Lens from old Georgetown light back in town

The Fresnel lens from the Georgetown lighthouse is unveiled and lit during a party Thursday. The lens had been at a Coast Guard museum in Florida and is now on display inside a case designed like a lantern room at the South Carolina Maritime Museum in Georgetown, S.C.

GEORGETOWN, S.C. - A part of Georgetown's maritime history has been returned.

The Coast Guard has returned the Fresnel lens that was once in the old Georgetown Lighthouse to the South Carolina Maritime Museum. An unveiling ceremony was held Thursday.

The lens had been removed in 1999 and put on display at the Coast Guard district headquarters in Miami. It's now on a 10-year loan to the museum.

During the ceremony, the lens was lit to show how a Fresnel lens works.

The lenses were invented in 1822 by French physicist Augustin Fresnel. They have concentric rings of glass prisms above and below bending the light into a narrow beam. The center of the lens is shaped like a magnifying glass, making the concentrated beam even brighter.