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Welcome to our Question & Answer Bulletin Board -- a bulletin board for collectors and anyone else to post questions about railroadiana and related history. Please note that we do not deal with contemporary railroading. This board is moderated (all volunteer) but is not staffed by "experts". Rather it relies on everyone to share what they know. Any question or reply about railroadiana is welcome except the following:

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Latest 50 Questions:

 Q3607 Adlake Switch Lantern Targets  I was given several Adlake square top switch lanterns and boxes of parts. After reading through the Q & A section of this site which had a wealth of information that was very helpful I still have a question. The day targets of these lanterns come in red, green, yellow and white. What was the white targets meaning? Thanks.  Posted Saturday, March 23, 2019 by Harry   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Prior to about 1920 white (meaning no additional color to what was usually kerosene flame illumination) was the 'safe' color rather than green, and the white day targets and also metal vane switch indicators matched the 'white' illumination color. When green lights became the 'safe' indication, most RR's discovered that a green day target blended with backgrounds and vegetation to the extent there was no point in having the green day target -- it couldn't be seen anyway. So they left them white instead, when a green lens was in use for the illuminated color. Also put 'day targets' in the search by word or phrase box (no quotes) to see lots of prior discussion on this topic here on the Q&A Site.  Posted Sunday, March 24, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3606 Lamp Inof?  Looking to find some info on this Adlake Non Sweating Lamp. Was told it was used on the Erie canal.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, March 22, 2019 by Paul B   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. A Google search I did found a similar lamp that is "engraved" NEW YORK STATE CANALS on the side. See Link 1. Most definitely a shipboard or barge type of lamp with the water shield around the vent and the tie down rings on the base.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, March 23, 2019 by JEM

 Q3605 RR Candle Lantern?  I have this candle railroad lantern. I do not know any of the history of this lantern. My family has been associated with the railroad for a long time, several generations. We have a number of other old railroad lanterns. I thought this lantern might have a railroad connection for the following reason: On both sides of the lantern are hinged panels. Behind one is a red colored somewhat transparent panel and behind the other one is a green panel. My thought is that it may have used the red panel to indicate a warning and the green one to indicate clear. I would appreciate receiving any insight you may have, including the time period this used. Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, March 21, 2019 by WJ   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This may be a darkroom lantern, the role now filled with 'safelights'. Enter "darkroom" in the word or phrase search box (without the quotes) to see many prior Q's with pix about that kind of lantern, which was used on both glass plates and early film types. Different black and white films and printing papers, not to mention processes like Daguerrotyping, all had differing sensitivities to red light and probably green light as well. With the proper filter(s) in place, the lantern could stay lit in the darkroom even as the processing proceeded.  Posted Thursday, March 21, 2019 by RJMc

A. This, at least to me, does not appear to be a railroad lantern. Even with such a strongly railroad family, it is definitely interesting and may have appealed to someone just because of that. It may also have been a gift, kept and treasured. I don't know how the panels work, but marine lanterns also used red and green . Red means left (port) and Green is for right (starboard). If the candle light shows through both sides at once, it could have been placed in the prow of a small boat, red side to the left, green to the right. Lights like this help increase visibility for boats approaching from the front or side.  Posted Friday, March 22, 2019 by JMS

A. Here are a couple more photos. Link 1  Posted Friday, March 22, 2019 by WJ

A. A couple more comments on this: As to time periods, in general, square tin lamp bodies went out of use about 1900, at least on North American railroads, and by then oil burners were almost exclusively used for signal-type lamps. The clear, unshaded front pane on this lamp makes the darkroom application unlikely. And I agree that nautical uses are also a good possibility. I was already wondering about possible canal boat uses of this lamp when the following question came in, mentioning the NY State Canal system. The various lamp manufacturers made lamps for all kinds of uses, often using the same basic designs and tooling, making definite determinations on things like this very difficult. The U-shaped cover over the chimney outlet looks more foreign, although the Piper Co's of Canada made a lot of lamps, including for RR's, that had that style of cover. One of the earlier answers on the site here mentions that wooden handles were also more typical of foreign practice.  Posted Saturday, March 23, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3604 Railway Lamps  I have 2 railway lamps, and I am really struggling to identify them (been looking for weeks. They are 4 glasses 2 red and 2 white. I think they were paraffin but converted to electric at some point. I am in Hawick, Scotland. Any advice or pointing me in the right direction would be great. cheers!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, March 18, 2019 by Roddy M   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3603 Lens Purpose?  My husband and I recently purchased a glass lot that included this large lens(?). We are looking for any information available on it. Is it, indeed, a lens? Railroad? signal? train? nautical? Manufacturer? Any and all assistance will be greatly appreciated,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, March 18, 2019 by Debbie   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I don't recognize it as anything RR-related. All RR lenses, and all other transportation-related lenses used for safety functions, have some kind of ID info, usually cast into the glass. Does this item have any lettering at all? The changes in color across the item suggest to me it may be art glass rather than a lens. I am not sure the ridges in this item have the correct contours to work as a Fresnel lens. You might try projecting light thru it to see if it provides any focusing or beam-forming action. I would suggest a car headlight as a readily available wide-beam light source for the tests.  Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3602 Paper-Soo Line 1/2 Fare Permit  It was sequentially numbered and torn out. It was pre-dated only with a '1' so as to be filled in around the turn of the century as 1890's or 1900's. H. E. Huntington was the city agent in Minneapolis and then St. Paul (Hotel Ryan) before he left the Soo about 1899, moving up the ranks across a few roads to become a General Passenger Traffic manager (lost my source, maybe the B. R. & P. circa 1907). What was the purpose for these permits to be handed out to select parties? They were never meant to survive for long as they had to be turned in when used.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, March 17, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3601 Railroad Seal/Token?  This was listed as a railroad seal and I actually think it might be a token. Charlie Harris, noted author and American Digger Magazine contributor, highly recommended your website and I'm certainly enjoying everything I've seen... Any information on this? If you can't ID it, it's no big deal...But I have found y'all's cool website...Much Obliged,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, March 17, 2019 by GB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. More digging necessary to figure out what it is (sorry pun intended) - but it looks like CNO&TPRY - see the Link. Questions - how big is it? and what do you think it is made of? Link 1  Posted Sunday, March 17, 2019 by JMS

A. Thanks JMS...Very insightful and gives us another direction to work in... Our limited view was from the perspective of the maker...Jas. Murdock, Jr. From Cincinnati... The "&" sign was throwing us, but your description would explain it.. We thought/think the "T" was actually an "I"....and we were working on Inclined Plane Railway Company...And there was 5 Inclined Planes in Cincinnati.... But. Without doubt, your reasoning makes much more sense.. BTW, it's made of Lead and curious if you're thinking token as opposed to a lead seal...EHBJ Posted Sunday, March 17, 2019 by E.Brown

A. Lead box car seal. There was a long piece of wire attached to the seal, it is run through the latch, and back through a hole in the seal, and them crimped with the iron sealer, which makes the embossed letters. Unusual to see one that makes a "makers mark" on one of the sides. When they are dug up by guys with metal detectors, the steel wires are long gone, leaving the lead "token". Posted Monday, March 18, 2019 by DA

A. There appear to be remnants of the wire protruding from the edge of seal in two places Posted Monday, March 18, 2019 by DC

A. Yes, a lead seal. They were used on boxcar and express car doors (often passing thru the shackle and body of a padlock), and also on express strongboxes and cash boxes. They were also widely used on water, electric, and gas company meters. One of the more exotic applications was on bottles (usually small) of liquor or other spirits being supplied by a RR to dining cars -- obviously a very high value commodity in great even irresistable demand by some. The dining car steward on departure had to sign for the kinds and quantities of supplies he was issued. After a trip an unbroken seal on a bottle allowed him to turn it back in and not be charged for it. Any opened bottles had to be accounted for in the cash flow. You can still buy the seals and crimping pliers from outfits like Grainger, but most users have supplanted these with one-time use plastic seals.  Posted Monday, March 18, 2019 by RJMc

A.  Thanks to all who have chimed in on this little Lead Seal....You all have provided a wealth of information.... Someone inquired dimensions: it's about the size of a modern penny(I was attempting a picture, but have failed, miserably) A couple of questions have risen since the knowledgeable information has been so graciously provided here, if it's a lead seal, why is there a number "3" on it? (That's what made me think token)....And secondly, Why the Maker's name on the opposite side???(And he was known for making die sinks & tokens).... Thanks again for all you have submitted... Posted Monday, March 18, 2019 by EHBJ

A. The numeral 3 could have represented the place of origin, I have seen the place of origin spelled out and stamped in the seal. Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2019 by DC

A. The device to crimp the seal closed looks like a pair of pliers. There are two sides to the crimping dies - one on each side of the jaws. When you order the 'pliers' you can get the dies custom cut to emboss your message into each seal as it is crimped. In this case the mfr. of the 'pliers' chose to put his ID on the one side -- probably the default on every pair he sold, and the custom RR ID on the other side(probably the RR got the 'pliers' for less money because of this, and RR's ALWAYS like(d) getting things for less money!!) In any big RR station or express company terminal there were many agents working. For high value shipments, it was often important to know who had sealed the shipment, particularly when there were problems later. Each agent, or possibly each shift, was issued their own crimper and the '3' on this one was traceable back to who did the original sealing. So this seal tells anyone looking at it the RR name, the location, and (probably) who did the sealing. If the seal itself was bigger, they probably would have also put the date on it, but that would take much more complicated and changeable dies, which ARE/WERE used on ticket dating stampers, but not for these much smaller one-time seals.  Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2019 by RJMc

A. Put 'lead seal' (but no quotes) in the 'By word or phrase' seach box to see several prior Q's about lead seals. Also the Link goes to a separate page here on the Q&A site all about lead seals and sealers. Link 1  Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3600 Unusual Marker Lamp  I recently came across a picture of a business car with a type of marker lamp I had never seen before. The picture was in the PRR Ft. Wayne Division album on the Barriger Library flickr website. The marker was on a Long Island business car, and has two rows of lenses. Iím guessing the lens colors were arranged so that the indication could be changed by illuminating one row or the other, instead of having to rotate the usual type of marker lamp mounted in a ring. I have attended railroadiana shows for 40 years, and have viewed thousands of railroad photos online, and have never seen a lamp like this before. This has got to be really rare. Were they standard on the LIRR?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, March 14, 2019 by Joe   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. See Link for a pic of a B&O obs also with 'stacked markers' similar to this -- but made of more ocnventional marker bodies. Herb Harwood's book Royal Blue Line, on pg. 138 has a going-away pic of the obs of the "Columbian" in 1936 with those "stacked" markers. Most of the book is about how the B&O fought to get into the New York metropolitan area passenger market. The B&O's own line ended at Philadelphia. Above Philly they had to run every day on the Reading, the CNJ, and during USRA even on the LV and the PRR into Penn Station. At a time when schedules were intensely competitive, the 'stacked' markers probably allowed them to meet differing marker color requirements for the different RR's, and/or mulitple track color marker color indications, without delaying the train to change anything other than inside switches. An LIRR office car, particularly, might have been set up the same way since it would likely 'wander' aound the New York railroad landscape much more than LIRR commuter cars would, and often as the rear car of a train.  Link 1  Posted Friday, March 15, 2019 by RJMc

A. David Dreimiller's book Signal Lights on pg. 53 has an Armspear ad from 1950 for a "Duplex Marker Lamp" much like the one on the B&O car above. The ad text says "Designed for special trains and private cars" and the text and cutaway drawing confirm all the above discussion about two switchable lamps to display different color combinations. Posted Friday, March 15, 2019 by RJMc

A. Didn't happen to run these by Grover's Mills in 1938 did they? Might explain those UFO sightings! Posted Saturday, March 16, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. The Encyclopedia of RR Lights, Vol. 2, in the Handlan section shows a 'Watts Caboose Marker' with this same idea only lit by a small kerosene burner, movable from top to bottom section, from inside the cupola of a caboose. The one they illustrate was marked "PRR" and the displayed color was either 'red for danger' or 'yellow for caution.' No date(s) was given for the Watts Marker. PRR and LIRR were always closely related, so maybe this is a PRR thing.  Posted Sunday, March 17, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3599 Identify Print?  Looking for information on this print that my father's barber gave him many years ago. Someone speculated it may be Giants Pass? The print is about 5 feet long and 2 1/2 feet tall. Any ideas?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, March 13, 2019 by PS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The hairpin loop at the right edge of the pic looks like it may wrap around a lake, although frozen over in this winter scene. That causes me to think of the east side of Rollins Pass, Colorado, (over 11,000 ft. elevation) above where Moffat Tunnel is now, where the right-of-way wrapped around Yankee Doodle Lake. The Link takes you to a very interesting US Geological Survey site where they have scanned in all of their historical topo maps and they will even overlay them for you. If you enter 'Rollins Pass' as the location you want, and pinpoint a spot on the first map they bring up, you can then select from all of the various topo maps they have available for that area. THere are two very good 1910 - 1912 maps of the RR going over Rollins Pass. I can't be positive, given that the artist might have taken some license, but its a possible. One detail in the pic which I can't reconcile is the 'industrial-appearing' building with smokestacks in the lower right corner. I don't know that there was anything like that on Rollins Pass. But you can make good use of the USGS site to check out any other candidate locations, at least in the U.S.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, March 13, 2019 by RJMc

A. The "Giant's Ladder" was one section of the route over Rollins Pass; we're talking about basically the same places.  Posted Wednesday, March 13, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3598 RR Lock?  Just wondering if this is a railroad lock and which railroad? Thank you!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, March 11, 2019 by Anne   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Norwich Lock Manufacturing Co. Not a RR lock, commonly referred to as a Smokehouse Lock. Posted Tuesday, March 12, 2019 by DC

 Q3597 Switch Key ID Needed  I am trying to identify a brass switch key. It is stamped DE.M C. RY.CO on one side of the bow. On the other side is stamped a very low serial number 18 and an oval Adams & Westlake mark which dates to around 1900 Ė 1920. Can anyone help identify the rail line? Thanks in advance.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, March 5, 2019 by JMS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Des Moines City Ry Posted Tuesday, March 5, 2019 by BobF

A. THANK YOU !  Posted Tuesday, March 5, 2019 by JMS

A. Joseph Gross's Trolley and Interurban Directory says Des Moines City Ry. started under that name in 1893 with 79 mis. of track. In 1929 it appears there may have been a corporate change and expansion to 103 mis. of track -- but keeping a very similar name. Gross gives no ending disposition for the co. Posted Wednesday, March 6, 2019 by RJMc

A. Thank you RJMc! I was stymied by the DE and no "s" before the M. I did try looking in our Gross book but got nowhere. I greatly appreciate your help!  Posted Sunday, March 10, 2019 by JMS

 Q3596 Quadruple Bracket Lantern  I recently purchased an unusual marker lamp made by Handlan for the B&O. It features a cast ring with four mounting brackets, which means the lamp does not turn in the bracket. Has anyone else come across this style of Handlan marker lamp before? Any idea of a time period when this bracket style was produced by Handlan? Thanks for any and all help!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, March 5, 2019 by Colin   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I note that the bracket position (45 degrees) compared to the axis of the lenses means this had to hang on a corner bracket, or at least a bracket with a 45 deg. slot. That should make it fairly easy to spot in photos, but I haven't found any such pix yet. Otherwise it seems to be a fairly standard lamp for Handlan, meaning made anywhere from 1920 to the 1950's or even later. The lamp mgfr's were into 'modular' items long before the word became popular; the brackets were kind of accessories that any customer could swap around to suit. So far looking in Barrett's Illustrated Encyc. Vol 2, and Dreimuller's RR Signal Lamp, and Hobson's Lanterns that Lit Our World, and all the B&O pix I have come across, nothing turns up to enlighten us on this. Any idea where this was used? "B&O" included the main line(s), the BR&P, the Chicago Term, the Staten Island R.T., and maybe other subsidiaries which might have had their own practices for markers, and that might help to concentrate the hunt for pix or recollections.  Posted Saturday, March 9, 2019 by RJMc

A. RJMc, you are correct that these were indeed produced for brackets with 45 degree slots. All the B&O stamped brackets on my B&O caboose feature 45 degree slots. I have also been hunting for pictures that may have caught one of the lamps in use but have not had any luck thus far. Not sure where exactly the lamp was used. The antique dealer I purchased it from was only able to tell me he bought it from someone in Ohio. Thanks for your info and ideas! Posted Saturday, March 9, 2019 by Colin

A. I found a good pic of a C&O combine passenger car running as a one-car train in Michigan on the former Pere Marquette, in 1971 (that's SEVENTY-one -- just before Amtrak!) with what looks like a pair of these markers hanging on the trailing baggage end. The pic and a similar one with a baggage car are in the Stegmaier book "C&O Passenger Cars in Color." Note that C&O and B&O had already been running as basically one consolidated RR for about 10 years at that time, and cars moved back and forth between the two RR's pretty freely. Most of the C&O psgr. cars in the book also have the 45-deg. corner brackets and very few seem to have the accessory outlets to use electric markers -- or they would have gotten the much smaller, more convenient 'cat's eye' type. I think the need to turn the markers basically went away when single track RR running timetable and train order went away, meaning the 1940's or earlier on most major RR's, so these fixed markers made sense and were probably cheaper to buy than ones with the rotating selector mechanism. Nobody went out on that one-car C&O train to turn the markers around when they went in a siding -- they were protected by signals. I am sure the markers got hung at the original terminal and left alone until taken down at the destination.  Posted Sunday, March 10, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3595 Wood & Sons 'Oregon' Cup  Luckin listed this pattern as OR&N 1.2 'Oregon'. However, the backstamp should date between 1907 and 1910, too late for steamship Oregon which ended its' career in Alaskan services and was gone by 1906. Another piece has surfaced in a northern California estate (a listing), so there seems a possibility that this might be from railroad services (station, hotel, eating house, etc.). Any new insights?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, March 5, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Just to play devil's advocate, Luckin states, "Pattern is thought to have been used on the ship Oregon" ... which does not sound as though there was positive proof of use. There is a plate listed on ebay right now (March 5)from a California seller. Personally? I would wonder if "Oregon" is simply the name that the maker decided to call that pattern. Wood & Son apparently did include pattern names in their markings and they made dozens of named patterns. Vitrified ware was often preferred for commercial establishments.  Posted Tuesday, March 5, 2019 by JMS

A. There was a "Hotel Oregon" in Portland -- and almost certainly other ones.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, March 5, 2019 by JMS

A. We encounter a very similar problem in a pattern labled HUDSON made by John Maddock & Sons Ltd. (1896-). It has the two blue chain/checker bands but with the ornament arranged like a cross. (Maddock provided items in COLONIAL pattern for The Hudson Lunch in the east.) We might expect Hudson to be a Maddock stock pattern, but the design was also made by Shenango (without a line name so far..on a cup) furnished by Greene-Winkler Seattle Portland!! Both "Oregon" and Hudson are very much nautical in appearance (like Canadian Pacific checkered flags), but no known ocean or inland vessels match up (Hudson River Day Line had a Hendrick Hudson in this era, but they also had their own company designs). Re. hotels, patterns for many of the larger ones have been identified in recent years..there are a number of smaller hotels, but they probably did not rate a custom border design. One thing we do know is that Southern Pacific, after the end of McAdoo control, had some patterns used for their extensive "related services" which are not RRBS. However, we don't know what designs were used prior to the 1920's-on. For OR&N, we know older Maddock Pottery (M-L China mark) was employed with topmarks (see Worthpoint record). [But some sources place OR&N/O.W.RR & N. equipment being used on The Shasta/Shasta Limited!!??] Some of the logging operations (employing rail lines) did use both semi and fully vitreous china (commissary wares in this case), but few would need a custom design. Posted Wednesday, March 6, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. After finding some limited info. on Messrs. Greene & Winkler including a letterhead image of their facility, I've hit another stone wall on revealing who they were. But their is hope still as both Heyman & Weil have been clearly identified with bio. info (Larry Paul is updating his files on them now.) I must warn all that for older Pacific Coast suppliers you may run into relationships of businesses or families with various shells of importing firms that could be handling the foreign chinas through western ports..i.e. trans-Pacific and possibly via Suez. It may not be direct as one shipwreck revealed china going into Vancouver B.C. for re-shipment down the coast to the major San Francisco-based supplier Dohrmann. G-W seems to be a Shenango-only supplier that sometimes replaces an older existing design with Shenango. We may identy the original china maker, but the actual suppliers remain elusive, and may include Pacific firms or even Albert Pick in his earlier western region dealings out of the Chicago base. G-W dealt with Alaska Steamship, Alaska RR & Hotel, and othern northern business so nautical firms are quite possible. That said, both "Hudson" and the very similar "Oregon" could be water-transport patterns leaving open the Columbia River paddlewheel operations like OR&N/OWRR&N or ocean-going sides like Oregon Steam Navigation & successor, as well as those heading to points north. Might be a long road to solve this one. Posted Tuesday, March 12, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. BTW, In looking at Victorian or Edwardian English-produced patterns with names, it might help to think of the long Brit memory which knew Oregon to be a territory that included today's Washington State, and Hudson (Link 1) to be a company engaged in far reaching trade in the west. They may have been getting a bit sentimental about the old hand of Britannia upon her empire. Link 1  Posted Tuesday, March 12, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3594 Keros with Missing Stand?  I have 2 Adams & Westlake Co lanterns, both are the same with red 3 1/4 inch globes with ADLAKE KERO on the globe. They have The Adams & Westlake Co on the brim of the lantern. Inside is at the bottom around the wick it says LONG TIME BURNING OIL ONLY no 300. My main question is they donít have a stand. They look like they were meant to hang only. Were some made to hang only or are they missing the stand?  Posted Monday, March 4, 2019 by CS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Please provide a picture or pictures of these lanterns. Thanks.  Posted Monday, March 4, 2019 by JEM

 Q3593 'Engine' Lantern  I was cleaning out my grandma's house and found a Dietz No. 39 railroad lantern. It's stamped B.R. & P Ry on top. I did a little research and read about the railroad. This particular lantern is stamped with engine on top. Does this mean the lantern was used on the engine? In addition, the globe has the letter E etched into it [See picture]. Any Idea what this means? Thanks in advance for your time.  [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, February 28, 2019 by Brian H   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Yes, the 'ENGINE' marking means this lantern was assigned to stay on a locomotive as part of the assigned equipment for the engine. Most RR's had 'engine' or 'loco' marked lanterns such as this; some of those also had heavy bases. Prior Q's 3001 and 731 talk about such lanterns. They were marked that way to try to keep train crewmen from carrying them off -- which would likely happen when the crewman's own assigned lantern got lost or broken during a shift. The etched letter marked on the globe is harder to explain. On first glance it looks to me more like an 'H' or maybe an '11' but it could be an 'E' for which someone made up their own mask to etch the globe. This is probably something local to the BR&P. The Link at the bottom of the page has a list of equipment carried on the steam engines of one RR, listing not only 4 kerosene lanterns but two spare globes, one clear, one red. They might have been etched to mark them as engine equipment, as well.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, February 28, 2019 by RJMc

A. The "E" etched on the globe also stands for ENGINE. Probably over 1/3 of the BR&P Engine lanterns that I've seen also had the marked globe with the etched "E". Posted Thursday, February 28, 2019 by GLM

A. Some BR&P globes have an embossed "E" on the back for Engine. Some lanterns also have engine on the lid and the bell both. Many variations are available in BR&P lanterns and globes. Enjoy collecting the variations.  Posted Friday, March 1, 2019 by COD

 Q3592 Locomotive Builders Plate Identification  I do not own the plate I am inquiring about. I am trying to identify the manufacturer of the attached locomotive and can not read the inscription. If you can ID this plate, then I may be able to ID the locomotive. I am researching a collection of photos for a local library but this one stumps me.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, February 25, 2019 by HN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I assume the 'builder's plate' you refer to is the one mounted between the two driving wheels (not the usual place for builder's plates later on, which were up on the boiler side.) That said it looks to me that it says "Taunton Locomotive Company", which would be consistent with locomotives of this vintage. Taunton operated in Massachusetts from 1849 to 1889 (See Link1) The HP&F probably refers to the Hartford, Providence and Fishkill RR (see Link 2), a predecessor of the New Haven, which operated in the Connecticut area between 1849 and 1863 and would have been partial to their local loco supplier over in Massachusetts. Searching the web turns up several other similar engines of the H, P &F, all apparently named after (CT?) governors, such as Dyer and Hoppin, and built by Taunton. The name on the cab in your pic looks like 'McManus' but so far no hits on that name as a governor.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Tuesday, February 26, 2019 by RJMc

A. See the Link for a pic of the HP&F "Governor Jewell" which looks identical to your loco, including the Taunton plate between the drivers. Jewell was Governor of Connecticut between 1869 and 1873.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, February 26, 2019 by RJMc

A. Dyer and Hoppin were Governors of Rhode Island between 1854 and 1859. Still no luck on who 'McManus' might have been but an American Railroad Manual for 1874 says the HP&F had 30 locomotives then and operated all the way into Boston. Posted Tuesday, February 26, 2019 by RJMc

A. If you still need more specific info about that one loco, you might contact the New Haven RR Technical Society (see Links)  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2019 by RJMc

A. On looking again, more closely at the pic, the name on the cab is "J. T. McManus." An 1870 annual report of the RR Commissioners of Connecticut (available as a Google-scanned e-book) reports Mr. J.T. McManus is the newly-promoted Superintendent of the HP&F, so far doing a great job keeping the road running after catastrophic storm damage. Successful superintendents often got further promoted in company managements.  Posted Wednesday, February 27, 2019 by RJMc

A. Also getting J. T. McManus as Puchasing Agent (1870) of New London Northern Railroad based at New London (Link 1). He's also shown as Superintendent of that road (same year & location) in another source. (None of which confirms an actual identity without the full name yet.) Link 1  Posted Friday, March 1, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Thanks to all on the help and leads. The loco photo will now be entered into the Library's records and catalogue Harry Nicholls Dallas, TX Posted Tuesday, March 19, 2019 by HKN

 Q3591 Lunkenheimer Whistle  I have this Lunkenheimer whistle. It's 4 in. in diameter, 22 1/2 in. tall and has a 2 in. threaded base. I would like to know about how old it is and if you think it was used on a locomotive or a steam tractor? Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, February 22, 2019 by RT   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The bottom flange mount for this whistle does not look robust enough to stand up to mobile service. Whistles like this were also used on factories which had steam boilers, such as steel and paper mills and power plants, to signal shift changes and lunch breaks, etc. Posted Saturday, February 23, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3590 P L W Railroad?  Can you please tell me where the P L W Railroad is located or I should say was located in 1921? A relative was a railroad lighter, and he gives this name as his place of work. He was living in Brooklyn if that helps. Thank you for your time.  Posted Friday, February 22, 2019 by HT   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Pennsylvania Lines West.Pennsylvania lines west of Pittsburgh. Posted Saturday, February 23, 2019 by DC

A. When you say 'railroad lighter' around the New York City area that may refer to the tugboats and railroad car barges/floats that carried freight cars to different piers around the harbor. Did you relative work on boats? Or maybe trains carried on boats? The Pennsylvania RR had extensive operations of that kind in the NYC area, but it would not have been Lines West. Posted Saturday, February 23, 2019 by RJMc

A. Are you sure the first letter is "P"? If it was D L W that would be Delaware, Lackawanna & Western RR which ran an extensive lighterage operation in the New York City area.  Posted Saturday, February 23, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3589 Bronze Bell  Question about a bell my husband and I just acquired. The only known history of it is it belonged to a former employee of the NC&StL RR who has since passed away. The bell was found in Bell Buckle TN, which is where the NC&StL employee lived. Attempted much exhausting research on the bell, the yoke and the cradle. As you can see in the photo, the cradle/stand is quite straight across the bottom where it is attached to the mount, unlike the more rounded and curved stands. The cast number on the bottom is D15080. The yoke has cast number D10750. The bell itself has been determined to be bronze, but no markings anywhere on it, but has fabulous patina! There is a chain attached to the bell pull arm that also has wonderful patina. We believe the chain is also bronze. The only bell stand/ cradle I have come across that is remotely similar in nature, is from an old photo of a Baldwin class P-1, 1918, photo taken in Princeton Tennessee May 1936 (see photo). Any ideas or leads to determine any further information on this? It has been exhausting research to find any other bell similar in shape and size. The bell measures just shy of 12 in. across the bottom of the mouth, 9 in. in height. The yoke measures 10 in. across to where it attaches to the cradle. The cradle/stand measures 18 in. across at the widest point. Overall, from bottom mount to the top, it is about 19 in. to 20 in. tall. If you can offer any information, it would be wonderful as we truly would like to know something of its history. We have no intention of selling and prefer to keep the bell in its current state of beautiful patina. Thank you for all of the incredible wealth of information on your site, it has been quite valuable to us.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, February 17, 2019 by DB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. At 9 inches it is on the smaller size for locomotive bells so my guess it is off something like a porter or small yard engine. More than likely it is tarnished brass not bronze. If you disassemble it you MIGHT find a hidden number on the very top of the bell that will give a clue as to the engine number. It is a nice looking bell.  Posted Wednesday, February 20, 2019 by Ex Sou Ry

 Q3588 SP Logging Photo  The caboose on this logging job (louped at 10X) appears to be SP #523 circa 1927-33 (possibly working on the Tillamook Branch in Oregon before the big burn). The numbers in the cupola window seem to be 2225, a Cooke built 4-6-0 Ten-Wheeler later classed as an SP T-2. If anyone knows the original road numbers and any information on the history or disposition of the locomotive, or the caboose, it would be welcome. (There is a hack on the coast at Garibaldi whose original identity is uncertain. Logging trains worked out of there, probably for the Hammond holdings.)   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, February 14, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. What little posted information can be found relates to SP 2252, an 1897 T-1 class Ten Wheeler (Link 1) renumbered in 1901. The smaller T-2 group may be earlier builds but their prior numbers have not come up yet. Link 1  Posted Saturday, March 23, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3587 B&M Watercolor  This is an original watercolor, ink and gouache, intended to be printed as an ad. Looks to be maybe 1920's or so. Sheet size is approx. 11 1/2 in. x 8 1/2 in. I'm trying to find out who the artist may be (many ads were unsigned). Thanks.  [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, February 9, 2019 by JD   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3586 PRR Gas Lamp Base  I work for a charity, and we received this gas lamp in our donations. I tried to research the lamp but came up with no answers. I am curious as to the era this Lamp would have been used, what type of train this lamp would have been found in and also where in the train the lamp would have been placed? This lamp stands about 9 inches tall (excluding the gas element) and 5 inches wide at the base. It is marked on the bottom 'PRR' in cursive and then 'International Silver Co.' 'Silver Soldered' '0250'. Any help you can give would be appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, February 4, 2019 by LT   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. A fascinating piece; quite likely a reading lamp to sit on a side table. A couple of possibilities: it might not have been on the train; PRR had several very elegant stations at Penn in NYC, in New Jersey, at Broad Street in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC and points west. Any one of the older ones of these might have had gas light in the 1880 time period. As to onboard, a lamp this fancy would have probably been on a diner, lounge car, private car or company office car. Well before 1900 some passenger and mail cars were lit with the Pintsch compressed gas system. Usually that system used ceiling-mounted light fixtures with hard-piped gas connections. Your lamp would have probably required a flexible hose. A very complete explanation of the Pintsch system as used in Canada is in Link 1. It has lots of pix of car interiors, but none with a gas table lamp.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, February 7, 2019 by RJMc

A. The links below shows 'Gas Desk Lamps' in use ca. 1900 - 1910 (in Europe, and not on a RR.).  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Thursday, February 7, 2019 by RJMc

A. Hi LT, Take a look at the bottom data marks on your table lamp carefully.International Silver Company date coded their silverplated items with a small square box with 2 number digits,which was the manufacturing year.Take a careful look for this little square box mark possibly hidden in the old tarnish.I have found date codes back to 1913 on ISCO items in my collection of diner silver. Let us know what you find.DJB Posted Thursday, February 7, 2019 by DJB

A. In the Reed & Barton catalog a similar piece is called an electric candlestick. This one may have parts missing or it may have been refitted for gas. Posted Friday, February 8, 2019 by Ex Sou Ry

A. See the Link for an outstanding series of highly detailed and well documented photos taken by photographer William Rau of the exteriors and interiors of a bank in downtown Philadelphia. Tha offices of the bank by 1910 all have electric overhead light and electric desk lamps, but some gas fixtures are still on the walls and are noted and shown in the pix. Even better, the website notes that Rau was the official photographer of the PRR and the LV RR's in the 1880's and 90's and gives some references to find those pix. It will require some more searching. It is fairly certain there will be both station interior and train interior pix where we can look for your 'candlestick' either in electric or gas mode. (The large-format cameras used by Rau provide so much resolution you can read the dates of calendars on the wall, making an exceptionally well-documented reference source for all kinds of queries!)  Link 1  Posted Sunday, February 10, 2019 by RJMc

A. A few basics for dating. International Silver does not exist as an entity until no earlier than this. A major contract with the Harriman Lines in 1908 sets ISCo. as the big supplier for transportation firms, but many of the component firms/plants were already providing wares. In 1914, the "Hotel Division" is formed...some researchers held in the past that International Silver used the marks of the subsidiaries until the late '20's before replacing them with the conglomerate name. However, this does not seem to hold true where commercial customers came into play (hotel supply)...examples of datable items with the International Silver Co. mark do surface. Because of the lead time for stocking a planned service, date codes can be slightly earlier than actual implementation of the items...a bigger problem in china services than in silverwares, but things like lamps could be taken from shelf stock when a replacement order is filled. All of which is the nightmare we struggle with to date items. It might help here to look at the various china and silver flatware items with the cursive/script PRR logo to determine the likely period this item was ordered...a very complicated task if anyone is dying to undertake this. It may also be a good idea to double-list this inquiry over at 925-1000 site (photos required) in case someone has access to information on the 0250 lamp base. (0 and 00 are probably not numbers, but cyphers/codes that began with Meridan Britannia and were kept in use by International this is really the #250 which could be a model, pattern, catalogue number or something yet to be determined.) Posted Sunday, February 10, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. An example of just how ornate an 1891 PRR dining car could be is at the Link. At least 30 light fixtures are visible in this pic of only one-half or so of the dining room interior, including a fixture at teach table, but hard to tell if they are electric or other, and what the 'other' might be.  Link 1  Posted Sunday, February 10, 2019 by RJMc

A. This is proving to be a very daunting task for someone who is not versed in the antique world. More specifically, antique gas lamps with a probable association with the PRR. The lamp was donated in Altoona, PA; a major railroad town. It literally could have come from Penn Station, Philadelphia, or any number of rail cars. Every one of your replies is appreciated and gives me a bit more knowledge than I had before. Some things I have learned: I understand that ISC didnít exist until 1898 also I checked the bottom of the lamp for a date code in a box and found nothing. Because I do work for a charity and our ultimate goal is to sell this item, I am still unable to determine much from this Lamp. I have found no comparable items to justify value. Furthermore, I do understand this site does not assess value. I was hoping to find some specifics on the lamp in order to research compatible item value. Unsure if this should be sold for $5 or $500 because I canít seem to pinpoint the association with this lamp. Please, if you can, continue to help. With every response I learn a bit more.  Posted Sunday, February 10, 2019 by LT

A. PRR opened Penn Station in New York City in 1910. Because of the multiple long tunnels and the underground station, they had a huge initiative in the 1910 time period to eliminate all wooden-bodied cars, all non-steam heating systems on cars, and all open-flame-type lights on cars that might operate into Penn, because of the fire risks associated with all of those previously-common features on passenger trains. But those same issues would not have applied to station or office interiors around the system which could have had gas lighting -- but electric light and electric service had been available for interiors for quite a while by then. One detailto check: the compression fitting on the bottom of the lamp looks original: is that for hose or electric wire?  Posted Monday, February 11, 2019 by RJMc

A. The fitting on the bottom of the lamp (and the top) look original and does not look like it has been modified in any way for electric lighting. LT  Posted Monday, February 11, 2019 by LT

A. Bottom marks, however styled, are for ownership identification not for show. It was a regular railroad practice as was ordering in vast quantities. The Altoona complex was massive and probably had places where this could be put to use. Loco bells aside, logic dictates bigger and bulkier tends to stay close to home, and things that travel too far tend to sustain damage over time. I would guess there's a very good likelyhood of this being a local stash which has somehow escaped the eye of collectors. Such things often went right into the hands of railroad families and then were stored, only to surface after many decades. Of course, if it did get loose, there were guys who hoarded rail stuff en-masse without ever tagging the items. Years later the family members are confused about what it all is and may sell it cheap or give it away..I just saw this happen a few years ago with one guy's stuff that went back to the thirties era. You'd think he'd found a Southern Pacific warehouse and stuffed it in a barn! Posted Monday, February 11, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3585 Litchfield Brass Button  Southern Pacific uniform. Maker Joseph M. Litchfield & Co. reportedly 1876-1906. Litchfield was a Captain of National Guard, a city supervisor of San Francisco (c.'80-'81), and sat on state railroad commission. California official reports have his company filing incorporation papers in 1908, even though most sites put them out of business with the '06 earthquake. No mention of railroad outfitting on early trade card, just military and organizational. (Sued and won against Allien in NY.) Anything that might put a clearer date for this button?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, February 4, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Found additional sample on pgs. 27-28 thought to be from John Usher's conductor's uniform:  Link 1  Posted Monday, February 4, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. This button design is shown as plate # 21-1 in VanCourt's railroad button book, described on p.165. No mention of Litchfield, but he says Waterbury did make these buttons. NOTE He says "nickel, brown lacquer" (no mention of brass) for two possibilities. (1)"low convex, with P back(partly soldered or brazed, rigid round wire shank" or with S back(unsoldered or unbrazed, rigid "D" section wire shank) - dates around 1936. OR: (2) "low convex,with P back(partly soldered or brazed, rigid round wire shank" or F back (fully soldered or brazed, rigid round wire shank" is dated 1880s. I do not know enough about buttons but that is what is in the book for this design. Author rates them C about midway on the scale.  Posted Thursday, February 7, 2019 by jms

A. The actual origins of many buttons are complicated by the use of retailer names in place if manufacturers. Horstmann Bros. & Horstmann & Alien buttons were mentioned in that archaelogical sampling project above for "south of Market" in San Francisco. Allien begins his own firm in 1877 (known to have produced or retailed Pullman Palace Car Company which is pre-1900). As noted, Litchfield had a long-standing legal-feud with Allien and may have gone full-fledged into the uniform business on his own after this showdown started. Link 1 gives a list of names found on button backs and some dating. (It puts Litchfield's mark 1880-95.) Pasquale (on the list) was also, among others, a maker or supplier of this long-standing SP design, and it is found on both closed-back buttons and open-back button covers. I take it that Privy 9, Block 9 may be a feature that was sealed by the 1906 earthquake. As to Litchfield after the fire, other than the 1908 incorporation date, the only reference was c.1912 ad. mentioning one of these men now with another firm having come from Litchfield "of this city"...possibly indicating that firm was gone after 1911. Thanks JMS..did Van Court have anything earlier for SP? Link 1  Posted Thursday, February 7, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Found J.M. Litchfield in 1912 at Commecial Fire Dispatch Company in Link 1 (hopefully). B. Pasquale Co. incorporated in 1901 (senate records) and seems to have low-bidded on a military hat contract around 1904 which looks to have previously been a Litchfield thing...Pasquale seems to have eliminated the competition and survives to the World War II era. The Litchfield name does not appear in a 1917 directory at all. While two persons surface as working for the Pasquale Company, no individuals named Pasquale seem to be linked to this business later. Link 1  Posted Thursday, February 7, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Like these search engines, I guess J.M. Litchfield just would not 1918 he is involved as an organizer of the Reliance Trailer & Truck Co., Inc. (Link 1). Looking backwards, in 1880 he was involved in mining firms and by 1882 his tailoring company is already in place and advertising jockey silks in a breeder journal. All of which seems to suggest it would be safe to place any buttons from him as pre-1910. Pasquale, on the other hand, is on a San Francisco & Sacramento Railroad button ("SFS", c.1920-1926) making that firm's railroad items harder to date by any cut-off. Link 1  Posted Friday, February 8, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3584 Age of Adlake Lantern?  About what year is an Adlake 31-B electric lantern?  Posted Saturday, February 2, 2019 by Daniel A   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Barrett's Illustrated Encyc. of RR Lighting, Vol. 1, shows an "Adlake Model 31-g" being marketed by the Piper Co. in 1953. Piper had rights to either sell Adlake-made lanterns, or to manufacture their own to Adlake patterns, in Canada. Adlake was probably marketing them at the same time in the U.S., as well as making them available to other mfrs/sellers such as Armspear. The Model 31 is the very common type of trainman's electric hand lantern using a 6-volt rectangular lantern battery with two bulbs; this style was made by several manufacturers over decades, with fairly small changes between the mfrs. and details of the lanterns. Sale of this kind of lantern, along with a spate of patent activity, actually began in 1918, got intense in the 1930's, and continued up thru the 1970's, when the housings began to be made from rectangular plastic instead of round metal. This huge variety and long timespan makes it hard to be more specific about when a particular model of lantern was being produced and sold.  Posted Sunday, February 3, 2019 by RJMc

A. Slight correction: the Piper 1953 catalog listing in Barrett is for a Model 31-B. It gives a very complete description of the lantern with specs. The Adlake section shows only a picture of a Model 31-g, and without any date info. The Armspear section shows what appears to be a Model 31 and mentions two patent numbers: 1,893,293 and 2,255,291. The first was issued in 1933, the second in 1941. Zeroing in any closer would probably require contacting Adlake; they may still retain production records.  Posted Sunday, February 3, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3583 More Lamp Information?  I recently restored an Adlake 1112 non sweating switch lamp marked PRR. I was the one who asked the question about repainting the lamp and fixing the bottom as it was rusted out. I put a new bottom on it, repainted the lamp as per your suggestion. Someone had already stripped the original paint. The base is gone, and I am not too worried about that. I would like to hang it in my train room rather then put it on a shelf. My question is: Do you know if they ever made a wall bracket to go around this lantern or [could you] suggest something that would work and look original to the piece? Any information would be greatly appreciated.  Posted Friday, February 1, 2019 by splumber   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Maybe a Caboose marker lantern bracket might fit. They come up every once in a while on the auction site. Maybe a large plant pot "L" shaped bracket found in the garden section would work and hang the lamp from its bail handle. Another possibility would be to drill a small hole thru the top and insert a ring bolt so as to hang it by a chain from the ceiling. Could even wire it as a hanging lamp with a 4 watt night light bulb in it. I think there's endless ways to do it with some brain storming and a walk thru Home Depot or Lowes. Posted Saturday, February 2, 2019 by LC

A. My immediate thought on this problem, if I had it: I would head down to my nearby well-stocked Thrift Shop and look for a used steel saucepan -- they came in all diameters, the used ones are inexpensive, and with luck you may be able to replace the bottom of the lamp with one. Turn the pan over, and you could insert it up inside the lamp body and Pop-Rivet it in, or use sheet metal screws. The attached handle on the pan might even work out as the mounting bracket, or you can go with a pipe flange and pipe fittings. (And as to being 'prototype', don't worry, RR's and railroaders did stuff like this all the time to 'make it work' when budgets were tight.) Posted Thursday, February 7, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3582 RR Lights  Wondering if i could get some info on these.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, January 26, 2019 by NM   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. While you wait for an answer, look at Q. 567. Please you have a rope-like wick or a flat lamp/latern wick? Is there an inside cap for a wick to pass through? With no wick adjuster, you are probably in the general world of torches, and likely a tool for inspection purposes. And since the fuel source would be limited, it would not work well for a lamp beyond a short time. [Notice a basic similarity to core components of old ceiling mounted lamps for car lighting, which have an external fuel tank.] Is that a PYREX seal-mark on the glass? Acid etched? Printed? Any numbers/codes? That said, someone has rigged the second one for wall mounting and carry away, but does the handle securely lock in place...not very good for engine or caboose if it does not. (A snap-in bracket like circlips or tongs would make sense for a basic tube..someone, possibly in the shops, was building a better mouse-trap.) Perhaps some measurements in inches? Posted Saturday, January 26, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. BTW...has that all been drilled out and re-rigged for wiring up a bulb? Posted Saturday, January 26, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. These are candle-powered lights which were used as backup/emergency lights 'til fairly recent times in Railway Post Office cars and much earlier in Pullman and RR sleeping cars. Because there were several on every car, and very attractive and portable, they are fairly common. Start with prior Q 2877 and there are many references back from there.  Posted Saturday, January 26, 2019 by RJMc

A. RJMc is right on target. These are RPO lamps that were wall mounted. NYCS stands for New York Central Systems, and can be dated from 1935 when NYCS was used - 1968. Yes the Pyrex chimney is correct - you should be able to find another on ebay where they are listed occasionally. There should be a spring in the body, to keep the candle moving up as it burns. We have plain "emergency candles" that work just fine. You are fortunate to have the wall mount as these are missing more often than not. Replacement wall mounts (and I think globes?) are available on the Kirkman lantern website (I hope it is OK to post a link to that).  Link 1  Posted Saturday, January 26, 2019 by JMS

A. Here's all the prior Q's : 16, 409, 413, 1315, 2299, 2877 (as noted above). At the Kirkman site, the candle lamp brackets are under CLB-F (old style) and CLB-M (new style). The candle lamp chimney is under 31-CL-550. [Provided for research..not a commercial endorsement.]  Posted Saturday, January 26, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3581 Grand Trunk Switch Lock/Key   Surfaced together in Southern California. Lock is O.M. Edwards 'PAOWNYC' marked for 'G T- RY'. Key is straight line Adlake bored through (early) marked for 'G.T.W.'. Key turns through full resistance, but hasp is stuck for now. I would take it that this very blackened brass lock may have been in usage along the American section into the era of Grand Trunk Western, and possibly confined to lines west of Port Huron (although the lock could have been moved there). Can the lock's earliest production be dated, and does the conclusion match what others have found? A genuine Auto-Belt relic?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, January 26, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Added note-When found, not part of a larger collection, but accompanied by four passenger schedules...3 Grand Trunk System from 1959, and 1 Canadian National for 1961. I'll re-check to see if there's anything else that might give a clue on when these may have been originally acquired. Posted Saturday, January 26, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Mr Edwards lived in New York. PAOWNYC was the name of his family's great camp in the Adirondack Mountains. You can find more information about him and the family fairly readily but I have included two links. This may help date the lock but I am not sure. We see quite a few of their locks in New York and hte Northeast. Good luck! Link 1  Link 2  Posted Wednesday, January 30, 2019 by JMS

A. Thinking about the dates of those schedules and the GTW history, an interesting note on the last of steam runs on the line is covered by J. David Ingles on page 36 of Classic Trains V. 1. n. 2 Summer 2000. Perhaps the locks original caretaker had a good reason to be in that area at the time. Thanks JMS. Photos of the Edwards shops/factories can also be found on-line. Posted Saturday, February 2, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3580 'City of' Which Pre-War Photo?  Trailing cars have contour roof of early sets. Locomotive in dark paint but no lower nose herald. A reflective area set high between the grills. Third track visible and prominent tower. Can we ascertain which train and where? City Of Denver seems unlikely.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Unfortunately, I don't have Kratville's volume on the UP Streamliners. Utah Rails site (Link1) has layed out some very detailed information in layers. From what I can tell, the may be EMC E2A SF-1 as built on the head of the COSF as M-10004 on the "Fourth Train". [The locomotive on the crashed train looks like a later unit...see StreamlinerMemories site for article.] But I'm just not sure without access to photos of all the involved engines. As far as I can tell, photos of SF-1 are either still display or stop-motion shots by professionals. This seems to be the only "at speed", and thus blurry, snapshot to be available. The actual location might reveal a lot more, so shadows (time of day) compared against schedules might narrow this down. SF-1, the so-named Queen Mary, would be re-built into an E-7 by Southern Pacific later on. The original motor is all that survives. Link 1  Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Well, this is quite confusing, but it seems for 1936 M-10003 & M-10004 (engines, not train sets) are both two-unit power having grills but not turrets...instead, they have car-body or automotive like styling but not like the E2's to follow. Both sets are lettered for COSF but have no nose heralds to start. Not yet certain how M-10005/M-10006 for COD should appear as built (herald or no herald). M-10003 is the primary set during the eighteen month period, with M-10004 serving as a back-up split between the two city trains (don't ask me how they dealt with that lettering job). Posted Saturday, January 26, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Sorry, better source...M-10003 is the back-up set. Window arrangement is different and no train lettering, initially at least. A side emblem is general to UP with a center shield. Set will go to COD as CD-7. M-10004 has either no side emblem and centered lettering or else high lettering and a side emblem for COSF (not UP herald)...but not clear which came first yet. Set will later go to COLA as LA-4 (set, intact) for a while at least. It may already be altered at that point. Posted Saturday, January 26, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Just in case anyone takes a special interest in COSF history (plus more), an old two-pager discussion on the war-era trains (Link 1). Better make a pot of java first. Link 1  Posted Sunday, March 17, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3579 Lamp ID?  We have been trying to identify this piece for a while. It was given to my wife years ago by her uncle who worked for the Southern Railroad Company for years. He operated the 'Best Friend of Charleston' for a while as part of the company's public relations. He collected railroad memorabilia and would share much of it with family. This piece stands about 30 inches tall and about 12 inches wide. It has a large curved glass globe with 'Dressel No. 57' raised letters on the glass. These are the only words we could identify on the piece. We did not know if this is a street lamp, train light or what. If any of your members could help us identify this piece and its original use it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, January 20, 2019 by Don D   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Prior Q 2676 here on the Q&A site has a pic of an almost identical lamp, and a pic with it fully (and beautifully) restored. It ID's it as a "Dressel No. 57 Belgian railroad platform lamp." Prior Q 1938 talks about the similar Dietz lamps which were used both by RR's for platform and station lamps, and by towns for street lamps. These were quite common at smaller stations and in smaller towns where electricity didn't become commonly available until well into the 20th century.  Posted Sunday, January 20, 2019 by RJMc

A. Although use of lamps like this was probably very common, today photographs of them in use are NOT common, and they can be hard to spot in the photos that do exist. But Link 1 shows the depot at Syosset (presumably Long Island) with two of these lights, mounted on about 8-foot-high poles, on the platform at each end of the depot building. That seems to have been a typical way to use them. I am sure that one reason they all went away is the hassle it must have been to keep them fueled, the wicks trimmed, etc etc with the lamp that large and 8 feet or so up in the air!! I'm sure the station agents found electric lamps a GREAT relief compared to these.  Link 1  Posted Monday, January 21, 2019 by RJMc

A. The town website which provided the pic in Link 1 above dates it to circa 1911.  Posted Monday, January 21, 2019 by RJMc

A. The 1894 edition of the Illustrated Catalogue of Ry and Machinists' Tools and Supplies of the distributors Manning, Maxwell & Moore, Inc., (over 1100 pages (!)) which was scanned and made available (free) online by Google books shows a very similar "Round Street Lamp" on page 1001 at $3.50 each in japanned tin and $5.00 each in the all brass version.  Posted Wednesday, January 23, 2019 by RJMc

A. As background info, Anthony Hobson's book Lanterns That Lit Our World shows that the Dietz Co. marketed large round 'street lamps' similar to this one beginning in 1880 all the way up to 1944. Unfortunately Dressel's production history is almost undocumented.  Posted Sunday, January 27, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3578 Pullman Lavatory Window  I have a lavatory window from a Pullman passenger car. I believe this is a heavyweight imperial prismatic glass. You can see a picture of it in 'A Century of Pullman Cars vol.2' on page 27, lower right hand corner. Does anybody know where I can get more info on this window?  Posted Friday, January 18, 2019 by JM   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I don't have access to the reference, but if you know the car name, you can identify the Pullman Lot and Plan nos. The Link has a very good description of where various historical info about Pullman-built cars has ended up, and how to access it. Until 1987, Pullman Technologies, Inc. maintained a lot of historical records including specification info, but they transferred everything they had to various institutions when they went out of business (as described at the Link). The Pullman Company did a very thorough job of documenting the designs and specs of things that went into Pullman-built cars. There was a 'Car History Book' produced for each Plan and Lot. (The other car builders had similar practices.) That book would cover details down to what brand and pattern of tile flooring got used, and what kind of window shades got used, just for two examples, since many of the customer RR's spec'ed their cars down to that level and sent inspectors to verify that their preferences were followed. Your lavatory window would probably be described there with considerable detail -- possibly down to the manufacturer and part no. -- since it apparently was a highly specialized item. You will have to do some digging thru the references in the Link to hopefully find that documentation for the car or series of cars the window came from.  Link 1  Posted Sunday, January 27, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3577 Identifying a Headlight  I'm trying to identify the manufacturer of the headlight on this Frisco 1102 4-6-0 engine. I need to either find one or make a replica of it, but I can't get a clear picture of it. If you zoom in the quality of the picture gets blurry. I thought if I knew the manufacturer I could do some further research.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2019 by Kevin   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The item you have circled on the pic is one of the two classification lights, not the headlight. The classification lights on this engine are definitely very unusual, and will take some further checking. There is some chance that the RR built their own (!!) since most major RR's had tin shops as part of their major shop facilities -- which would make these very rare.  Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2019 by RJMc

A. The class lights are probably Handlan model No. 73, which is shown and described in the Handlan section of Barrett's Vol. 2, Illustrated Encyclopedia of RR Lighting. The Link is to a pic of SLSF 1109, which has a somewhat clearer view of the class lights and shows their wrap-around 'Radius' type lenses. Although themselves quite old (about 1908), both the 1102 and 1109 have electric generators/dynamos and electric main headlights, as well as the electric lamp at the top of the stack to let the fireman see when the smoke is too thick (that lamp says the engines are an oil burners...)so the lights in the pix are almost certainly electric. Yet the lights have apparent chimneys and what appear to be large bottom tanks that would hold a lot of kerosene. This is consistent with the Handlan No. 73 lamp which was built to operate either with oil fuel or electric light, and has the 'Radius' lenses. It is possible that other manufacturers might have made similar lamps, since all kinds of trading of designs and patents went on when these lamps were made.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2019 by RJMc

A. The Link is to a pic of Frisco No. 94, a 4-4-0 with the same class lights; they must have been popular on the Frisco. The 94 is a coal burner, but equipped with electric generator, headlight, and if you look closely you can see the cord running up to electrify the left-side class light.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2019 by RJMc

A. If you do a web search on ["Radius lens" railroad lamp] a Google Books result showing the Railway Age Gazette for 1913 has a nice article with small illustrations promoting the Handlan Radius Lens class, marker, and switch lamps. It says in part "The engine lamp has been adopted as standard...on the Frisco Lines...." Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2019 by RJMc

A. This style of marker was/is also used on the D&RG narrow gauge engines. See Link 1, which has a very clear close-up view of just the marker lamps. Handlan Buck went out of business sometime in the 1990's, as explained elsewhere here on the Q&A site. But If you are serious about making your own, the radius (or radial) lenses (the hardest part) are available as piece parts from the WT Kirkman Co; see Link 2. Link 1  Link 2  Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2019 by RJMc

A. On looking back at this, Link 1 above, also re-entered as Link 1 below, is one message in a thread of about 16 messages, all directly related to the issue of this type of class light, how it was used on the D&RG, exactly how it is put together (with pix), the prospect of duplicating them with new materials.....and in 2016 Woody Kirkman was considering making new reproduction ones (not known how that project worked out.) These were also used on the MKT.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, January 17, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3576 Authentic B&O Globe?  I was hoping to get some info and opinion on a globe that turned up at auction recently at a grange hall in B&O territory. It was in an older unknown maker bell bottom, possibly Ohio Lantern Co. I had some initial reservations about the globe because of the slanted panel ends, but I have a similar clear B&O globe with the same angle ends. The letters on the clear globe are slightly different, however. Note the pear shape and long extended base (about 1/2 inches), which seem typical for B&O. The glass is of normal thickness and normal cobalt color, the globe ends are ground normally, there are slight signs of wear, and there is a bubble on the first 'R'. Has anyone seen a similar globe that is known to be original? Thanks!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2019 by MP92   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I am by no means an expert on B&O globes but wanted to give you some leads. Check out Link 2 for great info on fakes from this very website. The slanted ends in your picture did not look too very slanted - we had a LV globe very similar that was genuine. Indeed we've encountered fakes but they usually have not had an extended base. You didn't say how tall your globe is, but Link 1 will take you to Key Lock & Lantern, a terrific group with a main focus on lanterns. Scroll down to the section titled "KL&L Lantern Surveys" and take a look at the entries for B&O globes that have been documented. I found none for BC (Blue Cast), but that does not automatically mean yours is a fake. Finding any questionable globe in its home territory, complete with a maker-unknown frame (have you checked to compare with pictures in Barrett's book?), could be that you've found a previously undocumented but authentic lantern! Hope you will pursue the research and end up with a great find.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2019 by JMS

A. Sorry about that, the Link1 goes directly to the survey, not the KL&L group itself - see Link 1 on THIS post for their home page. It's a great group that has been seriously expanding.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, January 16, 2019 by JMS

A. Your globe is the real thing, not a "fake" or reproduction. The proof is in several things. The quality of the glass is very evident, nice and clear, no distortions or unusual looking glass. Reproduction globes have a certain "look" to them and once you have seen a few, they are easy to spot. The cast letters on a reproduction globe are often just crappy looking, where yours looks very smooth. The "pear" shape of this type globe is pretty exclusive to the B&O. The trapezoidal shape of the box is authentic, I have several globes that are not a perfect rectangle. The long extended base is not exclusive to B&O globes, but for this type of globe, is very common, some near 3/4 of an inch. And just because it is not listed in the survey, has no bearing on it being real or not. Lantern collectors either want everybody to know what they have, or they tell almost no one. I think the way you took the picture makes the globe look several shades lighter than it is. A true cobalt colored globe is usually pretty dark. I would hope that you bought this, as it would make a B&O collector very happy!! Congrats!! Posted Tuesday, January 29, 2019 by GAR

 Q3575 RR Button?  Have you seen one of these?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, January 13, 2019 by DM   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. It is a work clothes button used by makers of work clothes such as Carhart,SweetOrr etc. Not a uniform button.  Posted Monday, January 14, 2019 by DC

A. Just in case you are dying to know more, an entire paper (link1) on the development of bib overalls! Some such buttons might even have early mono-wing airplanes, streetcars, cabooses, etc.. Jackets/jumpers likewise. Link 1  Posted Monday, January 14, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. This 2-6-0 Mogul locomotive seems to match the design on buttons alternately marked Tri-State Toledo Ohio. A search revealed the name of the company that patented the Tri=State name in 1909 for use on work clothes, coveralls, etc. (Link 1). Might be a start. Link 1  Posted Monday, January 14, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Manufacturer and retailer (Toledo store) Leander Solomon Baumgardner has a very interesting history and progression (Link1). He also is involved in the boards of local electric railways and the Toledo Car Wheel & Foundry. No doubt, he may have clothed many railroad workers. Involved in creating the Tri-County Fair in the 1800's, he would die the same year that name was patented for the clothes. I could not find any direct link to the brand name "The Train". [For the previous entry, plug Tri-State into the Search Box.] Link 1  Posted Monday, January 14, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Last should have read brand name "The Railroad". May seem almost trivial now, but the was a time when these buttons were considered important. In the source (Link 1) from 1901, we see how the watch companies fought over the use of Railway and Railroad as a trademark on their products. By re-searching for Overalls, there are a number of ads concerning authentic brand names (some displaying buttons or marks). It's possible that "The Railroad" brand may have run afoul of a challenge causing it to be dropped with just the locomotive being transferred to a new branding name. Rail workers were a major market so much that one ex-NYC engineer working as a sales representative had special overalls made in his size (he was a 400 pounder!) as part of a campaign aimed at these buyers. Not sure about other companies, but at one time Southern Pacific's name was applied to buttons for jeans. Link 1  Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3574 B&O Tool Tag Markings  First off, I wish Happy New Year to all of the Railroadiana On Line family. I collect tool checks, and some B&O tags have me baffled. I have one marked GR. This tag is supposedly from the Baltimore Mt. Claire shops. I just purchased one from the Cumberland shops. While this one is marked CU, it is also marked B&F. Does anyone know about the labeling of B&O tags? Thanks for any help.  Posted Saturday, January 12, 2019 by J.N.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3573 The Espee Desk Sets Story  Here's the part I can fill out. Southern Pacific sponsored the Junior Achievers (at least in Eugene Oregon) and that's documented in company material. I also talked to a local woman who had been in the program and confirmed that they did something tied in to SP. On the bottom of this desk set or pen holder is an original JA Company tag. Some of these sets with Athearn F's or Geeps used to be sold (new condition) in model railroad stores, but I don't recall this tag on them. Can anyone relate if they were used as company items? Any original boxes? Were they assembled in Eugene/Springfield (RTR dummies came from Athearn with handrails un-installed)?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3572 LV RR Lithograph  I bought this LVRR lithograph at auction; Iím considering having it restored. I think it's from the Late 1890ís or early 1900ís, have done a fair amount of research, unable to find anything about this print. Print is also in a frame with LVRR burned into it. Print has the phrase Handsomest Railroad in the World. Any info would be welcomed.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2019 by JJ   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Just a cord (Link 1) to a history on the train (note "Train", not "Railroad" in the litho). Link 1  Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Rather interesting since it's obvious that Lehigh Valley wanted to make it clear that this was officially marked. Having a route map included, they may have intended this should be posted in a visible place where business may be drummed up (station, ticket agency,outside corporate offices/plants). In the flying boat era Pan American sent framed views of their planes passing over a clipper ship to offices of other airlines for advertising reasons. Railroads also printed large train schedules on cardboard for posting at numerous sites, as well as framed views of trains or steamships that they controlled. A very nice find for a railroad that has been well liked by many for a long time. Posted Tuesday, January 15, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. A note: Construction of the frame would need to be examined to be sure the item was not re-packaged at a later date. Posted Monday, January 21, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3571 Silverplate Spoon: Colorado & Southern (old)?  A longshot, but relative Forth Worth & Denver City ('F.W.&D.C.') used Reed & Barton's 'Modern Art' (c.1904-). Colorado & Southern china by Union Porcelain Works with the monogram-like logo is an indication of a possible missing flatware. (Like a square peg for a big black hole?) This piece is marked as Patent Applied For, so it could be made as early as one year before the patent granted date. There are at least four roads and one private car ('Kymokan') using the pattern in the long past. From 1899 to 1908, C. & S. is a very large independent system holding both standard and narrow gauge components.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, January 5, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Found The Colorado Road (C&S) had a few variant china patterns from UPW and OPCo. originating in 1898-1900. No new patterns apparently. Also, The Denver Road does not show a china pattern to explain their silverware. Mainline forms a major artery with dining cars, but no name trains being listed in that era before everything goes Burlington Route. Only one book on the Southern Division...not in my library. Denver shop complex was massive at one time. This road spent some serious money before the narrow guage lines played out...for a short while at least. Posted Sunday, January 6, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. YES, and congratulations on a fabulous find!! This spoon marked "C&S" for the Colorado & Southern is confirmed on page 94 of"Silver At Your Service," by Dominy & Morgenfruh. This is the "bible" of railroad dining flatware. The pattern name is "Modern Art," and the authors have it listed as Reed & Barton, date 1904.  Posted Sunday, January 6, 2019 by JMS

A. EEEEeeee! HAaaWWW! Couldn't restrain myself. The 1907 OG shows one super. of DC for both roads located in Denver. Diner or Cafe on several trains. The line itself later became the backdoor to Lubbock where the Buddy Holly Center is located in the old I'm dedicating this next platter to all The Crickets...Rave On, whever you may be! And thanks-a-bunch JMS! Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. I do have the book and am glad to help, as there are many areas where I have little to no knowledge. In the condition it appears to be, I would suggest the value is into three figures - do not sell it short. Just a caveat, and I am sorry I wasn't clear, the 1904 date is not the actual date of the spoon, it is the date of the PATENT that R&B obtained for the pattern. With the C&S operating between 1898 and 1981 and your spoon actually stating PATENT APPLIED FOR (or PAF) then it likely dates between 1898 - 1904. There is excellent information about the C&S on Wikipedia - see the Link.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2019 by JMS

A. Yes, patent granted date for Sept. 20 1904 with designer Ernest Meyers. A search brought up patents USD #'s 37,140-6 filed July 28 1904 with Charles A. Bennett assignor for Reed & Barton Corporation. But none looked right. Meyers did some patents over the decade with some around 1902 leaning toward this Noveau style. Patents usually go through within about a year, but some do get held up longer. I would suspect it probably was ordered to work with the Syracuse settings as UPW was exiting the hotel china market around this time. OPCo could have continued to supply any needed replacements. And of course, Burlington would have simply disposed of the older settings in short order after the takeover. This one will keep the tarnish on for now. As to wiki's, they can be helpful but don't trust them completely...digging for original era source material often yields facts that have never been uncovered and from oddball sources no one considered. [Larry Paul (at is still doing great work on sorting and documenting many commercial users and histories and the hotel database is expanding constantly. Railroads are often tied in.] For silverwares, 925-1000 has a running entry on commercial logos that is slowly being added to with identified samples. We're all in a race to save this stuff before anymore is lost forever. Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Footnote: Sugar tongs this pattern w/Pat. Appld. For had script style "UP System." Overland shield mark. (Prior sale-Ruby Lane...still viewable). Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Can you post a link to the UP tongs sold on Ruby Lane? Just copy that web page address and paste into the "Link" box below your email address in the Reply area.  Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2019 by JMS

A. Sorry, posted in wrong entry. Here's the Modern Art sugar tongs (Link 1 & scroll down) with "UP System" topmarked facing upward on the bow. [Must be Colorado week for great books just fell into my lap.] Link 1  Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Found the patent, USD #37,147 filed July 28, 1904 (Serial #218,553) by Ernest Meyers right after Bennett's (Link 1). Link 1  Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3570 Tinware Questions  Santa dropped off this beautiful B&MRR can. We have a couple of questions about this treasure. Do you think it is real? It sure looks real to us.... And what do you think is it's purpose? The spout and the 2 round shapes on both sides looks to us, maybe a drinking water can the conductor may have passed out water to the travelers... the 2 things on side of spout maybe a cup holder? There are no other markings anywhere but the B&M RR. It does show wear on the inside, but no rusting. Clean as well. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, January 5, 2019 by Shirley B   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Usually passenger cars (and cabooses) would have a built-in drinking water supply; originally just iced water and later an electric water cooler system. This was more likely used for track worker gangs who would need the portable water can and cup holders.  Posted Saturday, January 5, 2019 by RJMc

A. Nice piece. All Santa dropped off for me was a lousy tie. Life's not fair. Posted Sunday, January 6, 2019 by LC

A. Shirley, congratulations - what a fabulous find! I have been looking for one of these and never come across one! This is a an antique metal water carrier that a vendor would carry down the aisles of passenger cars selling water. In "Sparkling Crystal, A Collectors Guide to Railroad Glassware" by Larry Paul, on page 1 is a picture of a woman attendant serving a passenger a glass of water, using a nearly identical "can" like this, complete with the two "things on the side of the spout" which in fact held glasses (not cups). Per the author this dates to the turn of the century when communal drinking glasses were the norm, but around 1910 paper cups began to replace the glassware, which was used by one person after another without being washed in between. By 1917, the common water glass was no longer used in passenger cars. NOW you will have to look for some of the glasses that fit into those cups! Helpfully, they usually had the railroad's initials molded into them.  Posted Sunday, January 6, 2019 by JMS

A. Fascinating! There appears to be some very minor differences between this one and the B&O photo in Larry's book...the spout, siting of the cup rings, etc.. On page 47 of the 1986 SP/SSW Yearbook (A Moment In Time-Jostens/SP) there is a photo of the Sacramento Tin Shop gang of 1876 (provided by Cal. State Railroad Museum). At the center is a large "Water" dispenser with a spiggot. Below, resting on the ground, is an object with a carry handle similar to this and a domed lid underneath. I can not clearly see any spout or cup holders, but something sticks out to the left at an angle. All of which makes me wonder if the railroads' own shops had been making things of this sort for a long time? Perhaps earlier cups were just tin like the communal dippers attached to street fountains. (At the same time, travellers often carried their own collapsible metal cups with varying qualities of finish...nickel plate, silver plate, and even sterling. Water was free but you had to pay for something to hold it in.) Is the bottom double walled?  Posted Monday, January 7, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. I'm sure there were differences among these early pieces, being made by various makers and also perhaps the shop workers made these as well as there had to have been some skilled tinsmiths there. One noticeable difference is rings instead of shaped cups holding the glasses. I would suggest the passenger versions apparently carried glassware, not tin. Glass has been around for centuries and I would suggest Larry Paul's writeup is well researched and accurate, that the water vendor would collect money on the spot. Also, apparently you could buy ahead of time -- I have handled a number of "tokens" made to be sold to passengers to exchange for a glass of water on board. Today, we often see much later water cans that are simply spouted, lidded cans, never with "cup holders" attached. These would appear to have been made for RR workers, as they would be too "lower class" to be carried down passenger aisles. I have no idea about double walls so can't comment about that. I have been looking for one of the earlier ones, similar to the one in the Paul book that had attachments for glasses, but so far no luck!  Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2019 by JMS

 Q3569 What is this Item?  A friend had found this item along the tracks in Huntington county, Indiana where the Eris [Erie?] had ran. No one can identify this. Can you help?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, January 3, 2019 by Karen Y   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. To ALL sending in pix, PLEASE include some size references in the pic. It is NOT possible to tell how big this might be. And what is it made of? And how thick is it? That might give us some clues to try to track it down.  Posted Thursday, January 3, 2019 by RJMc

A. If this item is about 6 or 7 inches across, and of substantial thickness, it might be a step tread used for occasional access to some point on rolling stock. The holes would have fastened on brackets. See Prior Q 3282 for more discussion of that kind of steps. Posted Friday, January 4, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3568 Lantern ID?  Another lantern site suggested I ask you about this old lantern I have had for awhile. It's a spring loaded autofeed candle lantern that actually works and I have used it. And it does have some Chinese script scratched into the paint that I had translated reading Team 2?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, January 3, 2019 by Will F   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  Light the candle, close the door on the lamp and place this in a darkened room. If no light escapes from around the blackout door of the lamp you may have your answer which is that it is a photographer's darkroom lantern. The only means that I see to hang this up is the chain which is on it and that would not be good swinging around on a piece of moving equipment. Enter darkroom in the word search for the Archives and you will find quite a few other examples of darkroom lanterns.  Posted Monday, January 14, 2019 by KM

 Q3567 Stuck Fount  I have tried to get this fount out of my Uncles Railroad 1909 Adams & Westlake lantern and have had no luck including boiling the lantern base for two hours and soaking it in WD40. I also tried break free oil. The Lantern spent many years in his garage an Attic in New York. The fount looks like it needs to be replaced, the burner looks fine. Should I just leave it along or what? Looks like it may have been painted at one time NYC gray also? I believe this was used by my Grandfather back in the early 1900's. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, January 3, 2019 by Sal   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Sounds like fount has rusted to lantern body, I've had this problem myself, but not to this extent. I guess it all depends what you want to do with the lantern. Display or use it, if you only want to display it let it be. If not the key is patience let if soak for a couple of weeks in PB Buster, or some other penitrating oil, not wd-40. What has also worked for me is a plumbers torch, heat the lantern base evenly and slowly around the fount area, careful not to the torch in one area for to long. If you choose to use this method make sure you rid the lantern of all oils as to prevent a fire. Also wear gloves to prevent burning yourself. Note the reason why this method might works verus boiling, you want to expand the lanten base only. After heating base, use a small pocket screw driver and gently pry between fount and ring moving around entire fount. Good luck, if you choose this method, and remember patience, patience, patience!!!  Posted Thursday, January 3, 2019 by Jeff K

A. Thanks. I'll just let it be for know until I can come across a original fount for this lantern. Thanks for the advice.  Posted Thursday, January 3, 2019 by S.S.

A. New and used founts are available on that well known auction site and other places on the web. So feel free to get ignorant with it and mussel or cut the thing out. Replacing the fount won't detract from the value of the lantern especially since the brass burner is in good condition and servicable. Posted Friday, January 4, 2019 by LC

A. I have one other question on my Lantern. What model would this one be? Is it a #11 1895 or #11 1909? Here is what stamped on the top. This way when I find a fount I can identify that it's correct one for my lantern. And again thanks for all the help. Adams and Westlake Company Chicago New York Pat:May28.95 May5.1908 3-pat Jan 26.1909 Posted Friday, January 4, 2019 by S.S.

 Q3566 Seeking an ID  I am hoping for an ID and a firmer date on this piece. Based on the owner's family lore, it is from about 1900 when her great-grandfather worked on the railroad. It is about 12 inches tall with M.M.Buck & Co, St. Louis, MO embossed on the base. Thank you!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, January 3, 2019 by Michelle   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Can you include a photo of the top and down inside. Posted Friday, January 4, 2019 by DA

A. I don't have a photo of the inside -- the octagonal portion is just hollow -- nothing in it.  Posted Monday, January 7, 2019 by MZ

A. This looks like the base to a desk light. From others that I have seen, the fuel pot sits down inside the cast iron holder, and the globe is held in place on the fuel pot. Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2019 by JD

A. I do not have a Buck but we do have several Handlan lamp bases like these. JD you are correct, this was made for use on a desk. But if it is like our Handlans, there would have been a matching "lid/cover" that was made in one piece incorporating the fuel pot -- the burner came up through the center of the lid. To be picky, these take tall chimneys similar to other desk lamps, rather than globes, and many probably were used with desk lamp-type shades as well, depending on the burner arrangement and if a "spider" was there to hold the glass shade.  Link 1  Posted Friday, January 11, 2019 by JMS

 Q3565 Testing a Steam Locomotive Headlight  I just bought a Pyle National steam locomotive headlight and was wondering how to test it to see if the bulb works? The bulb has 60 volts written on it.  Posted Monday, December 31, 2018 by Jerry M   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hi Jerry, If your headlight bulb has the standard screw base like a home light bulb,which a lot of them had,I would just put the bulb in a lamp and plug this into an outlet that has a dimmer control or an overhead ceiling lamp that is controlled by a wall dimmer and just make sure to turn the dimmer way down to the dimmest setting first and increase the dimmer until you see the headlight bulb start to glow.You don't need to run the voltage even half just to test the bulb.DJB Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by DJB

A.  I would test the bulb with a multimeter to see if you have continuity. If so the bulb is probably OK. Then I would test the wiring in the headlight also. I do not like the idea of using an uncontrolled dimmer switch that could run up the voltage suddenly which might ruin the bulb. And if you do use a dimmer switch and you already have the multimeter set the switch and check the output voltage of the dimmer before you energize the bulb. A cheap multimeter from Harbor Freight or any other low price outlet will do the job.  Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by KM

A. 60 or 64 volts would be unusual for a steam locomotive headlight; 32 or 34 volts DC was much more common. If the headlight has a standard screw base socket, I would check the insulation on the wiring and then just substitute a 120 V bulb, and set the existing bulb aside. Headlight bulbs in various wattages at 120 V and up to 250 watts (ac or dc doesn't matter for light bulbs) are still commonly available, try bulk bulb suppliers on the web, or maybe even Grainger can supply bulbs like that. For inside display use, a 100 watt bulb will probably be almost too bright; the RR original would have been 250 watts. Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by RJMc

A. Again, if the socket is a standard screw base, for test purposes any kind of regular 120V bulb will work. It is only if you want to test the beam charactaristics that you need to go to a clear 'headlight' style of bulb.  Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by RJMc

A. Interesting..does anybody ever use a decent MRC transformer for bench testing electrical items with controlled power? Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. There are some excellent reasons for not connecting any kind of model power supply to large light bulbs. A typical steam locomotive headlight had an incandescent 250 watt bulb running at 32 VDC -- about 8 amps. A typical diesel headlight these days has two sealed beam 200-watt bulbs, some at 32 VDC and some at 74 VDC, or higher. Most model supplies come nowhere close to supplying this much power or these higher voltages. Further, incandescent light bulbs in general look like short circuits -- VERY low resistance -- until the filament heats up. This causes a large inlet current surge, even on regular power lines. So unless your model supply protects itself very well, and very quickly, you might burn it out in the attempt and the bulb still won't even glow.  Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3564 Photo Help Needed  Dear all at Railroadiana - I wonder if you can help? I am a UK based photographer. One of my interests is digital restoration and colorisation of old damaged photos. Currently I am in the process of restoring this photo of a Pennsylvania locomotive (no. 791) and its crew. The photo is on an unposted real photo postcard from the early 1900s. Can any contributors date the image based on the lamps/oil can/shovel, uniforms/caps? I am also trying to identify the model of the train and what colors it would have been painted; also the colour of the driverís uniform and caps. Thanks for any help you can offer. Kind regards,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, December 31, 2018 by Mike B   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Let start simple..the engine (Link 1) #791 is a class L1s 2-8-2 Mikado built in 1918 from a group of 44 engines (574 were built between 1914 and 1919 by Pennsylvania or Baldwin) shown grouped in that linked source. Link 1  Posted Monday, December 31, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. The last link has some technical info. at the bottom. This link (#1) indicates these engines came without mechanical stokers (notice the guy with the big shovel) but many recieved them later. If the engine had just left the shops it might be posed with a larger group of people and a sign reading something like "Juniata" (PRR's shop) * and maybe more. Since this is a smaller crew including enginemen, trainmen, and maybe some yard persons (guys with the inspection lamps), it could be related to its' first delivery assignment...not many engines stay put over time to end up getting into a crew or retirement photo. So 1918 seems a likely date (meaning your photo went from collectible to "antique" tonight..congratulations). Freight type locos, as a general rule, are usually basic black by this time..white highlights for numbers. * I have such a photo for one of the K4 types with around 30+ guys. Link 1  Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A.  ShastaRoute, I would like to thank you for your efforts in researching the answer to this question. I hope this does not discourage you from posting answers in the future. I see the 791 number listed in your link on the roster of L1s Mikados, but this loco is definitely not a 1918 2-8-2 Mikado. Note that I was inside of the boiler of GTW 4070, a light USRA 2-8-2 (built by Alco 12/1918, Happy 100th Birthday) yesterday. This locomotive looks like it is maybe 30 years older than 1918, and it might be a 2-6-0 or 2-6-2.  Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by KM

A. 791 was also assigned to an H class engine built in 1873 as Altoona const # 182 according to the book PRR AMS construction number list 1866-1904 by Joseph Lovell and the NRHS Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by COD

A. Thank you both (ShastaRoute and KM) so much for your reaearch and thoughtful responses. I'm truly in awe of the depth of your knowledge! I hope that between you both, you can agree on the model & likely year of the locomotive and also the likely age of the image. I'll keep watching and hope to hear from you again. Kind regards Mike  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by Mike B

A. Nice photo. All of the hand lanterns pictured appear to be tall globes. The guy on the very right (nearest the front number plate) is clearly holding a Keystone Casey which were first produced in 1902. I BELIEVE the guy third from the right, standing on piston, might also be holding a Casey. I am not sure about the other two gents further down the line holding wire bottom lanterns. The dapper gentleman second from the right is holding nice looking bell bottom lantern. There is also a bell bottom sitting on the front foot board. The engine marker light lamp is likewise a bell bottom lantern. Bell bottoms were being phased out around the turn of the century about the time the Casey and other wire bottom lanterns came on the scene. I can offer no incite on the three inspector lamps. We can make note that there are no short globe lanterns pictured so it is safe to say that photo was most likely taken sometime after 1902 but before the outbreak of WW I when short globe lanterns were introduced. That said, the fact that there are three bell bottoms in the photo makes me feel that it is closer to 1902. Thanks for posting this nice picture. Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by Ex Sou Ry

A.  Hello Mike. in answer to some of your other questions, the three guys on the left are car knockers or car inspectors. They are holding Dietz Acme Car Inspector lamps which Dietz made from 1898 until 1954. The Acme Inspectors lamp uses square tubing which can be seen in the photo.Dietz made oil fired headlights like the ones that are in the picture. They came with lens sizes from 14 inches to 23 inches and were produced from 1880 until 1930 The color of the loco is probably a gloss black except for the smoke box. One way to make paint more heat resistant BITD was to mix powdered graphite into it which flattened the gloss and made the paint more of a gray color, so dark gray to flat black on the smoke box. Color of clothing and hats? The guys on the right are wearing Conductor's hats which are still in use today. They are usually dark blue or black. Many US fire departments still use the same hat for their dress uniforms. What I don't see in the photo is anyone wearing an Engineer's style chore coat with hickory stripes on it. Some other notable details, the tender has arch bar style trucks, the loco is equipped with air brakes and a knuckle couplers. In 1880 there were 2211 air brake equipped locos in the US. Knuckle couplers were invented by Janney in 1873, and within a short time there were hundreds of patents filed for similar devices. Look at the two pilot wheels, they are solid, not spoked and there is no outside frame to support them. It is possible that this loco was built in 1873. COD, can you tell us what the wheel arrangement was for the H class locomotives? Mike, is there anything on the back of the post card? If there is any printing back there you may be able to identify the age of it by how it is laid out. Over many years the layouts chnaged in the US and cards can be dated that way. There may also be an ID mark for the photo paper as well. If it is printed please post a photo of the back of the card.  Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by KM

A. As a cautionary note to all, mentioned elsewhere here on this site as well, the PRR for most of its steam locomotives assigned road numbers almost at RANDOM from a range of 9,999 numbers rather than settng aside blocks of road numbers for certain classes. For us, somewhat infuriatingly, that means that knowing something about the 793, or the 790, probably tells you NOTHING about the 791 (!!!) Adjacent engines in the road numbers might be decades apart in their build dates and technologies. That said, Alvin Stauffer in his book Pennsy Power has photos of two engines that closely match the 791 in the pic: an F 1a 2-6-0 built at Altoona in 1898, and an H 3a 2-8-0 also built at Altoona, in 1888. Both types have the same cabs, dome placement, bell, oil headlights, similar piping arrangements, and even the same vertical air tanks under the cab, as the 791. But the H 3 has only 50" drivers; the F 1 had 62". Since PRR standardized many things, there are examples of both types of engines that even have the same (tool?) boxes sticking up over the tender sides. As to the people in the pic, in the era of 'real photo postcards' (circa 1910 - 1920) people would often employ the photographer to come take pix of them and all the friends/coworkers they chose to gather for the event. And the people in the pic, or their families, would be the customers to buy the cards. Another note: the older man second from the right is holding his lantern with four appears his thumb may be missing. Many trainmen approaching the turn of the 20th century displayed missing fingers in pictures like this, to show they were veterans of the link-and-pin era, which gradually ended thruout the mainline RR industry from 1880 to 1900.  Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by RJMc

A. Right KM, was having my own doubts and should have reached for Staufer about 10 feet to my right!. RJMc, other than the lack of that cowcatcher, #806 is not too far off (with some adjustments). [For 791, driver two's front seems to line up, but driver three's rear seems forward of the cab--small diameteror photo angle effect?] And yes, an engine that stayed close to home for a long period, some of them considered a favorite, had a much better chance of ending up in one of these "local" crew or hometown shots. Mike B.--maybe a bit o' color in those bowties and barber-cloth stripes on the pale whitish shirts. Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Given that the crew members are probably around 5 feet to 5'6" tall, what I see is the tops of the drivers might be a foot below the tops their heads. That leaves me to believe that the drivers are more like 50 inches tall. Remember that folks average height has increased over the years. I am 6 feet tall, and when I stand by GTW 4070 with 63 inch drivers the top of my head is slightly above them. When I stand by Reading 2100 with 72 inch drivers they are slightly taller or even with me. I have been looking at the PRR 2-6-0 Mogul information and they all seem to have 60 or 62 inch drivers and the H class 2-8-0 Consolidations had 48 or 50 inch so I am thinking it is a Consolidation. As to the date of the photo, I think after 1900, because of the Acme Inspectors lamps and the Casey lanterns. So all that said, and because Mike wants to colorize this photo, what color is the lettering on the tender,is Pennsylvania in a dark gold? And the 791 number on the cab is that gold or was it white? What about the surrounding paint on the round number plate on the smoke box door, was that in red with a gold number and border? Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by KM

A. Thank you all so much for your contributions. Keep 'em coming! If you would like to see how the final restoration/ colorization (colourisation for us in the UK!)turns out, visit and 'like' my Facebook page (see link below) where I'll be posting a short video in the coming days showing the various stages of the restoration. I will also give your site a link/mention by way of thanks. Kind regards Mike B  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, January 2, 2019 by Mike B

A. Sorry, after all our discussion, I can't help noting that behind the third guy from the right, it looks to me very much like a second pilot wheel, not a driver. Which would make this a 4 -x-x engine (maybe 4-6-0, they had them) rather than a 2 -x-x. It doesn't really change the answer much, since all of the various PRR engines of that era looked very similar and shared a lot of detailed features. The other discrepancy is that the 'pop' relief valves on this engine are on top of the steam dome; most of the other pix of PRR engines, they are not. I made another attempt to track road No. 791 thru the various references to PRR rosters, again with no real luck because of PRR's weird (to me) numbering NON-system! Posted Thursday, January 3, 2019 by RJMc

A. Refer to Joseph Lovell's booklet on the PRR Altoona Machine Shops construction number list, published by the NRHS in 1984. The # 791 in the photograph was constructed December 1894, CN #1933. Class R at the time, later as H3b. Class R was for the 2-8-0 wheel arrangement. Later renumbered # 0791, a PRR practice when the equipment was close to the end of its career. Sold to Luria Brothers (scrap yard) May 1923.  Posted Thursday, January 10, 2019 by BCM

A. Thanks BCM for following up on this. Since this keeps coming up, is the Lovell PRR info/database available anywhere on the web, or is it necessary to track down a copy of the booklet? Is there anywhere you can just enter the PRR road number to get a comprehensive list of how that road number was applied?  Posted Monday, January 14, 2019 by RJMc

A. Found a bit of a railway preservation discussion on "authentic" clothes (Link 1) just in case you need some more confusion. Might have to adjust it back for time a bit. Given we know the number was re-used by 1918, did this engine sit in a deadline for five years off the roster? Link 1  Posted Monday, January 14, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Another photo that might be of comparison interest due to its' origins is Yosemite Valley R.R. 2-8-0 No. 11 (later 1st #26). Though lacking a Belpaire firebox, there are some basic "family" similarities in design. Its' origin was Altoona Shops in 1879 as Construction #437. From PRR #772, thence two other roads, and YVRR in 10/1905. Pictured in unobstructed left-side view on page 109 of Railroads of the Yosemite Valley by Hank Johnston (with James Law) 1995 Yosemite Association. Sold off 1917, scrapped 1941. Posted Tuesday, February 19, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3563 "The Shasta" Platter Maddock  Three decades with some possibles but no clear answer. The John Maddock & Sons Ltd. England backstamp puts the earliest date at 1896. The crown stamp seems to pre-date the Edward VII and George V date coding and includes the impressed Arabic '8'....based on comparisons, it seems the crown codes began while Victoria was alive and the Arabic numerals may be the years of the 1890s...not to include the other numerals normally placed further away from the crown mark. If correct, this is 1898 leaving O&C/Southern Pacific's early 'Shasta' train, an early business car named 'Shasta', a family hotel in Los Angeles in what became the 'Nickel District', a very early Shasta Springs item, or possibly a very old hotel near Mt. Shasta. Two possible clues..first, SP name train stationary of c.1900 era uses Olde English Gothic lettering for the train names...second, the yellow/black color combination may match some artifact or description. This would be the same china source for the 'Stanford' pattern of this era, and we now know that Nathan-Dohrman, Dohrman Hotel Supply, etc. was bringing Maddock through Vancouver B.C. (probably via-Suez) for Pacific Coastal trans-shipment to San Francisco (borne out by a known ship wreck). Dohrman also handled the 'Harriman Blue' supplier work.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, December 31, 2018 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3562 SP Keys  All were found bound together (new plastic lock band-auto wire type) with no attempt at selling them as railroad or genuine. The caboose type (#4 on right) was covered in verdigris and required (this very ill attempt at) cleaning to reveal the Adlake mark. Keys #2 & 3 have the barrel hole open through to the ring. Key #1 is sealed. All three switch keys have some original file mars along the rings as well as polished areas. Real or real fake?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, December 29, 2018 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I guess I should add that these are all "straight line" Adlake backmarked with the pebbling (sand-cast?) surface pretty clear at many points. Posted Sunday, December 30, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. Without a doubt all the keys are legit. The CS 44 are maintenance of way keys. The Southern Pacific started using T for transportation at a later date. Also Adlake started using the closed barrel top around 1970, give or take a few years so is newer than the 2 center keys. It is the Southern Pacific Rip Track cut. The caboose key is also good. Some were marked SP but mostly were simply marked Adlake with no road name.  Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by Jim G

A. Thanks much Jim! Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3561 New York Central #6 Globe  I recently purchased a mismatched lantern and globe. The globe is a No.6 Dietz New York Central heavy thick globe, but it has no Corning cnx markings. Did Corning make any globes before using the cnx trademark? I have several others but only with cnx markings.  Posted Sunday, December 23, 2018 by Jazzyjiff   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Yes, Corning made many globes before beginning to use CNX in 1909. The Link to elsewhere here on the RRiana site is all about Corning globes and history. Link 1  Posted Monday, December 24, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3560 N&W Builder Plate  I bought this S1a Norfolk and Western builder plate quite a long time ago in Gaithersburg Maryland. The number on it is 434, and I'm stumped on which locomotive it came from. I checked the N&W Historical society site and just spun my wheels. So is someone smarter than me? Could you tell me which locomotive it came off of? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, December 22, 2018 by Jim T.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. S1a would be an 0-8-0 switcher and the records in Richard Prince's N&W book indicate this was from road number 229 which was retired 11-1959. I believe that the last steam engine built at Roanoke was const number 449, so this was in the last few engines built there. Building ending in Sept 1953. Posted Sunday, December 23, 2018 by COD

 Q3559 Lamp Info?  I bought this lamp but I canít figure out what it is. It looks just like my Fire Kings but it is smaller and does not have any manufacturerís markings. Any advice or direction you can give me is greatly appreciated!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, December 20, 2018 by SJ   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is a 'Fire King' lantern, commonly carried on fire apparatus and used as a hand lantern by firemen. Most commonly seen as a 'Dietz Fire King' and often marked that way. The Link is to Woody Kirkman's excellent web site all about all kinds of lanterns: look under the heading Fire Dept. King.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, December 22, 2018 by RJMc

A.  It is a Deitz Fire Department Queen lantern. They are smaller than a Fire King and the one that I have also does not show any manufacturer's name or model. Woody Kirkman does list it in the Deitz Compendium but he does not have information about the size there.. I have seen lots of Fire Kings that have an apparatus manufacturer's name like American La France or Seagrave on them, but I have never seen a Queen with a name embossed on the weather guard strip.  Posted Sunday, December 23, 2018 by KM

 Q3558 Peter Gray Switch Lamp Wiring  I am trying to figure out how to wire a Gray-Boston switch lamp (for interior use) It has bayonet bulb socket and came with a 12V GE auto tail light bulb. I'm trying to figure out if the bulb base is original and whether it is actually a transformer. (See pics.) Some posts (Q2818, others) indicate 12V, 24V and also suggest 110V electrical sources. Not sure of the switch lamp's railroad origin, though it was purchased in New England. The lamp does have a 'Peter Gray and Sons, Boston, MA' brass builders plate, which one post (Q3337) indicates the vintage is early 1900s. Thank you!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, December 16, 2018 by John   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. John: I doubt that there is a transformer in that base, ..but you never know. Something to know about railroad equipment (and original Western Electric/ Bell System phone equipment) is that it's all over built so as to last forever under rough service; so by today's standards, it looks clunky and over sized. - The socket is most likely original to the lamp as many electric switchlamps from other manufacturers used a similar socket. First, get a 12 volt power supply. I suggest a model train power pack. Take the bulb out of the socket. Connect wires to the 12 volt variable terminals, turn the variable power up about three quarters of the way up and touch the wires to the side and bottom of the bulb and see if it lights. (I always test things like this at less than full power) If it doesn't, go to the auto parts store and get a couple of new ones (always have a spare). Once you have a bulb you know that works, put it back in the socket and then touch the same wires to those two threaded terminals and see if the bulb lights. If it lights up just as bright as it did when connected directly to the power pack, there is no transformer in there. Then you need to find a small power supply to wire in there to drop the house current you will end up using, down to LESS than 12 volts. I say less than 12 volts as you may well get tired of how bright the lamp is if the 12 volt lamp has a full 12 volts to it. I'd look for a Department 56 or Lemax Christmas Village power supply; cut the plug off the reduced power side, strip the wire back and attach to the nuts on the base of the socket inside the lamp. Also; Most of the roads that bought Peter Gray lamps were in New England. ---- Ö. Red Beard  Posted Sunday, December 16, 2018 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Hi John,Before You get too carried away with this voltage dilemma,remove the lenses from the lamp if not too difficult OR remove the power supply itself and look for an electrical data plate on that conversion unit.All signal equipment I ever dealt with in my career had a rating plate mostly for safety purposes but also so as not to damage the equipment needlessly by over-voltage.That's my advice. DJB  Posted Monday, December 17, 2018 by DJB

A. Hi John,Before You get too carried away with this voltage dilemma,remove the lenses from the lamp if not too difficult OR remove the power supply itself and look for an electrical data plate on that conversion unit.All signal equipment I ever dealt with in my career had a rating plate mostly for safety purposes but also so as not to damage the equipment needlessly by over-voltage.That's my advice. DJB  Posted Monday, December 17, 2018 by DJB

A. Do what I did and save yourself a whole lot of hassle. Get a chandelier socket, lamp wire etc. at Lowes or Home depot and rig the wire through the bottom of the lamp, then put a 4 watt or 7 watt night light bulb in it and you have a nice lit switch lamp. A night light bulb gives just the right brightness through the lenses. Posted Monday, December 17, 2018 by LC

A. Wow, thanks guys for the great information and, in thinking about it, I certainly don't want the lamp on at "full power", so perhaps the nightlight idea is the prudent path. Thanks again! Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2018 by John