Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018
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Historic Boston church again lights the way in revolutionary fashion


Boston's Old North Church goes high-tech with the installation of LEDs to illuminate its ceiling vaults. The 285-year-old church was used by Paul Revere to signal British troop movements.


BOSTON - One LED if by land, and two if by sea?

The Old North Church, a beacon for Paul Revere's famous warning of the movement of British forces, and a symbol of the American Revolution, has gone high-tech with the installation of light-emitting diodes, or LEDs.

The energy-efficient lights illuminate ceiling vaults inside the church, whose steeple was used to display two lanterns as a signal about British troop movements on April 18, 1775 - the night described in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's famous poem, which included the line: "One if by land, and two if by sea."

LEDs haven't yet replaced the slightly less-modern compact fluorescents that the church began using two years ago in its modern versions of the steeple lanterns.

The 18 strips of LEDs inside the church's sanctuary - replacements for old-fashioned incandescents - may seem an anachronism at the most visited historic site in a city with a rich Revolutionary War legacy.

But the lights are tucked into crown molding, illuminating the graceful white ceiling arches while the lights themselves are hidden from direct view by tourists and worshippers below.

"What we've added is light, and beauty," said Ed Pignone, executive director of the Old North Foundation of Boston, which oversees the church.

The LEDs were donated by Philips Solid-State Lighting Solutions.

Old North's ceiling vaults had been only dimly lit by the old incandescents, and they frequently burned out, Mr. Pignone said.

The LEDs are projected to last at least 25 times as long as the incandescent bulbs, at five times the efficiency. They also do not give off as much heat as the older lights, which caused ceiling paint to peel prematurely.

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