JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
The searchlight had been used in military operations for several decades before this cover appeared in the Scientific American for June 15, 1915. Just a few years earlier an idea for using a powerful illuminating source in a dirigible for night time bombing appeared in the Illustrated London News--it was pretty powerful, showing the dark airship against a dark sky, the searchlight piercing its way down to the surface to reveal fleeing African tribesmen. (Why the target was Africa and tribesmen with spears I can only guess at, but each answer I come up with is not pretty.) The present image seems like a fine idea at first for the defensive position, illuminating an advancing line in a night time attack. That said, the spotlight seems like a pretty big target, the 5'-wide glowing glass an easy mark from a few hundred feet. One thing I could say for sure is that I would not want to be the guy up there operating the spot, which right now looks more like a light tube to fill bullets with more than anything else.