Featured Railroadiana Items 7

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.

SPLA&SL Handlan Buck Lamp. Railroad lamps were made in many different variations and styles -- see examples on our lamps page. The switch lamp shown at right (two views) was made by Handlan Buck for the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad. It was was found in a junkyard near the Ojai, California spur, and is both unusual and old. Note the large vent holes in the chimney and the wide, sheet metal bail. Similar examples of this lamp style can be barely observed in one of the pictures on our 1902 Handlan Buck Factory Tour page. Also see this model listed in the 1900 M.M. Buck catalog. Photo by Donald Ancell. Click on the images for larger versions.
Diesel Builders Plates. Steam locomotive builders plates have been popular among collectors for decades. However, as the first-generation diesel locomotive era passes further into history, builders plates from these locomotives are becoming increasingly popular. Steam locomotive plates were typically made of cast brass or iron; whereas most diesel locomotive plates are stainless steel, such as the example shown here. This plate is from EMD SD7 #801 which was the first of three passenger diesels used by the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad. This locomotive also pulled the last passenger train on the B&LE. Photo by Gary Moser. Click on the image for a larger version.
Santa Fe Railroad China Elegance. The beauty and elegance of railroad china is strikingly evident in the photo shown at right. It was first published as a black and white version in the Fall, 2005 issue of the RCAI Express. The photo shows two chop plates by Syracuse and Bauscher in the Santa Fe "Griffon" pattern along with two variations of double-handled bullion cups and saucers. Railroads often used different manufacturers to produce the same china pattern, and this led to variations in both quality and decorative elements. Also shown in the center of the photo is a Santa Fe Gorham flower vase. Collection of Chris Cruz. Click on the image for a larger version.
Railroad Watches. The railroad watch is an icon of railroading. Since accurate timekeeping was so critical to railroad operations, employees were required to have high-quality watches that had to be regularly inspected by certified watch inspectors. In today's antique market, railroad watches are a "crossover" item since they are collected by both railroadiana collectors and watch collectors. Shown at right is a "Hamilton Railway Special" made by the Hamilton Watch Company. Photo by permission. Click on the image for a larger version.
PB&LE Lantern. Railroad lantern companies occasionally farmed out work to other companies, for example, due to a fire that temporarily closed down production. Not much is known why the Dressel Railway Lamp Works subcontracted lantern production to the C.T. Ham Company around the turn of the 20th century, but surviving lanterns suggest that this indeed happened. The lantern shown at right is marked for the Pittsburg, Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad [no "h" in Pittsburg then] and has the Dressel name on it. However, the double-wire verticals and other features suggest that it was made by C.T. Ham. A similar lantern marked for the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie railroad can be seen on a separate page. Photo by Gary Moser. Click on the image for a larger version.
Colorado Midland Public Timetable. Timetables were a major tool for promoting a railroad's image with the public, so most companies put a lot of effort into designing attactive ones. This was particularly the case in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Shown at right is a particularly beautiful public timetable from 1902 issued by the Colorado Midland Railway. The elaborate artwork on the cover is something that this railroad was noted for, and surviving examples of Colorado Midland timetables are especially valuable. Photo by Tony Rizzuto taken at the 2005 Denver Rail Fair Show. Click on the image for a larger version.
Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Uniform Coat. Railroad uniforms are the focus of many railroadiana collectors. Those from the late 19th and early 20th centuries are rare and particularly valuable. The coat shown here is a good example. It came from the Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Railroad, an interurban line that operated in Eastern Pennsylvania. The coat has buttons and a lapel insignia marked for the railroad and specialized pockets for storing tickets, schedules, and other necessary items. More photos of this coat are shown on our uniforms page. Photo by Tom Stranko. Click on the image for a larger version.
T1 Builders Plate. Since all builders plates are unique to a particular locomotive, each one is considered a rarity. However, some plates take on even more significance if they came from a particularly unusual locomotive. The plate shown at right is an example. It came from one of the Pennsylvania Railroad's T1 class passenger locomotives, a unique design that was developed toward the end of the steam era. Only 52 were produced, and their appearance was unlike any other locomotive. This photo was taken by Gary Moser at the 2005 Austintown railroadiana show. Click on the image for a larger version.
Bellbottom "Casey" lanterns. The "Casey" was a particularly sturdy lantern model used by many railroads. Produced by the Keystone Lantern Company, its most unique feature was a geared mechanism that allowed easy adjustment of the wick. While most "Caseys" had a round wire base, some were made with bellbottom bases. An example is shown at right. More photos and information on "Casey" lanterns can be found on a separate page. Photo by Tom Stranko; click on the image for a larger version.

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