Saturday, August 6, 2011

Commodore Frederick G. Bourne's Weathervane at Singer Castle Restored

Pictured above: Singer Castle Tour Guide, Brianne Langtry of Brier Hill, with the castle’s newly polished weather vane. Click on photo to see it larger.

As early as ancient Roman times, weather vanes were used to show wind direction.  They were particularly useful to mariners who utilized wind direction and sky conditions to predict short-term weather conditions.  Commodore Frederick Bourne was an avid sailor and in 1902 when he had his castle constructed on Dark Island, he had a unique weather vane crafted to place on the highest peak of the castle’s roof.  The weather vane connected to a wind dial inside the castle allowing the Commodore or any of his guests to judge wind direction at a glance.  Constructed of brass with copper finials, the weathervane had a brass pennant style flag with a “B” on it that would cause the vane to turn as the winds changed direction.   Crossed arms with brass letters for north, south, east and west were fixed below the upper section of the weather vane and the flag’s position in relation to the letters would indicate the wind direction to those outside of the building. 

The weather vane is still operational today and Singer Castle staff members have spent that past two weeks cleaning and polishing the parts of the weather vane so that it will once again be a shining fixture for visitors to see on the roof of Commodore Bourne’s castle.

Above dispatch and photo by Jean Papke, Administrative Assistant to Singer Castle's President Tom Weldon. Below, photo of Singer Castle's weather vane in place before restoration, by Bob Mondore. Click on it.