Featured Railroadiana Items 2

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.

Western Maryland China. Even a plain china pattern can take on significance if it is rare, and especially if is from a particularly beloved railroad. The Western Maryland Railway is one of those lines that has quite a following, so the dish shown at right -- in the "Union Bridge" pattern -- is both rare and very collectible. The Western Maryland had a rather small passenger service so not much china was ever produced in this pattern. Click on either image for a larger version. Photos by Jack Morgan, collection of Daryl Witt.
Watchman's Lantern. Shown at right is a crossing watchman's lantern -- an uncommon variation on the familiar Adams & Westlake "Kero" brakeman's lantern. It has blinders and a thumb latch that is larger than the usual latch found on Kero models. The blinders shielded the light signal from being seen by an oncoming train crew, and the fresnel lens amplified the light intensity to warn automobile traffic. More can be found on "Crossing Watchman's Lantern". Image is courtesy of Rob Hoffer. Click on the image for a larger version.
Santa Fe Sideboard. Many different items can be found marked with railroad names or initials, but furniture is rather unusual. And fancy furniture is very unusual. The beautiful oak sideboard shown at right looks like domestic furniture, but it is marked "Santa Fe RR", an official nickname of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. The collector who sent us these pictures wondered about its authenticity. If authentic, perhaps it was used in the office or residence of a railroad official. Photos by permission. Click on the thumbnail images for larger versions.
"Queen & Crescent Route" Button. The uniform button shown at right has the logo of the "Queen & Crescent Route". It is a large, gold-colored, dome button manufactured by Leon Godchaux N.O. -- Godchaux's was a large department store on Canal St. in New Orleans. It began in the late 19th C and provided uniforms of various kinds. The Queen & Crescent Route was not a railroad company but a passenger route than traversed several railroad lines: the Cincinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific, the Alabama Great Southern, and the New Orleans and Northeastern. Photo and information by Steve Preston; additional information by the rrdiana.shore list and MLV [Thanks!]. Click on the thumbnail image for a larger version.
Galveston, Harrisburg, & San Antonio Token. When Thomas W. Peirce finally got his Galveston, Harrisburg, & San Antonio Railway building westward from Columbus, TX toward San Antonio in April of 1873, one of the more unusual problems faced by the management was a shortage of "small change". The Coinage Act of 1873, enacted February 12th of that year, embraced the gold standard and de-monetized silver, and there was a temporary shortage of coins during the transition. According to S.G. Reed in his 1941 History of Texas Railroads " To meet this [need] General Manager H. B. Andrews paid the men off partly in gutta percha tokens about the size of a quarter of the value of 25 cents 'good for meals' and which he agreed to redeem in full. These passed current at par not only at boarding houses but in stores along the line until several years after the road was completed. It was a common saying at the time that Peirce was the only man who was smart enough to build a railroad with meal tickets." These tokens represent the earliest evidence in "hardware" (versus paper) of the use of the Sunset Route phrase and logo. Info and photos by Ken Stavinoha. Click on the thumbnail images for larger versions.
Southern Railway Sign. Signs from depots are especially interesting because they have a definite location where they were used. Depots might have a couple of different types of signs including place-name signboards and schedule or train bulletin boards such as the example shown here. This one is from Southern Railway's Manassas, Virginia depot. The station agent would have chalked train arrival and departure times on the board, including late arrivals or changes. Photo by Rob Hoffer. Click on the thumbnail image for a larger version.
Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Button. The specific history of most railroadiana has been lost to time, so it's great to see an item that has a known history. Shown at right is a button from the uniform of Capt. Thomas J. Hopkins who was captain of the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway ferry S.S. Ironton. This ferry crossed the Ohio River between Ironton, Ohio and Russell, Kentucky from the late 1800's until a bridge was built in 1923. The button was manufactured by S.M. Wanamaker & Co. of Philadelphia. The image and information are courtesy of Steve Preston. Click on the thumbnail image for a larger version.
New York Central Marine Lantern. Shown at right is a "Hi-Hat" Vesta model lantern made by Dietz for the New York Central (NYC) Railroad. While NYC Vesta lanterns are probably the most common railroad lantern to be found, this one is unusual. Not only is it the higher, earlier Vesta model, but it is marked "N.Y.C. R.R. - MAR. DPT." The latter part of the marking stands for "Marine Department", indicating use in NYC's extensive harbor operations, particularly around New York City. Photos by permission. Click on either thumbnail image for a larger version.
Santa Fe Switchboard. Shown at right is a great "cross-over" item that relates to both railroad and telephone history. It is a Western Electric Model 550 Manual PBX or telephone switchboard. The dial is marked "SANTA FE"; the side of the wooden frame is marked "PROPERTY OF SANTA FE RR T- 1438". This PBX is reportedly from a Santa Fe business office in East Texas. Photo by Ken Stavinoha. Click on thumbnail image for a larger version.
New York Central Award. Railroads frequently gave plaques, ribbons and other awards to employees or internal departments to commemorate events or accomplishments. The award shown at right is a safety award from the New York Central System. It reads: "Safety Program, Yard District Competition, 1958-1959, Permanent Winner, West End, Youngstown to Aliquippa". Photo by Gary Moser. Click on thumbnail image for a larger version.
Locomotive Bell. Bells from locomotives can be beautiful, historical...and heavy. Usually made of cast brass, they can weigh hundreds of pounds. Locomotive bells are rarely marked for a railroad, so their documented provenance is especially important. This particular example is from a Norfolk & Western steam locomotive and was photographed at the 2004 Austintown, Ohio railroadiana show. Photo by Rob Hoffer. Click on thumbnail image for a larger version.

Featured Items
Second Page of Featured Items
Third Page of Featured Items
Fourth Page of Featured Items
Fifth Page of Featured Items
Sixth Page of Featured Items
Seventh Page of Featured Items