In the Studio, time for another tower, a lighthouse tower in Birmingham? Of course, there is a connection between lighthouses and Birmingham. Chance Brothers and Company was a glassworks originally based in Spon Lane, Smethwick.
Located between Birmingham and the Black Country in the cluster of the Midlands industrial heartland, they took advantage of the skilled workers, canals and many advances that were taking place in the industrial West Midlands at the time, building amongst all things glass, they built lenses for lighthouses.
Producing optical components, machinery, and other equipment for lighthouses around the world. James Timmins Chance pioneered placing lighthouse lamps inside a cage surrounded by fresnel lenses to increase the available light output; the cages, known as optics, revolutionised lighthouse design. Another important innovation from Chance Brothers was the introduction of rotating optics, allowing adjacent lighthouses to be distinguished from each other by the number of times per revolution that the light flashes. The rotating optics cage floated on a bath of mercury.