James Balfour studied under the famed Edinburgh lighthouse builders, D. & T. Stevenson, and when he came to Otago as the province’s marine engineer he brought an understanding of lighthouse construction and a concern for detail. This is well exemplified in the specifications he prepared in March 1864 for a new lighthouse and dwelling at Taiaroa Head. This extract concerns the paint to be used:
The outside of outer doors + all of windows to receive 2 coats of best white lead paint. The interior of doors + windows tower living + all other internal joiner work to receive 2 coats of good copal varnish. The iron work of ladders, rails etc to receive two coats of best red lead paint in work shop + two coats of a darker colour to the satisfaction of the resident Inspector after being fitted up at the Lighthouse. The whole of the Freestone exposed to the weather in Corbels, balcony, parapet, cope or any other place where it may be used in the Tower or Dwelling Houses to receive 2 coats of boiling linseed oil.
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