Featured Railroadiana Items 4

This page shows railroadiana items of unusual interest. These images were sent in by collectors for others to enjoy; the items are not for sale. As images are replaced on the "front page" of the website, they will be archived here. See links to other pages of Featured Items at the bottom of the page. A special thanks to those who have sent in images.

Pin. Most of the larger railroads had veterans associations, and often these associations issued pins of various kinds. Some of these pins were quite well-made and attractive. Many railroadiana collectors specialize in collecting such pins, sometimes extending their interest to pins from such associations as the railroad unions and brotherhoods. Shown at right is a beautiful pin from the New York, Ontario & Western Railway Veterans Association, dated 1924. Collection of Clyde Conrow, photo by Tom Stranko. Click on image for larger version.
Lamp. Lamps such as the one shown at right were sometimes called "Office Lamps" or "Stationmaster Lamps" and were most likely used in quantity in various railroad operations. However, their use was probably limited to stationary facilities such as depots rather than rolling stock because they would not be especially stable in response to movement. Not many are found marked for a railroad, but this one has a brass tag indicating that it was owned and used by the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad. Click on the image for a larger version. Photo courtesy of David Budd.
Promotional Item. The idea of giving away promotional items to advertise a service or product has been around for a long time. In the heyday of railroad passenger service, railroads did this to publicize their services to the general public, and today this practice still occurs with freight shippers. Collectors can find all sorts of interesting and odd items marked for a railroad. The colorful item at right is the back of a small mirror. It was given away as a promotional item by the Oregon, Washington Railroad & Navigation Company, a part of the Union Pacific System. The date is unknown but probably the 'teens or 1920's. Click on image for larger version. The photographer wishes to credit the collection of the late Sigrid Clark.
Lock. This is a Christian Rave lock marked with the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad initials on the hasp. It is an all brass lock that is quite a bit larger than a standard brass switch lock and may be one-of-a-kind bearing the "NCNG RR" initials. This particular lock is thought to date back to the 1880's or earlier and was thought to have been used on the baggage stall gate at the NCNG RR Grass Valley Depot in Northern California. Photo and information courtesy of George Tsai. Click on image for larger version. 
Tobacco. Today, railroads are largely absent from popular perceptions. For the most part, railroads do not advertise to the general public, and most people are aware of railroads only as a train that holds them up at a grade crossing. At one time however, railroads were an integral part of public life and had a strong hold on the public imagination. Various products capitalized on this appeal, as evidenced by the pouch of tobacco shown at right. The "D&H" brand alluded to the Delaware & Hudson Railroad, and the portrait of the engineer in his locomotive cab added to this association. Presumably this brand was independent of the actual railroad company. Photo courtesy of Bob Niblick. Click on image for larger version.
Logo. From early on, railroad companies tried to achieve an identity that set them apart from other lines and that would be remembered by the traveling public and freight shippers. An important part of this identity was the railroad "logo". Often ornate and beautifully designed, the logo was displayed on timetables, rolling stock, buildings, and virtually anything else associated with the company. The use of such logos pioneered modern principles of advertising that continue to be practiced to this day. Shown at right is a cast-iron logo sign from the "Big 4" -- the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Railway Company, which was part of the New York Central System. It is 11" x 11" and was attached to a freight house in Marion, Ohio. Photo courtesy of George Tsai. {Click on image for larger version}
Trophy. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many railroads sponsored agricultural innovations and development in an effort to encourage farmers to settle sparsely populated territory along their lines. This included giving awards at fairs. At right is shown an impressive trophy which is engraved, "Presented by the Great Northern Railway for the best and largest 36 potatoes, King County Fair, Kent Washington". Click on image for larger version. Photo by Bill Kajdzik.
Sign. This Lackawanna Railroad sign is from the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad, a line that ran from the New York/New Jersey area through eastern Pennsylvania to upstate New York. It is approximately twelve feet long and came off a building or perhaps a boat. The DL&W had extensive marine operations in the New York area. Photo by Tom Stranko. Click on the image for a large version.
Lantern. The lantern at right is usually associated with construction or road maintenance rather than railroads, but this one is marked "W.P. Ry. Co. for West Penn Railways. It is made by Dietz and is called an 8-day lantern because its large fuel font can burn for many days. There is also a similar lantern reported marked for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Photo by Tom Stranko. Click on image for larger version.
Button. Sometimes overlooked because of their small size and humble function, uniform buttons often show amazing detail and craftsmanship. The example at right is from the Scranton & Binghamton, an interurban line that ran in the Scranton, PA area. Click on image for a larger view; use your [BACK] button to get back. Photo by Tom Stranko.
Baggage Tag. Shown at right is an exceptionally beautiful baggage tag marked "B.& O. R.R." for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and ""LOCAL" designating a short-distance passenger run. Baggage tags were affixed to luggage to identify railroad routing. Click on image for a larger view; use your [BACK] button to get back. Photo by Ken Andrews; collection of the late Chuck Richardson. More images can be found on a page on this topic.
Locks. Shown at right are two fancy "castback" locks, likely dating from the late 1900's. At far left is a lock from the Cincinnati, Washington & Baltimore Railroad; at immediate left is a lock from the Lehigh Valley Railroad. Click on images for larger views; use your [BACK] button to get back. Photos by Tom Stranko.

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