Featured Railroadiana Items 6

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.

Tinware. "Tinware" is a category of railroadiana that includes a broad range of containers, cans and other metal objects that were used in railroad operations and maintenance. Many tinware items are marked for a railroad, but the markings tend to be simple railroad initials. Shown at right are some rare exceptions -- a torch, oiler, and fuel can, all marked for the Delaware & Hudson Railroad using that railroad's famous "script logo". More pictures of these as well as other tinware items can be seen on our tinware page. Photo by Tom Stranko; click on image for larger version.
"Tall" Vesta Lantern. Most railroadiana collectors are familiar with the Dietz "Vesta" lantern model. Many railroads used them, and collectors have no trouble finding them in the railroadiana market. In fact, so many Vestas were made for the New York Central Railroad that they have become an inside joke within the hobby. However, the very early versions of the Vesta used a "tall" globe and are anything but common. The lantern shown here is a rare, early bellbottom model, but even here we can see the lines of the version that would eventually become so well known to collectors. Image by permission; click on image for larger version.
Promotional Blotters. In this age of cheap ballpoint pens, blotters hearken back to a different era. When fountain pens were in vogue, blotters were used to take up excess ink on the paper. Advertisers used them as a means of promoting business, and railroads were no exception. This beautiful die-cut blotter was used to advertise Southern Pacific's premier train between San Francisco and Portland, the "Shasta Daylight". It dates to 1958 and showcases the train's striking color scheme.
Authentic Versus Fake Railroad China. The china shown here is a rare, authentic egg cup in the "Virginian" pattern from the Virginian Railway. Some years ago a controversial collector made and sold reproductions of this and other railroad china pieces. Although he never represented this china as authentic, there is a danger that future sellers will -- either fraudulently or innocently. With the popularity of internet auctions where buyers can't physically examine the items offered, this danger is greater than ever. The key to telling the real from the fake is the back stamp and how the decoration is glazed. Read more on this reproduction china. Image is by permission from the collection of Anne & H.B. Bryant; click on image for larger version.
China Back Stamps. To railroad china collectors, the back stamp provides important information. A back stamp consists of words, possibly a logo, and other codes placed by the manufacturer on the back of each piece of china. Properly interpreted, back stamps show the history of the piece. Shown here is the back stamp on a 10 1/2" plate made by Buffalo China in the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's Centenary pattern. Many manufacturers produced this pattern, but Buffalo produced just one run. Read more about back stamps on our Centenary web page. Image by permission; click on image for larger version.
China. Of the numerous patterns to be found in railroad china, none is as popular among collectors as the "Centenary" pattern of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. First introduced in 1927, Centenary is unrivaled in its combination of beauty, elegance, history, and variability. The pattern was produced for decades by a number of manufacturers in many shapes, so collectors have a myriad of variations to look for. Read more on our Centenary web page and another page about B&O's own Centenary booklet. Image by permission; click on image for larger version.
Sign. Depot signs are by definition a rarity because they were not mass-produced but custom-produced for specific places. One type of depot sign was the train destination sign, usually displayed next to the platform gate when that train was ready to board. Nowadays such signs are usually electronic displays, but once they were painted wood or metal. Shown here is a destination sign for a Baltimore & Ohio Railroad train (believed to be an RDC) originating in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Image by permission; click on image for larger version.
Lantern. The lantern at right is a "#39 Standard" model made by Dietz and marked "H.C. Co." for the Hudson Coal Company. It dates to the pre-WWI era and has a clear cast globe with the script logo -- "The D.&.H." -- of the Delaware & Hudson [Railroad] Company. This is not a mismatch. The Hudson Coal Company was a subsidiary of the Delaware & Hudson Company, which did not officially add the term "Railroad" to its corporate name until 1930. Read more about Hudson Coal Company lanterns and the Delaware & Hudson connection. Image courtesy of Tom Stranko; click on image for larger version.

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