The original light at Kinnaird Head Lighthouse was established by Thomas Smith on 1st December 1787. A lantern was set 37 m above the sea on a tower of the old castle. Whale oil lamps produced a fixed light, each backed by a parabolic reflector.
Kinnaird Head was the most powerful light of its time and was reported to be visible from 19 to 23 km.
In 1824, internal alternations were made to construct a new lighthouse tower through the original castle tower. This tower displayed a new lantern and reflector array designed by Robert Stevenson and in 1851 Robert’s son, Alan Stevenson, replaced this with a first order dioptric lens at Kinnaird Head. Later, in 1902, David Alan Stevenson further upgraded the site by installing a flashing lens apparatus. In 1929 Kinnaird Head became home to the first radio beacon in Scotland. The Fog Signal was discontinued in 1987, although the horn is still in place. The original lighthouse is no longer operational and is now home to The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. A new automatic light was established beside the original light in 1991.
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