Bandboxes were principally used between 1800-1850. They were initially designed to store and transport men’s collar bands but evolved into other uses such as hat boxes and general carry-all’s. During the 1830s many boxes were printed with historical scenes, marking events and places of interest. This design is printed on a deep blue ground to represent the night sky and stormy sea, and the words Sandy Hook are printed on the box. Two ships are shown being tossed about on the turbulent waters, with numerous rocks shown in the foreground and the lighthouse standing tall. The bandbox lid contains a different unrelated scene of cows and ruins. However, the border used on the rim of the lid seems very apropos in that being a leaf and fruit motif it appears more like a wave motif, mocking the rolling seas on the box bottom.
Sandy Hook has been one of the principle lighthouses on the northeast coast from a very early period. The merchants of New York realized the need to establish a light on this dangerous reef and in 1761 took steps to raise the money by having 2 lotteries authorized by the New York Assembly. Three years later the lighthouse was completed and the lamps lit. The structure was built of stone and measured 106 feet from the ground to the top of the lighthouse. During the American Revolution, the Provincial Congress caused the lights to be removed, but during a later period of the war the building was fortified and occupied by the British. The exterior of the lighthouse was retained in its original form but interior improvements made before 1881 included lining the interior with brick and replacing the wooden stairs with iron steps. The lens was of French construction and was 90 feet from the ground.