faulkner’s Island construction of platform for foghorn megaphone showing 4 workmen. A-frame steam foy whistle building with light tower & dwelling house in background


Faulkner’s Island foghorn megaphone on platform before installation of compressed air machinery with 3 men


Mr. R.F. Foster examining gear assembly for megaphones


Close up of a man, not Mr. Foster, examining foghorn single megaphone


Mrs. Lewis reclining in chair on deck of large German vessel Kronprinz Wilhelm Bremen


Man standing next to display counter with various gadgets including a Victrola trumpet possibly an exhibit out of focus and underexposed


Large unidentified industrial building at a dockside with sailboat masts in background Single letter Z on building top, rail tracks leading to building


Mechanical close-up 8 megaphone machines


Mechanical close-up


Mechanical parts on board ship


Faulkner’s Island Lighthouse, southside with bearded man sitting on rear doorstep, prob Captain Hermwin, clothes hanging on line, fog bell house, half portion of tower with weathervane

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