Augustin-Jean Fresnel living history artist to visit Ocracoke Community Center

Augustin-Jean Fresnel. []

The Outer Banks Lighthouse Society, utilizing a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council, will present Joseph Smith as Augustin-Jean Fresnel, inventor of the Fresnel lens, Friday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ocracoke Community Center, 999 Irvin Garrish Highway. The public is invited to this free event.

From the first lighthouse known to man, the Pharos in Alexandria Egypt (built ~ 247 BC until 1822), different oils and lighting mechanisms have been used to guide mariners to safety. All were inefficient.

August Fresnel, a Frenchman, worked for years to perfect a type of lens that would magnify light so that it could be seen as far as 21 miles, thus making navigating treacherous waters less hazardous.

Joseph Smith, a living history artist, will explain the engineer and physicist’s method and how his invention has protected the waters of North Carolina’s coast in general and Ocracoke in particular.

Joseph’s presentation will bring history to life and give the Ocracoke community a better understanding and appreciation of Fresnel’s work, and the history of the lighthouse that has served the mariners who have traversed the waters near Ocracoke Island. The presentation and question/answer period will take approximately one hour.

For information, contact Bett Padgett,, 919-264-3075, or visit the Outer Banks Lighthouse Society at