“A few miles off shore of Cape Hatteras are the dreaded Diamond Shoals, on which futile attempts have been made to erect a lighthouse. It would seem as though the only practicable way to protect shipping from this graveyard of the deep is to moor above the shoals a lightship able to meet the exceedingly trying conditions. Such a vessel has been designed and is now nearing completion at the yards of the Fore River Engine Company, of Massachusetts. She will be steam-propelled and electric lighted. The lights, three on each mast, will be of 100 candle-power and 100 volts each.”

Scientific American, March 1900

More gems from Scientific American’s first 175 years can be found on our shiny anniversary page.