|Two new subjects have been chosen for Norway Post's lighthouse series. They are the Ona lighthouse in Romsdal and the Tungeneset lighthouse in Ersfjorden near Senja in Troms. Norway's first lighthouse lantern was lit in autumn 1655 on Lindesnes in the south of Norway.
It was Povel Hansson, a merchant in the new town of Christiansand, who was given the privilege of erecting the lantern at Lindesnes. The lantern was to be lit from 10 August to 10 March and for this the enterprising merchant could collect a fee from all the vessels loading or unloading between Bergen and Bohus. However, the light and the merchant's extra income were both short-lived. Only a year later the light was extinguished and the headland remained dark for seventy years. Thus Norway's lighthouse history got off to a late and rather bumpy start.
The second lighthouse in Norway, set up in 1696, was a small enclosed coal-fired light on the island of Store F?rder in the Oslo Fjord. More light-houses were established in the 18th century and by 1828, twelve lights had been erected. They were all rather primitive and dim. Then things began to speed up in the 19th century. New lighthouses were built and construction and lighthouse technology ad-vanced by leaps and bounds. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were approximately 500 lighthouses along the Norwegian coast and by the start of the second world war the figure had passed the 2000 mark. These lighthouses were the mainstay of the Norwegian navigation system for much of the 20th century.
The open coal fires, wax candles and cod liver oil lamps of the 18th century and the rapeseed oil, paraffin, petroleum and gas of the 19th century were gradually taken over by a new source of energy, electricity. In recent years, incandescent lamps have been replaced by energy-saving halogen bulbs and a number of lighthouses are operated by solar cell panels or by wind generators.
Norway was one of the first countries to install radio beacons. That was in 1923 with Marconi transmitters at F?rder and Marsteinen. Today, GPS (Global Position System) is the prevailing system. The lighthouse service is now characterised by automation and decommissioning. However, Norwegian lighthouses will continue to light the way for seafarers - in combination with radar, electronic charts and satellite navigation.