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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:

 Q3628 Fake Badge?  I am conducting an estate sale of a former antique dealer and I am suspicious of the authenticity of a railroad badge I found at the house. It measures 2 1/2 in. across and 3 in. tall. It is a 6 point star with the words stamped on the front, 'SPECIAL, C.B.& Q., POLICE'. The back is a safety pin soldered to the center with no other marks. It is rusty and scratched but I think it could be part of the process somebody used to make it look old. Thank you very much for any help or information you can give me.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, May 18, 2019 by Amy S   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3627 Boston Elevated Ry Lantern  I am a relatively new collector of oil lamps. I have always loved the rail (great grandfather worked on the Boston/Albany Line) and have recently started collecting railroad memorabilia. I came across this lamp that I was trying to identify the maker. It has a Dietz FITZALL globe, but I think it's a replacement. I was hoping that someone could help me identify this lamp and it's former life! It reads: No. 0. TUBULAR on the tank. It is missing the filler cap. I would like to identify the proper globe it would have originally had. Thanks in advance.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by Lucy   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Without a manufacturer's name on it, your lantern might be hard to identify. According to "Lanterns That Lit Our World", Dietz made a No. 0 Tubular lantern from 1870 to 1884, but it doesn't look like yours. Dietz also made a Monarch lantern model which was a large font version of the No. 0 Tubular lantern. This web site has information about tubular lanterns that are marked for traction companies, inter-urbans, and even railroads. See Link 1, which has information about lanterns associated with Boston Elevated Railways. From the information on the Link 1 page, a red globe was most likely original to your lantern.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, May 16, 2019 by JEM

A. Here is a Link 1 to detailed descriptions of Dietz lantern models - scroll around to find drawings and examples and descriptions. Link 2 is to Wikipedia information about the Boston Elevated. Good luck !  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Thursday, May 16, 2019 by JMS

A. You might check out listings on eBay for tubular lanterns (try the links) - you will have to look to find any No.0 in the list - look for an identical lantern frame. Also try searching on Etsy. Without the maker mark the placement on yours of No.0 TUBULAR is important ... I hope you should be able to find a replacement cap at a hardware store, if I'm not mistaken these are pretty standard. Or try a flea market or antique shop - this is a wonderful lantern, it is so difficult to find them in this condition AND with railroad markings.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Saturday, May 18, 2019 by JMS

 Q3626 Lantern?Lamp Info?  I was given this lantern and would like more information on what it was used for. I was told (not sure) it was a train bridge lantern. When the bridge was up the train engineer would see red and the boats would see white. There is NO markings anywhere on the lantern. Any help would be greatly appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by Brian   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3625 Railroad Pick  Help! Have an old railroad pick with handle stamped with initials 'S U'. Any info available for this??  Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2019 by enrietta   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Can you post a picture of the stamping ? It does not sound like a railroad tool as if so it should have RR or RY in the mark. More likely, the owner's initials.  Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2019 by JMS

 Q3624 Grandfather's Lanterns  I'm hoping I could get some assistance identifying these oil lanterns. I do not know what type of lamps these are, or if they were actually railroad or other vintage. Thank You.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, May 12, 2019 by Ronnie   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. These lanterns are not railroad related in any way. They appear to be decorative type lamps.  Posted Sunday, May 12, 2019 by JEM

 Q3623 Key Initials?  I have this key and was told it was for Buffalo & St Lawrence Railroad but the initials B.S.S.L are coming up on the Internet as Barber Steam Ship Lines, which is a ship company and not a train? Was hoping you might be able to help. Thanks!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, May 11, 2019 by Patrick   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. It seems the information you were given has to be incorrect - to be Buffalo and St. Lawrence, the stamping correctly should be B&StL - of course I can't say "never," but there should be an ampersand, and "St Anywhere" almost always includes the small t. Also, the location of the stamping at the bottom of the bow where it meets the barrel is "different," railroad keys I've seen are almost always stamped around the top of the bow. This key appears a bit larger than the usual railroad key and indeed may be from a steamship (sorry I have no knowledge whatsoever about those).  Posted Saturday, May 11, 2019 by JMS

A. See prior Q 3544, which is about a key with a blank very similar to yours. In addition to JMS's comments above, I note that the letter stamping on your key is a very modern font, very commonly available in steel stamp sets even today. Also, this type of key and key blank, particularly with the straight bit, was widely used by many industries for many different functions in addition to padlocks -- for example police and fire callboxes and for electrical switch controls. At least for state room doors, most ship keys are much longer and of the 'skeleton' type, rather than the shorted barrel keys such as this one. All that said, this doesn't rule out that maybe some railroad(er) used it somewhere, but I would not think that likely.  Posted Monday, May 13, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3622 Found RR Light  This light was found in a junkyard. Can you help me identify it?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2019 by Ron   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The raised PRR in a keystone is the Pennsylvania Railroad mark. Posted Saturday, May 11, 2019 by JMS

 Q3621 CPR Morton-Parker Silver  A prior record of one of these Morton-Parker Marlboro Plate #624 Creamers for Canadian Pacific has quickly been deleted from access now. The item carried the additional marks 'CANADA' (top), '68' or '89' (bottom), and a very large 'B.S.H.' (center, overstamped). These would seem to suggest possible production for Banff Springs Hotel, and maybe as late as 1968 or 1989. None of the other listed pieces in this line/pattern seem to have the B.S.H., but might these all be specific to the giant hostlery instead of dining car useage? Anyone know?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, May 6, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3620 Topmarked 'F.H.' Flatware  All pieces in the photo are International Silver XII. Some include the 'Triple' stamp. A single piece also has an oddball large 'C' stamped on the back, which may or may not suggest the word commissary. There are two versions of the 'F.H.', but all were in the one group. Can anyone confirm a Fred Harvey connection to these pieces?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, April 22, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I would be very suspicious that these pieces are actually Fred Harvey - International sold to a bazillion customers, and FH could mean "anyone" and "C" could mean anything. The railroad dining car flatware book "Silver At Your Service" (Dominy and Morgenfruh)shows this pattern, which is named "Zephyr." Nine different railroads (ACL, FEC, Frisco, PENN STA REST, SCL, UPRR, The Union News Co, Lackawanna and Monon)are listed as having used this pattern, with two more (IC and RI)and Grand Central Terminal included as "Markings Not Reported." No mention is made of Fred Harvey as using "Zephyr." The book includes 15 patterns used by Fred Harvey - all but one of which used the full name spelled out. The one pattern for which initials may have been used is "Plaza," where "FH" is listed under "Markings Not Reported." With that many actual Fred Harvey patterns reported, and so many railroad companies reported for using "Zephyr," it would seem as though Zephyr with FH would have been included. On a related note, I have also seen Fred Harvey flatware marked with only the last name HARVEY. Rudy Morgenfruh would be the expert on this, or a strong collector.  Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by JMS

A. Thanks JMS. We definitely know (from china) of "FH" logos outside of Harvey. The FEC connection also had me thinking a possible "Flagler Hotel" or some gap between "Flagler System" and "Florida East Coast Hotel Company"..nothing so far. The Zephyr pattern, created for the streamlined or moderne era, seems rarely found with added user markings beyond transportation companies, and in such cases, bottom marks more often than top. Hotels and hospitals are possible, but there's usually more to the marks than this, and low-end users don't often order higher-end wares for their table. Two distinct versions would suggest not likely to be for an individual in household use. Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3619 Empire Pattern Stainless Flatware  Seen in the top half of the group photo are samples of International Silver Company's Empire flatware known to have been used by Illinois Central, Rock Island, and Southern Pacific. Even though a large selection of items were made, including cocktail forks, I had doubts about the possibility of dining car usage as there seemed to be no demi spoons. However, a replacements site indicates a Five O'Clock teaspoon was available. Most railroad-marked pieces seem to be standard knives, spoons, and forks. The second meat-serving fork down is marked Southern Pacific in script/cursive. Unlike other pieces marked Silco or Insico, this one has the word SERVET...a name that I have tracked back to a single Utah advertisement for stainless hollowares prior to WWII. It was located many years ago in a thrift store in Grants Pass Oregon where, as far as I know, there has never been any commissary services close by and no rail passenger operations (Siskyou Line) since the early 1950's. Is there any other evidence to place where the railroads used these wares...diners, grill cars, commissaries, work trains, etc.?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, April 22, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. What a fabulous group! Congratulations!! My "Silver at Your Service" book shows this pattern as "Empire(C)" [Empire(B) is shown as another International pattern dated 1921 and apparently also made by Rogers, and the design is very different; Empire(A) is shown as Gorham (1880) and again a very different design). About Empire(C), the book confirms International as the maker and says "This is a stainless steel pattern and one of the final flatware orders for several railroads. Some of their pieces may have added silver plating." Unfortunately, there is no mention of how or where this flatware was used. I couldn't find a replacement site you cited - was the 5-o'clock spoon actually RR marked? Certainly International sold this pattern to non-RR customers (Link 1), so pieces without railroad marks are no help determining how the SP actually used their flatware. I hope a good collector will see this and offer some thoughts.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by JMS

A. Way down the listings in your link...5 1/2" left section for not in stock but made for this pattern, before you get to made to order customs. If any RR marked ones do turn up, it would be pretty amazing. Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3618 Caboose Lamp  Great web site and very informative. I bought a caboose lamp marked PRR Urbana. I'm pretty sure it's not a repo but it did not come with a mantle or globe. I was wondering if there is a certain style globe that I need and how tall is the globe? I don't have any pictures to provide but can if needed. Any info would be appreciated. Keep up the great job.  Posted Thursday, April 18, 2019 by splumber   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. See prior Q 2560 for a pic of an assembled caboose lamp, including the clear (when new, anyway) glass chimney, the clip that kept the chimney in place, and the soot-catcher guard cap above the top opening of the chimney. The chimney on my similar lamp is about 10" tall and about 4" at the widest part. Urbana Industries stamped out (literally) many thousands of these. This type of lamp used a burner and wick, but no mantle. Many were used assembled just as you see the one in Q 2560, screwed to the wall of the caboose or other car, but some fancier installations had lamp shades also. Enter 'caboose lamp' in the word or phrase search box (without the quotes) to see a lot more discussion of this topic.  Posted Thursday, April 18, 2019 by RJMc

A. The maker was Johnson, located in Urbana Ohio. While the structure is still there, the company closed a few years back. HVC Posted Thursday, April 18, 2019 by HVC

 Q3617 CB&Q China  Iím wondering if you can help me. I have some pieces of China collected by a friend's (now in her late 70's) grandmother with a daisy and violet pattern. The pieces fall into 2 categories: Syracuse China from the 1950's and earlier pieces(late 1800's to early 1900's). All the china has the same pattern. I've found that the Syracuse pieces were from the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad in the 1950's, I believe used on trains named the Chicago Zephyr and prior to that, the Twin Zephyr. According to research I did on the Internet the Syracuse pieces are 'similar to 'Violet Spray', a pattern that had been used by the CB&Q since the turn of the century.' My question, then, is about the other pieces. They were made in Austria for export to the US. Their mark is the Vienna Austria mark with the double shield and crown associated with the PH Leonard Co, circa 1890-1908, an importer from NYC. So, would I be correct in assuming that they are earlier pieces from the CB&Q RR? The attached photos are of one of the pieces that I have questions about. I just need some confirmation this may be an 1890 - 1908 piece of Railroad China. Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, April 18, 2019 by Susan W   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Sorry, no on your older pieces. But yes, the Syracuse china is indeed "Violets & Daisies" used by the CB&Q. Some Syracuse China pieces carried the railroad mark, but many did not, but because Syracuse made this pattern ONLY for the CB&Q, any unmarked Syracuse pieces definitely are authentic railroad-ordered. HOWEVER, almost certainly the Vienna Austria pieces are not. As you found, "Violet Spray" (only violets, no daisies) was the "original" CB&Q-used pattern, ordered by the RR president. It was French Limoges made by Haviland & Co. and dates to the 1800s. After "Violet Spray," the CB&Q ordered the "true" violets and daisies china from Haviland (Haviland's Schleiger No.453, which they called "Violet & Gray Daisy" and was made in about 5 different decoration variations - of which the railroad used two). I believe most of this early Haviland china was railroad marked ("Burlington Route" is what I've seen). After discontinuing Haviland orders, the CB&Q ordered from Syracuse China and Buffalo China and possibly some other American companies but records are sparse. All that said, Haviland ALSO sold a tremendous lot of Violet & Gray Daisy china to any kind of customer; the public loved it and it became a hugely prolific "stock pattern." Because there was such a demand, many companies began to copy the pattern, and it became one of the most copied patterns in the world. Because it was so widely sold to anyone and everyone, European chinaware without RR markings must be considered non-railroad pieces.  Posted Thursday, April 18, 2019 by JMS

A. Here is a Syracuse China date code chart if you want to date your Syracuse pieces. See Link 1. Example: For 1950 there is a letter code EE, combined with numbers 1-12 representing the months. January 1950 would be EE-1.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, April 18, 2019 by JMS

A. To clarify Q3617 (and other places), the 'Violet Spray' pattern is distinctly different than 'Violets & Daisies' china. Using the word 'similar' can be misleading, because while they do resemble each other, they are not alike. The pattern names are clear : 'Violet Spray' contains NO DAISIES (and it was this pattern, made by Haviland, that was discovered by the CB&Q President, who used it in his home before it became a railroad pattern). 'Violets & Daises' contains BOTH flowers! The photos are of two 'Violet Spray' butter pats. Both were made by Haviland (Limoges, France) and both are marked BURLINGTON ROUTE. The round plate is decorated with transfers, and back markings date it to between 1894 and 1931. The square pat is hand painted, and dates from between 1888 and 1896. BOTH railroad china 'bibles'(McIntyre and Luckin) show an example of each pattern and describe the differences. McIntyre says Bauscher also made Violets & Daisies for the CB&Q. Luckin includes Shenango as a manufacturer of Violets & Daisies. Thank you for this opportunity to clarify. Link 1  Posted Sunday, April 21, 2019 by JMS

A. Wasn't searching for it, but came across some useful sample photos on a site (Link 1). Link 1  Posted Monday, April 22, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Shasta Route, I found the same website and noticed it used the same word "similar" to describe Violet Spray and Violets & Daisies, which I personally feel is confusing, because the two designs are dramatically different (daisies in one, and not in the other). The pictures are excellent - (the gravy boat is either Buffalo or Syracuse and is going to have a daisy on the side that doesn't show) but I wish I could contact "Lolli" (does anyone know how?) because the "Drain" they show is from a 3-piece butter dish. There is an underplate the "INSERT" (the correct term) sits in and then a cover top. See Link 1 for an example. I do not know of any of these butter dishes made for railroad use - they have always been strictly Haviland backmarked with no RR markings, so not "railroad china" (but this doesn't mean there never were - I just may not have seen any RR marked, and they would be incredibly rare).  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by JMS

A. Here is an actual "Violets & Daisies" 3-piece butter dish set (at least I hope THIS link works): an underplate; an insert and a cover. Technically, since it is Haviland, it is their Schleiger No. 453 design for which the Haviland name was "Violet & Gray Daisy."  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by JMS

 Q3616 Odd Tubular Lantern  I recently bought an oddball tubular lantern. Although it may not be railroad, perhaps someone might have some knowledge about it. It takes a standard tubular 'barn' size globe, and has unusual tapered vent fins that fit into the tubes. Also unusual is the way the lid hinges on one of the tubes. The smoke dome is marked 'A W PAULL / PATENTED', and I think the brass lid latch is marked 'J.P.S. SON & Co' with the 'J' being questionable. Online I found a reference to Joseph Paull Senior, brother of A.W.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, April 16, 2019 by MP92   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Try Link 1 for a google search that hopefully offers a whole bunch of leads. It appears Kirkman may sell workable parts for Paull lanterns too. Good luck !  Link 1  Posted Thursday, April 18, 2019 by JMS

 Q3615 L M S railway lamp made by ADLAKE  I wondered if you could tell me anything about this vintage railway lamp?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, April 16, 2019 by Peter   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is an indicator lamp, made for the London, Midland & Scottish Railway. A glass slide fitted over the square aperture, usually showing a letter C or T, indicating the commencement or termination of a temporary speed limit, or sometimes other indications. These lamps were made and marketed by the Lamp Manufacturing and Railway Supply Co. of London under licence from Adlake. Posted Tuesday, April 16, 2019 by JAJ

 Q3614 Loco Class for Bell?  I'm about to come into the possession of the bell in the attached pic. It belongs to a friend in Wisconsin and it was obtained by her father. Her father, grandfather, and brother all worked for the Great Northern Railroad and it is believed that this bell came off a steam locomotive circa 1956 that was being scrapped at the yard of the 28th Street Roundhouse in Superior, WI. I am told that the entire assembly is 33 in. tall and the bell is 17 in. in diameter, though I'll admit that my scaling of the picture does not make the dimensions come out this way. I've not seen the bell personally and I have only this amount of info to go on. I am going up to take possession of the bell later in Apr 2019 and transporting it to my home. I'll be certain to look for any identifying markings and provide any other info that might be of use. The red color is very uncharacteristic from other bells I've seen online, but I know red is a GNR color, so perhaps it's original. Please let me know your thoughts... I am trying to establish what locomotive class this may have come from. Thank you so much!!!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, April 12, 2019 by CK   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3613 Error in RR Names Database?  In your railroad names database, you list the LOWELL & NASHUA Railroad. I can find no reference to this railroad whatsoever, but I can find information about the NASHUA & LOWELL railroad which was in the state of Mass. and was a railroad that eventually was absorbed by the Boston and Maine. There is a book that used the Lowell & Nashua name, but I do believe this was a simple error on the writer's part. Please, let me know if I am wrong.  Posted Tuesday, April 2, 2019 by SP   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Indeed, there was a Nashua & Lowell Railroad. Please see Links for irrefrutable early references. Link 1 apparently was written in 1918. Link 2 is an 1847 report from the Board of Directors of the L&N. Many of these antique old lines, especially, it seems, the shortest in length and/or life, were named almost to the point of incestuously. Even Wikipedia does not have much about this road. I had to dig further into a Google Books search. Also often helpful in this kind of search is local township or county history available from the municipality.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Thursday, April 4, 2019 by jms

A. OOOPS sorry, too much back and forth for me I guess -- please ignore the incorrect Link above to the N&L. I meant instead to include the 1908 Moody's reference to the L&N on page 94 (Link 1 below). The Google Books scan is hard to read, but it confirms the existence of the LOWELL & NASHUA. It says (the best I can make out): ďNASHUA & LOWELL RR CORPN. (Leased to B&L., RR) ĖInc. in 1838 in N.H. as consolidation of the Nashua & Lowell and Lowell & Nashua railroads. Leased to Boston & Lowell RR Co. for 99 years from Oct. 1, 1880 at rental of .... Lease assumed by the B&MRR Co. on April 1, 1887. Line of road Nashua, N.H. to Lowell, Mass., 14.5 miles; second track....Ē  Link 1  Posted Thursday, April 4, 2019 by JMS

A. I found an even clearer confirmation. In "History of the Railroads and Canals of the United States" (Henry Varnum Poor, 1860), on page 135 under "Nashua and Lowell Railroad, Financial Year ending 30th November, 1859" is stated: "The Nashua and Lowell Railroad Company is a consolidation of the Nashua and Lowell Company of New Hampshire, and the Lowell and Nashua Company of Massachusetts." The book reference is Link 1 .  Link 1  Posted Friday, April 5, 2019 by JMS

A. Bill Edson's RR Names book did not pick up the Lowell and Nashua, but then most of Bill's input data was from the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC)records, and ICC didn't exist in the 1850's or earlier. It does pick up the Nashua and Lowell as starting in 1838.  Posted Friday, April 5, 2019 by RJMc

A. Everyone is right and everyone is wrong. Please remember that pre-Civil War and even later that railroads received "State" charters. This was both financial and perhaps operational. Names like Lowell & Nashua and Nashua & Lowell were state charters between Massachusetts & New Hampshire. It's obvious if you live here but foreigners may have issues with the names. Remember that EARLY roads had just State charters. Krikes - there are plenty of early New England names that never ran a train - it's just a "paper" charter.The N&L had a couple of operational lives too. - Scott Czaja Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2019 by Scott Czaja

 Q3612 Adlake Conductor Lamp, No 31-C  I bought an Adlake railroad lamp, 31-C while junking through some antique malls yesterday. Itís pretty rusty, and there is no battery. But I was able to disassemble it and discovered the battery compartment. I need help with getting the lamp in shape to use the battery, which I assume is a standard 6-V lantern battery. I bought one today. There is a single round contact at the bottom of the battery compartment. Inside the switch compartment, directly below the battery, there are two contact poles. I assume the switch makes contact with either of these contacts to make one of the bulbs burn, and in the mid-position, the switch is off since it does not make contact with either pole. The contact points are rusty, so I am prepared to use a very fine sandpaper to expose fresh metal so they will make contact to light the bulbs. Surprised to discover the filaments in the two bulbs, and the two spares in the top of the battery compartment are intact. My question is should there be some wiring involved to get the lamp to work? Or is the battery just placed upside down in the battery compartment, in which case the negative pole would be touching the round contact at the bottom of the compartment, and the positive pole would be making contact with the metal base of the compartment. There is no evidence of there ever being any wires inside the compartment, so I am assuming this would work just as a regular flashlight does. Thanks for your help.  Posted Monday, April 1, 2019 by Glenn H   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Your assumption is correct; the body of the lantern is the other contact and the second spring terminal of the battery is supposed to seat against the bare metal top of the battery compartment. This means the battery can be inserted in any position; the centered battery terminal always contacts the insulated center lantern terminal and the other battery terminal can touch the lantern body at any point to make contact. Also enter 'lantern battery' (no quotes) in the Word or Phrase search box to see lots of prior discussion of this kind of lamp. Unfortunately, the electrolyte that leaked out of worn-out 6V lantern batteries was/is extremely corrosive to the metals in the lantern (as with many, many flashlights, tape recorders,cameras, etc etc!!). It often ate away protective plating inside the battery compartment and corroded the copper-strip switch parts. While it IS possible to work hard and get a lantern like that to light, the internal corrosion often makes them unreliable ever after.  Posted Monday, April 1, 2019 by RJMc

A. Thanks for the information. Fortunately, the battery compartment does not have any corrosion from a leaking battery. Just rusty contact points. To be clear, the battery compartment top (or removable lid) in this lantern has two spare bulbs in a clamp in the top of it. I believe that I will have to put the battery upside down in the compartment to make contact with the round contact in the center, and the other to make contact with the metal compartment bottom. Posted Monday, April 1, 2019 by Glenn

A. Sorry about the confusion. You are correct. When the lantern is in use (hanging from the handle) the battery spring terminals ARE pointed down. The battery compartment cap with the two spare bulbs is then the top of the lantern body. Its just that you have to turn the thing upside down to work on it. By the way, there are many different screw-base light bulbs which will fit that lantern, as well as many types of batteries in the same size. Some very bright and/or very expensive, with differing power requirements and corresponding different battery lives. Shop around before spending a lot of money on bulbs or batteries. There are even lead-acid and NiCad rechargeable batteries in that same 6-Volt package.  Posted Monday, April 1, 2019 by RJMc

A. See particularly prior Q 2195 for more info about bulbs and batteries for these lanterns. Somewhat sad to note, Radio Shack is no longer a source for any of this; they are completely out of business (at least as retail stores) since that answer was written. Posted Tuesday, April 2, 2019 by RJM

 Q3611 Unknown Buttons  I have 6 uniform coat size buttons made by Scoville MFG Co. Waterbury. On the front is G.RY's. I think it is a railroad or railways system but have not confirmed that. Can you help?  Posted Friday, March 29, 2019 by Keith   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Gary Railways {Indiana} was the name adopted in 1925 after merger with several street railways. Scovil Manufacturing Co. 1926. All the trolleys were gone by 1943. Posted Saturday, March 30, 2019 by DC

A. RR Names are listed in this site...searching "G" has many names but only a few might fit a single letter (Link 1). A photo would help to match up any design to known logos or monograms (sometimes in the Official Guides issued each year). Color of buttons, gold or silver? Link 1  Posted Saturday, March 30, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Gary Railways, [See link]. Thanks. Link 1  Posted Saturday, March 30, 2019 by keith1940

A. Please post a picture. There are dozens possibilities for "G". There are two large collector guides, one for Railroad buttons and the other for Transit (trolley/streetcar) buttons, that almost certainly could be used for positive identification. The "RY" (railway) suggests more likely a Transit operation but that's not set in stone.  Posted Thursday, April 4, 2019 by JMS

A. As long as we're mentioning traction company possibilities, General Electric Company Railway Department Bulletin No. 4255 (July, 1904) covering Four-Motor Equipments has an extensive list of proper company names and locations from pages 8 through 11. (I have not had a chance to check all of these against names listed in this site's database.) Posted Wednesday, April 17, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3610 Circa 1920's-30's Steam Loco #1811  General details suggest a standard-gauge Western road (high desert & mountains?). Possibly a bit like an SP M-9 2-6-0 before any WWII re-building? Is there anything better that can be picked-up from the visible details??   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, March 28, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. From comments in Q2694 regarding SP practices, I take it the Engine Classification lamps are equivalent of A&W 187 1/2 with side mounting riveted brackets. Using Monte Vista's Photo Album Series Volume 2 on Espee 2-6-0 (Duane Karam, Jr. 1998) and finding a good frontal view of an M-6 in 1939 on the Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society site (PERYHS), everything including the large boiler-tube pilot looks about right for pre-war SP Moguls. M-9 #1811 is known to have lasted into the '50's and shows up as being in San Luis Obispo at one time. I'm guessing the number boards are simply too low (or far back) to spot here. I expect these are green flags for TT & TO running, but why are they in the hole? Could this be Questa Grade? Posted Thursday, March 28, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3609 Round Top Adlake Lamp ID?  Bought this Adlake lamp last year. Was thinking it's an earlier version of a 270 marker lamp. The bottom looks like itís been cut off exposing the bottom of the fount. There's a hole that's been enlarged on the side. Was thinking the bracket with the pin that can attach or release the lamp from the bracket was mounted on it. Not sure what bottom could have been riveted to this unit. The sight glass bezel which is brass screws onto the side of the lamp. A woman I got this from on ebay said her grandfather owned it and he worked for some railroad in the San Francisco Bay Area. Any ideas on what model this might have been? Was also thinking this was a #52 Gate lamp.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, March 25, 2019 by JL   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3608 NYC Hangers  I work for a charity that takes clothing donations. Recently someone brought in some old suits on wooden hangers. When we took the hangers out so we could sort the clothes, you can imagine my reaction when this popped out!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, March 25, 2019 by JN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Wood hangers such as this were a traditional accessory in sleeping car closets. Prior to 1944, Pullman Co. owned and operated most of the sleeping cars and the wooden hangers all said "Pullman." (See Link) U.S. Gov't anti-trust lawsuits caused the sleepers to be gradually transferred to the operating RR's, with ownership of the actual cars and responsibility for operations sometimes transitioning at different times on different routes and RR's. Your hanger comes from the time when NYC RR was operating the sleepers on its lines. Amtrak today has red plastic hangers -- no wood -- in their sleepers.  Link 1  Posted Monday, March 25, 2019 by RJMc

 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

A. Possibly a form of fixed rail crossing guard lamp [(informative) white for trains, (absolute) red for autos]? Hawick was cut off in 1969, but there seems to be a rail preservation group nearby along the old route. Looked at a number of British rail books and saw nothing to help. Posted Friday, April 12, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 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

A. SP T-2 class down to one engine by 1935 (Link 1), so this logger job might be the last regular assignment for SP 2225. Link 1  Posted Thursday, March 28, 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