READ THE ELECTRIC MIRROR . . .
History inside pictures presents much ancient technology and rare history, the hidden gleams in the tarnished jewels of humanity's accounts of the past. The true stories often go unnoticed but burst out brilliantly when exposed by honest historians of any age. But ancient as well as modern chroniclers often fail to see the strength and beauty in sacrificing immediate praise for eternal applause. However, Lucian of Samosata on the Euphrates was not one of those wanton weaklings. We can rely on his honest history and especially on his rare account of the magnificent Pharos Lighthouse—whence its life-saving light once danced o'er the dark and dangerous harbors of ancient Alexandria.
In his brief and often neglected description of this famous lighthouse—included among the rare history laid out in The Electric Mirror on the Pharos Lighthouse and Other Ancient Lighting—this second-century eyewitness, an Egyptian government official, passed on some very wise counsel for historians of all ages when asking:
“Do you know what the Cnidian architect did? He built the tower on Pharos, the mightiest and most beautiful work of all, that a beacon light might shine from it for sailors far over the sea and that they might not be driven on to Paraetonia, said to be a very difficult coast with no escape if you hit the reefs. After he had built the work, he wrote his name on the masonry inside, covered it with gypsum, and having hidden it inscribed the name of the reigning king. He knew, as actually happened, that in a very short time the letters would fall away with the plaster and there would be revealed: ‘Sostratus of Cnidos, the son of Dexiphanes, to the Divine Saviors, for the sake of them that sail the sea.’ Thus, not even he had regard for the immediate moment or his own brief life-time: he looked to our day and eternity, as long as the tower shall stand and his skill shall abide.
“History then should be written in that spirit, with truthfulness and an eye to future expectations rather than with adulation and a view to the pleasure of present praise. There is your rule and standard for impartial history. If there will be some to use this standard, it will be well and I have written to some purpose.”
This ancient technology and rare history site tries to follow Lucian’s standard—in sharing its knowledge on such subjects as the ancient Pharos lighthouse at Alexandria, the Ark or Arc of the Covenant, ancient Egyptian technology, ancient electric lighthouse coins, ancient electric batteries, the Bible, gods, and ancient telescopes to more modern subjects such as politics, unicorns, magic lanterns, arc lights, Nikola Tesla, old airplanes, steam locomotives, carbon arc searchlights, and electric lighthouse beacons. Larry Brian Radka has traced back the electrical foundation for some of these more modern inventions to the technology already employed in various ancient achievements. A few of the outstanding examples are the old beacon lighting up the dangerous Strait of Messina, the electric mirrors lighting up the sky in ancient India, and especially the brilliant carbon arc light flashing across the Mediterranean sea from the famous Greek lighthouse at Alexandria, Egypt, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Ancient electric technology appeared in the Egyptian lighthouse at Alexandria nearly three hundred years before Christ. Speaking well over a millennium later of the ancient Egyptian technology on the Pharos Lighthouse, “which has no equal on the face of the earth,” the medieval Arab geographer Al Bakri claimed the Alexandrians “assigned to its summit the celebrated mirror, which was made from a mixture of remarkable and extraordinary substances; they were able to see by it enemy ships on their way towards Alexandria, several days away, to prepare themselves for defense.” Beside the mirror's function as a telescope, which was obviously used also to study the stars, it was used as a heliostat in sunlight; and at its center, a brilliant arc-light fire flashed out messages on cloudy days and at night.
“That the Pharos was used as a signal-station as well as a lighthouse is certain,” wrote Dr. A. J. Butler, “and at the time of the Arab conquest it was in full working order and flashed the sun by day and its own fire by night many leagues over the sea.” He went on to claim in his exhaustive work titled The Arab Conquest of Egypt and the Last Thirty Years of Roman Dominion that it was a “conspicuous landmark visible by day and by night at a distance of sixty or seventy miles.” At night, electricity, generating a brilliant carbon arc searchlight beam that bounced off the distant clouds, is what made the Pharos's light so conspicuous at an over-the-horizon “distance of sixty or seventy miles." The overwhelming evidence for its use in antiquity is provided in Larry Brian Radka's Electric Mirror on the Pharos Lighthouse and Other Ancient Lighting, as well as in recent articles by him in progressive magazines like Atlantis Rising, World Explorer, Ancient America, Mysteries, and The New Archaeology Review.
However, Larry and Dr. Butler are not alone in pointing out this ancient technology. Another conscious scholar, of the opposite sex, was also inspired to write about the ancient use of telescopes and electricity. In 1877, in Vol. I of Isis Unveiled, the renowned Russian theosophist H. P. Blavatsky pointed out that “Some modern writers deny the fact that a great mirror was placed in the light-house of the Alexandrian port [of Egypt], for the purpose of discovering vessels at a distance at sea. But the renowned Buffon [a famous French naturalist] believed in it; for he honestly confesses that ‘if the mirror really existed, as I firmly believe it did, to the ancients belong the honor of the invention of the telescope.’”
She also pointed out that
“Whenever, in the pride of some new discovery, we throw a look into the past, we find, to our dismay, certain vestiges which indicate the possibility, if not the certainty, that the alleged discovery was not totally unknown to the ancients. It is generally asserted that neither the early inhabitants of the Mosaic times, nor even the more civilized nations of the Ptolemaic period were acquainted with electricity. If we remain undisturbed in this opinion, it is not for the lack of proofs to the contrary.
Here are a few enlarged and colored illustrations from the "Highly Documented and Illustrated" black and white versions in The Electric Mirror on the Pharos Lighthouse and Other Ancient Lighting by Larry Brian Radka: