The Stevens Fog Bell apparatus was used in many lighthouses to ring a fog bell at a predetermined interval. The interval was determined by a set of cams and ratchets. All the keeper had to do was keep the weight wound up. However, that was not as easy as it sounds because the weights could range from 200 to 800 pounds or more. The Spring Point Ledge Light probably had a 200-300 pound weight. It is still in the center column in the cellar where it was dropped, along with the cable, when the bell striker was electrified. We hope to extract it one day and display it.
The apparatus was set up in the Watch Room with a series of levers and pivots extending through the wall to position the striker (sledgehammer) to hit the bell with
In Maine, where fog is a very common occurrence during the winter, keeping the bell ringing was just as important as keeping the lamp lit. During periods of heavy fog, the light was often useless and mariners relied on fog signals to navigate and avoid each other.
Prior to the invention of mechanical bell strikers, the keeper was obliged to manually hit the bell with a sledgehammer for as long as the fog persisted. Needless to say, many keepers hated this difficult, monotonous task and often 'forgot' to ring the bell during long periods of fog.