The beacon is usually on the roof of a tall building in a central business district, but some are attached to towers. The beacons are most commonly owned by financial services companies and television stations and are part of advertising and public relations programs. They provide a very basic forecast for the general public and not as an aid to navigation.
In addition to displaying weather forecasts, some weather beacons have been used to signal victory or defeat for a professional sports home team.
In 1898 on the orders of U.S. President William McKinley, coastal warning display towers were installed along the coast of the United States. In 1936, the Weather Girl sculptures were installed in City Hall Square in Copenhagen. In 1938, Douglas Leigh, designed a Coca-Cola billboard with a weather forecast display at Columbus Circle in New York City.
The first attempt to create a weather beacon as a form of advertising was from Douglas Leigh, who, in 1941, arranged a lighting scheme for the Empire State Building to display a weather forecast code with a decoder to be packaged with Coca-Cola bottles. The plan was never implemented because of the attack on Pearl Harbor later that year. Leigh resurrected his idea in Minneapolis in October 1949 with the Northwestern National Bank Weatherball.
Weather beacons were most popular during the 1950s and 1960s.
- Coastal warning display tower
- Signal station
- Time ball
- Paris balloon
- Harbinger at The Met Condos, Toronto, is a colored beacon on the roof that indicates the current wind speed.
List of weather beacons
- New South Wales
- South Australia
- Western Australia
- MLC Building (now Kingsgate Apartments), 171 St Georges Terrace, Perth (October 1957 – ????; dismantled)
- Wetterleuchtturm, Ringturm, Vienna
- Who's afraid of Red, Green and Blue: Weather Tower, Dexia Tower, Brussels (22 October 2007 – 22 December 2007)
- Capilano Brewery, 1550 Burrard Street, Vancouver, British Columbia (1953 − ????)
- White Rose weather beacon, 570 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba (25 June 1964 − ????)
- Kitchener City Hall, Kitchener, Ontario
- Canada Life Building, Toronto, Ontario (9 August 1951 – present)
- Canada Life, 505 Boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest, Montreal, Quebec (12 April 1956 – January 1976)
- The Plains Hotel, Regina, Saskatchewan (???? − 2011)
- vejrpigen (Weather Girl), Richshuset, The City Hall Square, Copenhagen (1936 − present)
- Tomorrow's Weather, Aller Media, Havneholmen, Copenhagen (2009 − present)
- Light Towers Project (Coventry Point, Mercia House, Hillman House), Coventry
- Castlemilk Lighting Project, Castlemilk, Glasgow
- Empire Square Tower, Southwark, London
- Mercantile National Bank, 420 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach (23 February 1957 − ????; dismantled)
- American Federal Savings and Loan Association weather ball, Fidelity Storage building, 53 W. Jackson St., Orlando (1963 – 1974; dismantled)
- First Federal Savings & Loan, Fourth Street and Central Avenue, St. Petersburg (1953 – 6 April 1970; dismantled)
- Weather Bell, Bell Federal Savings (now Walgreens), 79 West Monroe Street, Chicago (???? − present)
- Bell Federal Savings branch office, 180 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago (???? − 1996; dismantled)
- WLS-TV Thermometer, Marina City, Chicago (1964 – 1978; dismantled)
- WFRL weather beacon, State Bank Center, 50 West Douglas Street, Freeport (1974 − ????; dismantled)
- Weather Bell, Bell Federal Savings (now Walgreens), 79 West Monroe Street, Chicago (???? − present)
- KCCO Weatherball, Alexandria (???? − March 2006)
- WEBC Weather Beacon, 331 W. Superior Street, Duluth
- Northwestern National Bank Weatherball, Minneapolis (7 October 1949 – 25 November 1982; dismantled)
- Nicollet Island/East Bank branch office, 430 East Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis (dismantled)
- Riverside branch office, 401 Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis (dismantled)
- Uptown branch office, 3006 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis (dismantled)
- Hastings branch office, 111 E. 3rd Street, Hastings (dismantled)
- Montevideo branch office, 109 N. 1st Street, Montevideo (dismantled)
- Rochester branch office, 15 2nd Street, SW, Rochester (dismantled)
- Saint Paul branch office, 360 Robert Street N, Saint Paul (dismantled)
- Sauk Rapids branch office, 24 N. Benton Drive, Sauk Rapids (15 September 1961 − ????; dismantled)
- WCCO-TV Weather Watcher, Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis (29 November 2013 − present)
- Business Men's Assurance Company (BMA) weather beacon, 215 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City (dismantled)
- KCTV Tower, Kansas City (1970s − 2001)
- Terra Cotta Lofts (formerly General American Life Insurance Company building), 1501 Locust Street, St. Louis (1956 – 1979; non-functioning)
- State Bank of Wellston, Wellston (1954 − 16 May 2014; dismantled)
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- KELO-TV weatherball, Sherman Hotel, Aberdeen (dismantled)
- KDLO-TV weatherball, Marvin Hughitt Hotel, 375 Dakota S., Huron (6 April 1960 − ????; dismantled)
- First National Bank, Pierre
- KELO weatherball, 100 North Phillips Avenue, Sioux Falls (dismantled)
- National Bank of South Dakota (now US Bank), 141 N. Main Avenue, Sioux Falls (non-functioning)
- KDLO weatherball tower, 421 9th Av SE, Watertown (dismantled)
- KXLG Weatherball, 835 Jensen Avenue, Watertown (22 May 2014 − present)
- WNL Weather Tower, Western National Life Insurance, 205 SE 10th Avenue, Amarillo (dismantled)
- Mercantile Weather Tower, Mercantile National Bank Building, Dallas (1958–1993; 12 February 2008 – present)
- 100 North Stanton Street, El Paso (26 March 1955 – ????; non-functioning)
- Texas National Bank/Conoco Weather Eye, Travis Tower, 1300 Main Street, Houston (17 October 1955 – 1964; dismantled)
- Alamo National Bank weather spire (now Drury Plaza Hotel), 105 S. St. Mary's Street, San Antonio (non-functioning)
- Ford's Finance & Insurance, 2627 Washington Boulevard, Ogden (???? − ????; dismantled)
- KSL-TV 5 Eyewitness Weather Tower, Trolley Square, Salt Lake City (1999 − present)
- KTVX Weather Ball, 2175 West 1700 South, Salt Lake City (???? − present)
- Walker Center, 175 S. Main Street, Salt Lake City (1953 – 1982; 2008 – present)
- Weather Beacon, H. C. Prange Co., 301 N. Washington Street, Green Bay (26 September 1952 − ????; dismantled)
- Weather Flame, Wisconsin Gas Building, 626 East Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee (1956 – 1973, 1985 − present)
- Oshkosh National Bank, 300 N. Main Street, Oshkosh (9 May 1952 − ????; dismantled)
- Weather 9, WAOW, 1908 Grand Avenue, Wausau (1965 − present)
- Manhattan Users Guide
- "Remembering a beloved icon", Northwestern Financial Review
- Federation and Meteorology, Memories of the Bureau, 1946 to 1962, page 1032
- "Harbinger, 2007". adriangollner.ca. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
- MLC Building, North Sydney
- Photo of Westpac Place: View of the weather beacon displaying its red light panels Archived 25 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Hitachi Building, Brisbane
- Hitachi Building Weather Beacon RIP sur Flickr : partage de photos !
- Weather beacon to be given the flick – Queensland – BrisbaneTimes
- McCarthy, John (19 November 2007). "Weather beacon to be turned off". The Courier-Mail.
- MLC Building, Adelaide
- Lloyd, Tim (30 March 2007). "City beacon stands tall". The Advertiser.
- 303 Collins Street, Melbourne
- "Who's afraid of Red, Green and Blue" – an urban installation by LAb[au] on Brussels Dexia Tower
- Coolopolis: Montreal 50s SKYTOWER woot-woot!!!!
- 505 Boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest, Montreal
- 2,640 Colored Bulbs Will Predict Weather, The Gazette, 13 April 1956, p. 23
- Montreal this morning, The Gazette, 14 Jan. 1976, p. 3
- Correction, The Gazette, 17 Jan. 1976, p. 4 (beacon to be demolished, not building)
- STAWAG – Die Wettersäule. Archived 25 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 July 2007. Retrieved 1 January 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Beyazit Tower
- icCoventry – Put that light out!
- Coventry Design Awards 2001 – Three Towers Lighting Project : Hillman House, Corporation Street
- Mattei Building, Fresno
- News10.net – News10 Weather Tower Key
- Nolte, Carl (8 December 2008). "Lights atop One Rincon Hill signal S.F. weather". San Francisco Chronicle. pp. B-1. Retrieved 13 December 2008.
- Dickinson, Joy Wallace (7 April 2002). "Short Play Brings Rainmaker's 1939 Tale Back to Life". Orlando Sentinel.
- Orlando Sentinel – History of the Church Street Station Area by Archived 3 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Bell Savings Building, Chicago
- Weather Bell sur Flickr : partage de photos !
- Weather Bell Archived 5 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Memories Of Marina City
- Warmer Weather Ahead sur Flickr : partage de photos !
- Colder Weather in Sight sur Flickr : partage de photos !
- "Channel 9 KCAU-TV Weather Ball". Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 18 November 2006.
- "What Do The Weather Lights Mean?". WLWT.com. Hearst Television. 17 April 2009. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
- 1952 The Falstaff Weather Ball is First Lit
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 March 2005. Retrieved 14 December 2006.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Falstaff Brewery – New Orleans Louisiana sur Flickr : partage de photos !
- New Orleans, Louisiana Daily Photo
- Tower shines after 50 years: 10/1/00
- Grand Rapids Business Journal – Weather Ball History Archived 31 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
- weather ball sur Flickr : partage de photos !
- Valley City Sign Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- The Technical History of WEBC Radio: Chapter Five Archived 20 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- New Header[permanent dead link]
- Guided by History: Weatherball Archived 16 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- MNHS.ORG | Exhibits | Weather Permitting
- History of the NWS in the Twin Cities – At the Airport
- A History of Minneapolis: Banking and Finance Archived 16 June 2002 at the Wayback Machine
- "Remembering a beloved icon". Northwestern Financial Review. 2001. Archived from the original on 5 March 2010.
- MHS Visual Resource Database Image
- Pershing Building, Kansas City
- Blacktie-StLouis | PREMIERE EVENTS | The 8-foot, 1200-pound neon ball sits on top of a 50-foot rotating tower and can be seen over a 10-mile radius when lit Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Terra Cotta Lofts, St. Louis
- Weather Ball 2 sur Flickr : partage de photos !
- Weather Ball sur Flickr : partage de photos !
- US Bank Tower, Billings
- Helena Last Chance Gulch
- Dunlap, David W. (4 February 2008). "No More MONY in the Midtown Skyline". The New York Times.
- Gothamist: Find Another Weather Forecast Archived 11 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
- Mutual of New York Building, New York City
- Burleigh County : General Information Archived 10 December 2005 at the Wayback Machine
- Bismarck-Mandan Blog – Weather Beacon: been there, done that, got the t-shirt Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Save the Weather Beacon! You can help!
- Chiquita Center, Cincinnati
- Lisa Miller (producer) (1987). WKRC-TV Gets Weather Beacon (Television advertisement). Cincinnati, Ohio: WKRC-TV.
♪ If you wanna know / what the weather will be / just look up to the top / of the Chiquita Building. ♪
- Tulsa TV Weather
- Tulsa Historical Society | Learn | Exhibits | Historic Sites Archived 27 March 2003 at Archive.today
- 320 S. Boston 3 sur Flickr : partage de photos !
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 June 2007. Retrieved 9 April 2007.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- Standard Insurance Plaza, Portland
- "Sign in to OregonLive.com". The Oregonian.
- Downtown Portland from our window by Gallun : Weather Underground Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
- officeflowers sur Flickr : partage de photos !
- Gulf Building, Pittsburgh
- http://www.cparchives.com/archive.cfm?type=You%20Had%20to%20Ask&action=getComplete&ref=2497[permanent dead link]
- New twist on an old landmark – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review[permanent dead link]
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 17 June 2007.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- US Bank Building, Sioux Falls
- [permanent dead link]
- [permanent dead link]
- 28 January 2007 – Provident: a Beacon in the Chattanooga Community – Memories – Chattanoogan.com Archived 22 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Maclellan Building, Chattanooga
- https://web.archive.org/web/20081118134918/http://www.nashvillewebreview.com/automat/nashville/popular_buildings/LandC/landc_brochure/LandC2.html. Archived from the original on 18 November 2008. Missing or empty
- Mercantile clock to tick once again | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Steve Brown | Real Estate | Business Columnist | Dallas Morning News
- The Center for American History
- ImageShack – Hosting :: 6006032fa.jpg
- Travis Tower, Houston
- ImageShack – Hosting :: 6006085yc.jpg
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 August 2007. Retrieved 29 June 2007.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- SixFlagsHouston.com | Photos :: Historical Photos :: globe Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Drury Plaza Hotel River Walk, San Antonio, Texas Archived 14 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Drury Plaza Hotel- San Antonio Riverwalk, San Antonio
- KSL 5 Eyewitness Weather Tower at Trolley Square – Utah News from KSL-TV, Salt Lake City, Utah Archived 16 April 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- ksl.com – Historic weather tower lights up skyline
- http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4196/is_20060308/ai_n16164672. Missing or empty
- JS Online: Galvin envisioned weather flame on old Gas Co. building Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Wisconsin Gas Building sur Flickr : partage de photos !