This page, No. 55: (1st Series) Blackout regulations, is offered by
Executive Order

Executive Order No. 55: (1st Series) Blackout regulations

Date: 06/07/1943
Issuer: Leverett Saltonstall
Revoking: 1st Series Executive Order 40
Amended by: Certain provisions suspended by 1st Series Executive Order 63
Revoked by: 1st Series Executive Order 86

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, the regulation of lights which contribute to the skyglow in coastal and certain other areas continues to be essential for the protection of ships, cargoes and crews of the United Nations and the safety of the civilian population in said areas against the operations of enemy submarines and aircraft; and

WHEREAS, experience gained in recent months has demonstrated that revision and modification of the rules and regulations promulgated on November 27, 1942, in Executive Order No. 40 for the control, elimination or reduction of such lights are desirable for the convenience, welfare and safety of both the civilian population and the ships of the United Nations; and

WHEREAS, the War Department of the Government of the United States, acting through the First Service Command, has requested that the rules and regulations embodied in said Executive Order No. 40 be supplanted forthwith by appropriate provisions designed to accomplish such purposes:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Leverett Saltonstall, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, acting under the provisions of Acts of 1941, chapter 719, as amended by Acts of 1943, chapter 3, Acts of 1942, chapter 13, sections 2 and 3, and all other authority vested in me, do hereby issue this order as a measure necessary and expedient for meeting the supreme emergency of the existing state of war between the United States and certain foreign countries.


Period of Applicability.

1. The following rules and regulations are hereby promulgated for the control of lighting throughout the dimout area and for the control of lighting visible from the sea from one- half hour after sunset each night until one-half hour before sunrise the following morning between October 1 and April 30, inclusive, and from one hour after sunset each night until one-half hour before sunrise the following morning between May 1 and September 30, inclusive.



2. The "source of light" as used in these regulations is defined as the filament in an incandescent bulb; the tube of a fluorescent lamp; the luminous arc in a gaseous or vapor lamp, or arc lamp; the mantle or flame in a gas lamp; the flame in an oil lamp or candle.


The Dimout Area.

3. The coastal and dimout area of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts shall be as follows:

(1) All that part of Massachusetts, including islands, lying easterly, northeasterly and southeasterly of the following highways, inclusive:

(a) Unnumbered road joining New Hampshire Route 128 at the Massachusetts- New Hampshire border, thence running through Collinsville to Lowell by way of Mammoth Road.

(b) Massachusetts Route 110 from Lowell to Chelmsford.

(c) Massachusetts Route 27 from Chelmsford to Sudbury.

(d) Unnumbered road from Sudbury through Nobscot and Framingham to South Framingham.

(e) Massachusetts Route 126 from South Framingham to the Massachusetts- Rhode Island border.

(2) The entire area of all cities and towns through which the above line of demarcation of the dimout area passes shall be included within the dimout area. The town of Westford is excluded from the dimout area.

(3) Those parts of the city of Worcester and those parts of all cities and towns which are within a radius of five miles of the City Hall of Worcester.


Requirements Within the Dimout Area.

4. Lights visible from the sea. All lights of every nature and from whatever source, except as provided in paragraphs 16 and 18 below, and such other lights as are exempted by paragraph 20 below, shall be permanently shielded, obscured or reduced in intensity so that no light or reflection therefrom shall be visible from any point on the waters of the Atlantic Ocean to the seaward side of the line described below. If lights thus visible cannot be so shielded or con- trolled they shall be extinguished. The line is defined as follows:

Beginning at the tip of Great Boar's Head, Hampton, in the State of New Hampshire, and running thence to Ipswich Light on Castle Neck; to the tip of Halibut Point, Rockport; to Cape Ann Light on Thacher's Island; to Eastern Point Lighthouse, Gloucester; to Bakers Island Lighthouse; to the tip of East Point, Nahant; to Deer Island Lighthouse, Boston Harbor; to Minots Ledge Light; to the tip of First Cliff, Scituate; to the tip of Brant Rock, Marshfield; to the tip of Manomet Point, Plymouth; to Cape Cod Canal Breakwater Light; to the tip of Nobscusset Point, Dennis; to the southern tip of Great Island, Wellfleet; to Race Point Lighthouse; thence following the outer coastline of Cape Cod, disregarding the waters of Nauset Harbor and Pleasant Bay, to Chatham Lighthouse; thence in a series of straight lines to Old Tower, Point Gammon, Yarmouth; to the tip of Succonnesset Point, Great Neck, Mashpee; to Nobska Point Lighthouse; to the north tip of Naushon Island; to Wings Neck Lighthouse; to the tip of Butler Point, Sippican Neck, Marion; to the southmost tip of West Island; to Dumpling Rocks Lighthouse; to the tip of Mishaum Point, Dartmouth; to the tip of Gooseberry Neck, Westport, all on or near the coast of Massachusetts; to Sakonnet Lighthouse, on or near the coast of Rhode Island; all said identifying features as located on the U.S. Coast Guard and Geodetic Survey Coastal Charts Nos. 1206 to 1210, inclusive.

5. Display Lighting. Exterior illumination and interior illumination visible from outdoors for the purpose of display lighting, and for ornamental or decorative lighting of every description, and for stationary or mobile signs, except as otherwise permitted in these regulations are prohibited.

6. Highway Lighting. All exterior lights used for illumination of streets and highways, except automotive driving lights, shall be permanently shielded or controlled by a method approved by the Massachusetts Committee on Public Safety, in such a manner that the bottom of the shielding shall not be above a horizontal plane through the bottom of the source of light. Lights which cannot be so shielded or controlled shall be extinguished.

7. Outdoor Industrial Lights. All lights used for out-of-door manufacturing, repair work, shipbuilding, necessary handling or storage of raw or finished materials, for any type of construction work, in railroad yards or for raising of crops and poultry shall be permanently shielded so that all light is projected at least 30 degrees below the horizontal. Lights which cannot be so controlled shall be extinguished.

8. Protective Lighting. All exterior lights used for protective purposes shall be shielded so as to throw light only where it is necessary to insure protection and all lights shall be projected below the horizontal. Lights for protective purposes are hereby defined and are limited to the following types:

a. Outside lights used for protection against sabotage or unauthorized entry at the following types of facilities:

(1) Military or naval installations.

(2) Establishments handling, processing, storing or manufacturing materials of any kind, directly or indirectly, for the prosecution of the war effort, by the United States or its allies.

(3) Electric, gas, water, or communication facilities.

b. Outside lights at penal or correctional institutions and mental hospitals used for the purpose of assisting in the prevention of escape by the inmates thereof.

9. Industrial Processes. The illumination caused by fires, flashes or glow from industrial processes shall be shielded, obscured, reduced in intensity or otherwise treated to as great an extent as may be practicable in order to eliminate or reduce to a minimum the amount of light which is emitted upward.

10. Parking Areas, etc. The illumination of any area such as a parking lot, gasoline filling station, roadside stand, open booth or stall, public playground, or outdoor place of amusement or entertainment shall be limited by the following provisions:

a. No single light shall be used which exceeds the intensity of a 40-watt incandescent lamp in any one area.

b. No such light shall be located nearer than twenty (20) feet to any other light in any one area.

c. Every such light shall be permanently shielded or controlled so that all light is projected at least 45 degrees below the horizontal.

11. Stores, Restaurants and Commercial Buildings. Windows, doors and similar openings in stores, restaurants, bars and other commercial establishments through which any light is visible, shall be governed by the following provisions:

a. Windows and similar openings in which merchandise is displayed for sale or through which merchandise or services offered to the public are visible shall be entirely screened from light within the main part of the establishment by an opaque curtain, backdrop, partition or paint. Venetian blinds of suitable design may be used for this purpose only if properly installed and tightly closed. Transoms must be screened in like manner.

b. Where space in such windows or similar openings allows, one shaded 15-watt incandescent lamp may be used for each eight horizontal linear feet of window or fraction thereof, provided further that such lights shall be separated from each other by a distance of at least eight feet. An illuminated sign may be used in lieu of any permitted lamp, provided the source of illumination of such sign does not exceed the intensity of a 15-watt incandescent lamp.

c. In those places which are required by state law to have the main part of the establishment visible from the street, a horizontal opening not in excess of one (1) foot in height and at a height above the sidewalk between four (4) and six (6) feet may be left open for the entire width, but in no such case shall any direct light from within the establishment or window be allowed to fall on the ground area in front of such window.

d. All doors shall be screened by curtains, shades, blinds or paint for not less than three-quarters of their total glass area.

e. The provisions of this paragraph shall not prohibit the use of night-lights visible through such windows, doors or other openings for protection against burglary, provided that such lights comply with the rules and regulations governing black- outs promulgated by Executive Order No. 52, dated February 12, 1943.

f. Skylights shall conform to paragraph 13b below.

g. In no case shall any direct light be projected out-of-doors above the horizontal.

12. Semi-open Buildings. Lights within structures or portions of structures which are not complete enclosures such as loading or waiting platforms, and within structures which are commonly used with large open wall areas such as barns, poultry houses and lubritoriums, shall be shielded so that all light is projected at least 45 degrees below the horizontal. Skylights shall conform to paragraph 13b below. Lights which cannot be so controlled shall be extinguished.

13. All other buildings. All buildings not specifically covered by the foregoing pro- visions shall conform to the following:

a. All windows, doors, or other apertures which have areas through which lights may be transmitted, shall be screened by the use of curtains, shades, blinds, paint or other similar material for not less than three-quarters of such area to reduce the outward projection of light from any source within, and in no case shall any direct light be projected out-of-doors above the horizontal.

b. Skylights through which light may be transmitted upward shall be shielded or otherwise covered so as to be completely opaque, or, in lieu of this provision, light sources shall be shielded so that all light is projected at least 45 degrees below the horizontal, provided the resultant brightness shall not exceed one-half (1/2) of one footlambert.

14. Special Provision for Manufacturing Plants. Any military or naval installation, manufacturing plant or other facility essential to the war effort may comply with the provisions of paragraph 13 above, or shield interior lights at the source or otherwise, so that in either case the resultant average brightness outside any group of windows, doors or other openings, except skylights, whether opened or closed, shall not exceed one (1) footlambert, and provided further that the maximum brightness at any point outside such group of openings shall not exceed three (3) footlamberts. The resultant brightness of a skylight shall not exceed one- half (1/2) of one footlambert.

15. Ventilation. The screening or shielding prescribed for windows, doors, transoms and other apertures in buildings and enclosures of all kinds may be reduced sufficiently to provide openings for ventilation, provided interior lighting is so controlled that no direct light from any lighting fixture or portable lamp within may be projected through such opening. Nothing contained in this paragraph shall in any way be deemed to affect the requirements of paragraph 4 above.

16. Automotive Lighting. No person shall operate a motor vehicle in the dimout area during the period of applicability of the provisions of this order as defined in section 1 above, except in conformity with the following requirements:

a. The upper half, but not more than the upper half, of each headlight lens shall be completely obscured by paint or other opaque material. No more than two headlights shall be used. No fog lamps or other front driving lamps shall be used.

b. Only the lowest beam in the headlight system shall be used; the "lowest beam" herein referred to shall not be construed to mean parking lights.

c. Motor vehicles which are parked in any public way shall have all lights extinguished, except parking lights and tail lights; provided that no lights need be displayed when parked within the limits of a way in a space in which unlighted parking is permitted by the rules or regulations of the board or officer having control of such way. Motor vehicles parked off any public way shall have all lights extinguished.

Note: Motor vehicles with headlights obscured in the manner provided by paragraph 16a of this order may be operated anywhere within the Commonwealth, provided that the speed of such operation does not exceed thirty miles per hour.

17. Bonfires, etc. Bonfires, brush fires, dump fires, burning fields and outdoor fireplaces and incinerators shall be completely extinguished.

18. Railroad Trains, Street Cars and Busses.

a. Except for headlights and necessary running lights of railroad trains, elevated trains, street cars, trackless trolleys and buses the lights shall be so shielded that no direct light shall be projected out-of-doors above the horizontal. Headlights and driving lights of elevated trains, street cars, trackless trolleys and buses shall conform to paragraph 16 above.

b. In addition, the provisions of paragraph 4 above shall apply to railroad trains, except as to the headlights of road locomotives, which shall be dimmed when visible from the sea as defined in said paragraph 4 above.

19. Miscellaneous Lights. All other out-of-door lights of whatever nature and from whatever source, not specifically covered by any of the foregoing provisions, and not exempted by paragraph 20 below, shall not exceed the intensity of a 15-watt incandescent lamp, and shall be permanently shielded so that all light is projected at least 45 degrees below the horizontal. No such light shall be located nearer than twenty (20) feet to any other such light.

20. Exempted Lights. These regulations do not apply to the following classes of lights:

a. Official maritime or aerial navigation and obstruction lights.

b. Highway traffic signal lights and railroad signal lights.

c. Dimensional marking lights on oversized automotive vehicles, as prescribed by state regulations or the Interstate Commerce Commission.

d. Emergency lighting used in the event of accident or other emergency to the extent necessary for the protection of life and property; obstruction lights used to mark stalled vehicles, obstructions, excavations, or other dangerous conditions as far as practicable to the provisions of paragraph 4 above.

e. Searchlights of the Armed Forces of the United States.


Miscellaneous Provisions.

21. The Massachusetts Committee on Public Safety is authorized to make any variation in the foregoing order except as to paragraph 16 hereof, to conform to any future changes in the "dimout regulations for New England" as issued by the Headquarters, First Service Command, effective May 31, 1943.

22. The provisions of this order shall not apply to any real or personal property owned by and under the control of the United States Government or any agency thereof. Violations of this order, with respect to such property, should be reported to the Massachusetts Committee on Public Safety.

23. Executive Order No. 40, issued on November 27, 1942, is repealed, revoked and annulled as of June 8, 1943, at 12:01 a.m., but such repeal, revocation and annulment shall not affect any prosecution thereunder pending on said date. The provisions of this order shall become effective June 8, 1943, at 12:01 a.m.

24. The provisions of any law, ordinance, by-law or departmental rule or regulation to the extent that such provisions are inconsistent with this order shall be inoperative during the effective period hereof.



25. Any person who violates any provision of this order or any rule or regulation issued hereunder shall be punished therefor as provided by Acts of 1942, chapter 13, section 3.

GIVEN at the Executive Chamber in Boston, this seventh day of June, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and forty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America, the one hundred and sixty-seventh.

By His Excellency the Governor,

Contact for No. 55: (1st Series) Blackout regulations