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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:

 Q3381 B&O Strap  I came across several of these straps and have no idea as to what they were used for -- 4 3/4 in. long, 3/4 in. wide, looks to be made of a type of either plastic or hard fiber board. The back is unmarked and they all look somewhat faded. Very small arch so it's hard to think that it could be a handle of some sorts. Any help is welcome!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, October 8, 2017 by Bob N.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. No exact answer yet as to "What is this?" Some observations to start the discussion: The phrase 'compliments of' usually gets used on advertising material, something someone is handing out or making available to some part of the public they are trying to impress. Possibilities might include magazines or newspapers made available to passengers. To try to pin down the age of the item, searching shows that the B&O used "The Friendly RR" slogan at least in 1936; the B&O Magazine for 1936 in the Link uses the slogan several times thruout. And probably a coincidence, but the size, shape and curvature of the item almost perfectly match a conductor's hat badge, many of which were fastened onto the hat with two brass studs at either side of the badge, where the slots are on your item.  Link 1  Posted Monday, October 9, 2017 by RJMc

A. Could be a carry handle for a package bound in string. Department stores in Philadelphia used to give a carry handle of wood and wire with complements of printed on them. If you bought for instance a suit, it was folded, put in a box and bound with string. Maybe some passengers would be carrying something bound like this ?? Posted Friday, October 13, 2017 by DC

A. I thank you for the input to my question. The possibility of it being some sort of hat badge is about the closest. The material is too weak to be any sort of a handle so until someone can shed more light on this question, I'll go with that! Thanks again!!! Bob  Posted Sunday, October 15, 2017 by RLN

 Q3380 Union Pacific Railroad Lockbox  I hope someone can help me. What was the purpose of this box? What does T.A.B. stand for? Also, there is only one reference I can find to possibly explain the numbers 2054. The Union Pacific locomotive no. 1243 at Omaha Station I believe had a manufacturer's build number of 2054 from Cooke Manufacturing. Was this lockbox used on the no. 1243 locomotive? Thanks so much,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, October 4, 2017 by Dana   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. As a first guess, "T.A.B." could likely stand for "Ticket Accounting Bureau" which would be an agency very interested in having lock boxes. The various boxes would be numbered to be able to track back to which agent, ticket seller, conductor, or trainmen dealt with the contents -- tickets, ticket receipts, or cash -- when the box was turned in. See prior Q3000 about a very similar box used on the PRR and called a "conductor's cash box." Posted Wednesday, October 4, 2017 by RJM

 Q3379 Zion China  My great uncle (who worked for Pullman in Chicago) gave me a set of dishes with the word 'Zion' printed in the pattern. The dishes are over 50 years old and I presume railroad china. Can you tell me anything about them? The set of 6 is in perfect condition.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, October 2, 2017 by MS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. They don't show up in any RR china guide that I have. There is a Union Pacific pattern called "Zion" but it is very different from the china you show. I would suggest the Facebook Group on "Restaurant Ware" When you join, you can ask the membership about unknown patterns............... Posted Tuesday, October 3, 2017 by GH

A. There is the possibility that "The Zion" was the name of a private car, railroad office car, or even a regular passenger car. Some searching turns up one Pullman car named 'Zion Canyon' (see link), in the late 1920's, but as a car with compartments and a drawing room it would not have needed china, and would have access to regular Pullman Company china had it needed any. 3 Compartment, 1 Drawing Room 6 Cars (6 UP) Car Name City Pair Assigned Train (5 other "Canyon" cars...) Zion Canyon KC-LA UP Pacific Coast Limited, 1929 to ca. 1933 More recently (about 2009) the former American Orient Express diner "Chicago" was renamed "Zion" by new owner American Railway Explorer and has gone thru several owners since, but this is likely too recent a series of events to relate to your china. Ships are another interesting possibility that used marked, custom china.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Tuesday, October 3, 2017 by RJMc

A. The Link discusses the history of the ZIM Lines ship "SS Zion" which was built and went into service in 1957, but doesn't indicate what the china might have looked like. Link 1  Posted Tuesday, October 3, 2017 by RJMc

A. This is not a railroad pattern shown in any of the books. If they are over 50 years old, the pattern almost certainly would have been known and shown. The above suggestions are good ideas, but to add another, this ware could also have come from a church or other religious affiliated organization with "Zion" as part of their name. Churches often ordered personalized china. Stretching a bit, it might be municipal china from a town or city named "Zion." If you post a picture of the back markings it may be possible to determine the actual production date which won't give user information but would nail down the age.  Posted Thursday, October 5, 2017 by js

 Q3378 Handlan Lantern Questions  I have a lantern that has no markings other than the wick adjuster handle which say Handlan, St. Louis Mo. The wick adjuster has a patent date of 5-9-08 and you can see that there are 4 prongs that appear to be for a secondary chimney of about 1 1/8th diameter. It uses a round wick. The font is part of the base and of course, is not removable. Is this a Handlan lamp? If so, is that the correct wick adjuster? If it is not, what is the correct wick adjuster?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, October 2, 2017 by GJE   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I see that loop in the vertical wire for the bail (handle) attachment in a picture of an MM Buck lantern on page 146 of Barrett's book - Encyclopedia of Railroad Lighting Vol I. AS MM Buck was a Handlan predecessor, you could consider this a Handlan lantern. This style of lantern is featured in an 1893 catalog as shown in Barrett's book. Hard to know about the burner - it may have come from a switch lamp or it may be original to your lantern.  Posted Wednesday, October 4, 2017 by JEM

 Q3377 Roberts Safety Lantern  How often do you see/find a 'Roberts Safety' lantern? I would think a collector would show more interest in this frame versus a frame made by Adlake, right? Also have a mellon globe embossed Pennsylvania Lines. Must have a higher level of interest versus Penn Central, right? Have you ever seen a globe embossed with just Pennsylvania Lines?? I am not asking for a value. How about a rating from 1-10, 10 being of higher interest. Frame an '8'? Globe a '10'? Thank you.  Posted Monday, October 2, 2017 by Bruce F.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3376 Early RR Lamp  I recently had someone give me a very old incomplete railway switch light (no markings. There is no door but it would probably have an amber lens in the center. Any information on this lamp would be really appreciated. Thanks.  [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, September 29, 2017 by Dave   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. They appear to be switch markers possibly shop made. Green would indicate the switch is lined for the lead track or ladder. Amber would indicate the switch would be lined to that specific yard track. Posted Saturday, September 30, 2017 by Ex Sou Ry

 Q3375 REA Artifacts  Hello, I recently discovered a hidden store room in our building. We discovered this was an old Railway Express Agency Station from early 1900’s. I have come across a lot of the Parcel shipping tickets and some artifacts. How do I document and organize this for Historians? I am intrigued to see what was being shipped at those times and by who. Please let me know if you can direct me in the right direction. Sincerely,  Posted Thursday, September 28, 2017 by BW   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3374 Railroad Marking?  Can someone tell me which railroad this is?: TNOMW I think TNO is Texas & New Orleans, and the road is a subsidiary of the Southern Pacific. Thank you,  Posted Thursday, September 28, 2017 by Horton M   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Depending on where this marking was found, the MW may stand for "Maintenance of Way". I have a lantern with a "P&LE RR" marking (Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad) followed by "MW" which I was told stands for Maintenenace of Way, in other words, a lantern used by track repair and similar outfits. Posted Thursday, September 28, 2017 by PK

A. Have seen Western Maryland MOW Posted Thursday, September 28, 2017 by DC

A. I have a P&LE clear cast globe that's marked "P&LERRCoMW" in an oval panel that barely contains the letters. Posted Saturday, September 30, 2017 by GM

 Q3373 5-sided BLW Plate Info Needed  Does anyone have any info on this 5-sided BLW builders plate? Thanks for any insight.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, September 22, 2017 by Rob   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is from an early Baldwin Diesel locomotive. Some people on this site have access to Baldwin Construction Numbers. If they come on and reference the number they can give you further information on the locomotive, Posted Friday, September 22, 2017 by JN

A. As other collectors may have already explained, your Baldwin 73378A2 Builders Plate likely came from Pennsylvania RR #5825A2 - 1/2 of a semi-permanent linked pair of Baldwin Centipede Freight Locomotives (5825A1 and 5825A2). Baldwin 5825A1 was assigned Builders Plate 73378A1 and 5825A2 was assigned Builders Plate 73378A2. This Baldwin order for Qty 2 DR12-8-3000 (Centipede) set of locomotives (also called the DR12-8-1500/2) was originally delivered to the PRR in 6/47 and your 73378A2 Builders Plate has a construction date of 5/47. The provenance of your 73378A2 Builders Plate has not yet been verified. However, there may be a 1947 set of Baldwin Builders Plates that exists for each of these locomotives and a 2nd 1952 or later set of Baldwin Plates created after the Locomotives were decoupled, re-engined, and downgraded on horsepower rating. PRR Locomotive #5825A2 was later renumbered #5813 and rated at 3,000 HP in locomotive classification BP60 around 1949. In 1952, PRR 5813 was permanently detached from PRR 5812, rebuilt at the PRR Altoona Shops, re-engined by Baldwin and downgraded from 3000 hp to 2500 hp, and changed to helper service for assisting long freight trains in the Pennsylvania Mountains. PRR Crews found the DR-12-8-3000 Centipede sets were limited to large radius turns, wore out steel rails quickly due to their weight, were subject to frequent breakdowns, and were unable to compete with the lower ownership costs of ALCO or EMD Diesels. All PRR Baldwin Centipede Locomotives were scrapped in the late 1950s to early 1960s. The matching PRR #5825A1 / 73378A1 Builders Plate from 1947 for the other #5812 locomotive apparently still exists [See second link]. More background: The PRR Centipedes were originally delivered from the Baldwin factory in pairs, semi permanently coupled with a drawbar. Both units of the pair had the same road number, in this case 5825. Also both units of the pair had builders plates with the same construction number, in this case 73378. For unique identification there were small road numbers, with a suffix, on the rear of each unit, in this case 5825-A1 and 5825-A2. The PRR later decoupled the units and renumbered them. 5825-A1 became 5825 and 5825-A2 became 5813. The PRR had Baldwin make new builders plates for each decoupled unit. The 5825's new plate was number 73378A1 and the 5813's new plate was number 73378A2 [sources: Pennsylvania Railroad Diesel Locomotive Pictorial Volume Four - Baldwin Cab and Transfer Units, John D. Hahn, Jr. - 1998 Withers Publishing; other sources from internet]  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Saturday, September 30, 2017 by Steve

 Q3372 Car Movements  I have recently seen photos of a lone Union Pacific stock car in a yard on the east coast, one of a single Great Northern stock car in an eastern yard, and another of a loaded C&O coal hopper in a train on the UP in Nebraska or Wyoming; all circa mid 1950s. These surprised me as I had previously not seen photos of eastern coal or stock cars out west, nor western ones back east. This brought up the questions of how often did stock cars and coal loads wander well outside of their home roads states? Thanks for any insights.  Posted Friday, September 22, 2017 by Red Beard   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3371 M1B Builders Plate  I need some info on a Baldwin Locomotive Works builders plate M.1.B 1930 61864. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, September 21, 2017 by Rob   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. An M1B was a Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR)4-8-2 Mountain Type locomotive. They were essentially a stretched K-4s 4-6-2. They were very successful locomotives. One is preserved at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, PA. Baldwin built 225 of them for the PRR, Lima built 50 and the PRR itself built 26. Posted Thursday, September 21, 2017 by JN

A. Thanks for the good lead JN. I double checked Edson’s book and builders number 61364 is listed as PRR engine # 6736 built 6-1930 scrapped September 1958. Posted Thursday, September 21, 2017 by Rob

 Q3370 Adlake 100s  There are several pages for various Adlake Kero’s and all the other tall globe models detailing frame and globe markings [assume on this website -ed.]; can we have one for the Adlake 100’s? The information on them seems rather elusive, so I’d like to see them better documented if possible. Could probably get away with one page with frame and globe info since the information is so limited. [Web Editor note: We'd post such info from a catalog if we had it, but we don't have anything like this. Does Anyone?]  Posted Wednesday, September 20, 2017 by MC   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3369 SP Conductor's Punch  I've recently begun collecting ticket punches and just acquired the one in the photo. It has a partial mark in a semi-circle 'Pt. Pleasant, NJ' which I understand indicates it was made by the P.J. Mieth Mfg. Co. The attached tag says that it belonged to a conductor named Art when he worked on the S.P.R.R. Is it possible that the S.P.R.R.'s Auditor of Passenger Receipts record of ticket punch designs still exists? I'd really like to know the last name of the mystery conductor to whom the punch belonged. Also, I'd love to hear from any other punch collectors who might be able to provide me with information about the different punches,manufacturers, etc. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, September 19, 2017 by Dave P.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I have a current catalog from Transquip, who manufactures railroad punches. Their catalog has over 1,600 stock punch designs and they can custom make any design you would like. As for records of who used what punch, railroad historical societies possess a wealth of information. Try the Southern Pacific Railway Historical & Technical Society Posted Tuesday, September 19, 2017 by JN

 Q3368 Lantern Info Needed  I was wondering if anyone has ever seen or heard of the tall globe Dressel lanterns that have the NYC&HRR marking on the frame and that are bellbottoms? If so, are these lanterns considered to be rare?  Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2017 by lanternlady   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3367 What is this?  Smells of burnt oil. Lid is removable. Handle is about 6 inches long. Please advise Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2017 by Bill   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. If you go to 'Railroadiana Home' and select the item 'Extract from Master Mechanics...' you will find a document describing how the RR industry early in the 20th Century standardized types of tinware such as this. Fig. 22 in that document shows a drawing of your item; the description of it says "A universal form of marking pot." (That said, marking what?? they don't say.) But the Master Mechanics ran the mechanical department: shops, roundhouses, and rolling stock maintenance in general -- not the track or signal side of things -- so that field is where we need to look for more info. It appears that the handle is made as a socket for a longer wooden handle. My guess is this acted as a 'smudge pot' that could be filled with waste and oil and ignited, then placed somewhere where either the heat or light of the flame was needed.  Posted Thursday, September 14, 2017 by RJMc

A. Several other references make clear that a marking pot was used to carry paint, ink, chalk powder or even lamp black and a brush, an arrangement suitable for marking bags of grain, cartons, or almost anything else, probably including the stenciling of data such as car numbers and inspection dates. Whoever used this one as a smudge pot was probably mis-using it.  Posted Thursday, September 14, 2017 by RJMc

 Q3366 Lamp Info Needed  I have this lantern that I can't find much information about, and I saw that this website might be able to help. It is a ADLAKE Lantern that has a total of 4 lenses, 2 being red and the other 2 clear, but when you shine a light through it, It shows purple. If I could find any info on it, age or anything, that would be great.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2017 by Harrison   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Harrison, can you please say more about "it shows purple"? Are you saying that all four lenses light up as purple or just the clear ones? When you open the sliding door, what is inside of the lamp? ..anything in there that would explain the purple color? Are you placing a light source inside the lamp or shining a light clear through the lamp from the outside; in one lens and out the other? Thanks. ---- .... Red Beard Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. The clear lences on the sides illuminate as a purple when a light sorce such as the whick is lit inside, behind the door is the burner with a round whick and stantions for what looks like another piece of glass. Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2017 by Harrison

A. In re looking at the lantern again the lences arnt actually a clear but a dark purple look to them but when light shined through them,it has a purple pink look to them Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2017 by Harrison

A. Harrison, that is a really nice looking little lamp. It's old too, as the cap support legs go down inside of the smoke stack, rather than being attached to the outside of the cone. Quite possibly a hundred plus years old! – I have to say that I'm stumped by the color combination. The loop at the top of the bail (wire handle) is usually used to hang a lamp on a peg; often times used on a crossing gate so the lamp is free to swing and rotate around the peg thereby staying vertical as the gate is raised and lowered. – Another question; do the purple lenses have steps on the back of them (guessing here that the red ones do), or are they flat on the back and fairly thick? - The reason I ask is that if they are flat on the back, they may have started out clear and have turned purple over many years of exposure to sunlight, as much old 'clear' glass did. A hundred plus years ago, glass makers used manganese dioxide as an additive to create clear, colorless glass. Many years of exposure to sunlight caused a reaction with the manganese dioxide giving the formerly clear glass a nice purple tint, known as sun colored purple or amethyst . This tint can range from very lite violet to a fairly robust purple, and often with a noticeable pink over tone. - Red and clear would have been appropriate colors for a crossing gate lamp; clear towards the approaching trains and red towards traffic on the road. – And, another issue in the twenty-first century is that it has been many years since lamps such as yours were in actual daily use and in that time nobody knows who might have switched out lenses in any given lamp, replacing them with new and meaningless colors. ---- …. Red Beard Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Hello Red, The purple lenses are stepped on the inside, and the bail is looped. Very interesting. The muffin like top supports like you said do go into the chimney and I though that at first it being very old glass that turned purple but then re looked and found them actually a dark purple. Iv seen in some other lanterns have the same type burner wirh a round whick and stantions for another glass witch I am missing on mine but it is a small little 100+ aye pretty cool if in fact it was  Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2017 by Harrison

A. Someone told me once it was a #52 but I could not find that anywhere  Posted Thursday, September 14, 2017 by Harrison

A. Sounds like your clear Lens is actually a "Lunar White" lens which does have a light blue/purple shade to it when lit up of viewed from an angle. It was used in many RR switch lamps. I have a RR yard Adlake switch lamp with two amber and two lunar white lens. Posted Thursday, September 14, 2017 by JE

A. Harrison, Could you send in a good clear photo of the bottom of the lamp? if looking up from underneath. Thanks. ---- .... Red Beard Posted Thursday, September 14, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. In looking at the lantern more I just found a plate inside with patent dates ranging from 18 something-1913. Adams and Westlake Chicago.The lenses tho defiantly looks like a purple lens and shows lunar white as it is lit so maybe it was a clear lens at one time and has seen many hours of sunlight it is 104 years old after all  Posted Thursday, September 14, 2017 by Harrison

A. Hi all. Thank you for all the posts. I've found some good info on my lantern but here are some more photos showing the details. Link 1  Posted Thursday, September 14, 2017 by Harrison

A. Harrison, Thanks so much for the additional photos, they are a big help! -- First of all , Please do not repaint that lamp. It's in excellent shape and appears to have the original finish on it. From an historical point, that makes it much more valuable than if it were to be ruined by repainting it! --- It is clearly not a switch lamp based on the appearance of the bottom of the lamp as there are no rivet holes in the floor or around the bottom edge of the body, so no sort of base has ever been fixed to the lamp, as would be required on a switch lamp -- Those small lenses look VERY much like "sun colored amethyst" glass, as I mention above. They certainly are not Lunar White. All the information points to the idea that it is a crossing gate lamp, though those small lenses could be some sort of purple signal glass (for what, I don't know though)-- Something to remember about patent dates is that an item can be No Older than the most recent patent date, and in fact could be a decade or more newer than the last patent date listed, as patented features tended to be used by a manufacturer for some time into the future after the patent was granted. The 19-Teens and Twenties were about the time railroads were beginning to standardize signal glass colors across all railroads, so without knowing more about what road it came off of, that purple/violet color could have been used to mean many different things (providing that the lenses started out that color, and aren't "sun colored" formerly clear lenses)..still thinking crossing gate lamp, though. ---- .... Red Beard Posted Friday, September 15, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

 Q3365 Milwaukee Road China Pattern  I have not found the pattern shown in any of my reference books. This is a 9 inch bowl. Anyone have any information on it? Thank   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, September 7, 2017 by Paul   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is legitimate. The pattern name is "La Crosse" and it is on p.41 of Official Guide to RR Dining Car China (McIntyre) and p. 140 of Dining on Rails (Luckin). Luckin gives it 4 stars out of 5 and McIntyre gives it a 3+ out of 5 in their scarcity/rarity ratings. I've seen several pieces on eBay and had one myself but despite the good ratings this pattern doesn't seem to do well. Maybe that's because it is so plain and unassuming. HORRORS -- now I will go crazy having to look at the underside of every green stripe on white piece of china at tag sales and flea markets ......!!!!  Posted Thursday, September 7, 2017 by js

A. With only the single stripe, it's not the most noticeable entry in either of the china books. I had to read and re-read in the books myself, to find it when I got the platter that I had.  Posted Thursday, September 7, 2017 by js

 Q3364 PRR/NYC Key  Hi Everyone. I have a key marked for both PRR and NYC. The lettering is two different styles. I know that in certain areas there was joint trackage served by more than one railroad and that special keys were usually issued for those areas. Could this be from an area of joint trackage? Maybe even a common yard? Does anyone know any information on a key like this? Thank You,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, September 7, 2017 by JN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3363 Blue over Clear Presentation Lantern  I recently found this lantern in the Nashville Tennessee area. The man I purchased it from knew little to nothing about it. It belonged to his father's estate. He was an avid railroad collector. The globe is marked A.J. Berry M. D. It is a Dayton lantern. Is it possible that a railroad could have presented this lantern to Mr. Berry for his service with the railroad as a doctor? I have researched this name and found very little. Thank you for your help.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, September 3, 2017 by Mike   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. If you look through employee timetables (not the train schedule ones that the railroads gave to the public) railroads usually listed doctors who served railroad employees for the company. It is very possible the railroad gave this lantern as a retirement gift, even though a doctor was not usually a railroad employee. Posted Sunday, September 3, 2017 by JN

A. In Omaha, the Union Pacific maintained an entire staff of Medical Doctors who worked for the railroad. Their sole practice was to care for railroad employees; other doctors were contracted with as well, and a significant portion of their practice was made up of railroad workers. In outlying areas, as JN mentions, there were doctors who were contracted with the railroad to provide medical services to employees. The railroads had very good medical care for their employees, thanks entirely to the various railroad labor unions and the tenacity of the working men who were willing to go without wages for months at a time during the long and bitter strikes that wrangled benefits like that out of management. ---- .... Red Beard  Posted Monday, September 4, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. So far web searches on the name, A.J. Berry, M.D., have turned up two. One in Brooklyn, NY, found in a search because his daughter married someone prominent, and the second one in Colorado endorsing a patent medicine product called Neurilla. Both of these look to be around the turn of the 20th Century, with no RR connection evident. JN is correct about listings of doctors in employee timetables. But without more to go on, it is an impossible task to search them because there is no single place they are all gathered where they can be searched, and they were frequently updated so there would be many copies for each RR. However, since the 1800's, there has been the publication "The Pocket List of RR Officials" printed quarterly, which is a directory of the officials in the entire North American RR industry. A pleasant surprise (see link) some of these volumes have been scanned, digitized, and made available both in total and searchable on the web. This makes looking up historical RR persons MUCH simpler!! One unfortunate part of your particular person of interest, however, is that the doctors were often not employees, as mentioned above, but contractors. So they may not have been listed in the Pocket List. It was probably at the discretion of each RR Co. whether to list them or not. A look thru the early 1900's issues at the Link showed many 'Berry's' but no A.J. Berry's. And of course, it is entirely possible that A.J. Berry himself was an avid lantern collector, and had no direct connection with a RR at all.  Link 1  Posted Monday, September 4, 2017 by RJMc

A. Try a GOOGLE BOOKS search - Not just GOOGLE search. They are separate and one will not lead to another. There is an A. J. Berry MD from Colorado Springs mentioned in the first result - from about the right time frame of this Dayton lantern. But others are correct - finding the right Dr. Berry will almost certainly be a horrifically difficult task.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, September 6, 2017 by JMS

A. Thanks to all who have helped me with this search. The only other piece of information that I have uncovered is that the lantern was purchased in San Francisco in the 70s by the sellers father. He has some other items that I'm going to be looking at before too long. Hopefully there will be something in that collection that will give me a clue to who Dr. Berry was.  Posted Thursday, September 7, 2017 by MS

A. I wanted to post a picture regarding the blue over clear presentation lantern. We found this wonderful lantern in Pennsylvania. The glass is cut O.E. KIMBALL MANCHESTER NH amid the wreath, so I had significantly more to work with than most. As it turned out, Orrin Ezra Kimball was a firefighter/community leader who did a great deal for his city and apparently was recognized for it at some point. As one response suggested, Mike, Dr Berry may not have been involved with a railroad – although the explanations about railroads and their medical staffs were terrific! I sincerely hope you find out that he WAS. Thankfully his name is easier to research than John Smith, for example and having a title should help. Best wishes and good luck !  Link 1  Posted Thursday, September 7, 2017 by JMS

A. Regarding railroad doctors: As mentioned above - railroads did list doctors in towns along their lines. The Northern Pacific Railroad had doctors on retainer in towns all along its system, and they were listed in employee timetables under the heading "Authorized Surgeons". These were the doctors to be contacted in the event of accident or if there was an ill passenger or railroad employee. My grandfather was on retainer as an Authorized Surgeon for the NP and received payment for any medical treatment he provided to NP employees or passengers. I found him listed in timetables dating from 1925 through 1949. Unfortunately he never received a presentation lantern when he retired as an NP Authorized Surgeon.  Posted Thursday, September 7, 2017 by JEM

 Q3362 Green Glass Marbles  Do the green glass marbles found near railroad tracks in West Virginia contain Lead? Is there a way to test them for lead before adding them to aquariums? By the way...enjoyed reading about these marbles and how, when and why they were made. Super interesting. and I haven't lost my marbles :) Thanks,  Posted Wednesday, August 30, 2017 by Lisa   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  Lead is used in crystal glass because it makes the glass softer so that it can be cut and polished. Most glass that is used for food storage is soda lime glass that does not contain lead. That said glass is made from sand and lead does occur in some sand naturally. If you are really concerned you might be able to test the marbles with an X ray fluorescence gun (XRF) to determine the composition of the glass. This non-destructive method of testing is used by many manufacturers and also larger scrap yards to determine alloys of metals. XRF guns are also used to test for lead in paint samples so your local health department may have one. See the link for the Wikipedia article on XRF.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, August 31, 2017 by KM

 Q3361 Help on Old Builders Tags  I've come across 3 metal RR signs in a barn at auction today and one of them has me stumped. I'm wondering if you could share if the signs are indeed builders tags and who is the company that made the sign that has Southern Pacific company on it as well as Pennsylvania Company. Were they the same company? Also, I can't find any information/comparables about the GM 1946 tag. Any resources or links are greatly appreciated. Thank you!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, August 27, 2017 by Mike B   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The plate in question is a trust plate. Ever buy a car or house and have to make payments? The bank owns the property until they get their money. Same with railroad equipment. When orders for cars or locomotives were financed, these plates were attached to the equipment to show who owned it. Houses stay put. Rail equipment doesn't. These plates help the finance company keep track of their equipment as it travels around. Equipment orders can be for dozens of locomotives or hundreds of cars. Each piece of this particular trust carried one of these plates. Posted Monday, August 28, 2017 by JN

A. Forgot to refer to your other plates. Those are indeed builder's plates. The serial number is like the VIN number on your vehicle. It is a unique number for the locomotive. Each locomotive carries a pair of these plates. No other locomotive will have the same serial number. Each of your builder's plates would only have one other mate. There could be dozens or even hundreds of your trust plate floating around since the trust plate covers an entire order. If you can get a hold of EMD and GE construction records you can find out exactly what each locomotive was and who originally purchased it by looking up those serial numbers. Posted Monday, August 28, 2017 by JN

A. See Prior Q 3332 for a lot more discussion of trust plates. On your trust plate, SP is the railroad seeking financing to buy the equipment, and the Pennsylvania company mentioned is the banking institution handling the financing transactions (not necessarily connected in any way to the PRR.)  Posted Monday, August 28, 2017 by RJMc

 Q3360 Loco Key ID Needed  Need help identifying this locomotive key, thank you in advance for your help.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, August 26, 2017 by Jim   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Greetings, this is not a key but rather a brake handle. Specifically, it is the independent brake handle, meaning it is the handle for the locomotive brakes only. It is removable from the engineer's control stand, as is the automatic brake handle on many locomotives. The handles are removed on trailing locomotives when several are coupled together to prevent anyone from tampering with the brake system. Engineers will have a spare handle like yours in their bag (know as their "grip"), along with rule books, spare reverser handles, forms etc. The independent brake handles are not commonly found, so congratulations!! The handles are now made of plastic in many cases, so your metal one is either an older one or the original that came with the locomotive when it was new. Happy collecting! Steve B. Posted Saturday, August 26, 2017 by Steve B.

A. Jim, I had a look at the independent handle in my collection after typing this. The cast marks on yours are the exact same as on the one I have. Typically these cast marks indicate part numbers, not numbers for a specific locomotive. They could be EMD part numbers, or part numbers from the company that manufactured the air brake system (Westinghouse?). Have a great day! Steve B. Posted Saturday, August 26, 2017 by Steve B.

A. The mark on the handle that appears to be "XX" is really the trademark of the Westinghouse Air Brake Co., including a barely visible crossbar, to represent interlocking letters W A B. The first Link shows this trademark (already) in use on a publication in 1914. The second Link shows it still in use in 1953. It is VERY widely deployed, on lots of brake parts on RR's around the world. I think it has gone out of use after many rounds of company mergers, but I am not sure when it went out of use.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Saturday, August 26, 2017 by RJMc

A. There is what looks like a good article on Wikipedia, with recent history. See the Link .  Link 1  Posted Sunday, August 27, 2017 by js

 Q3359 Use of Wrench-Style Keys  Can someone tell me what these 'keys' were used for ? They are exactly like the triangle style signal box keys, except for the little 'additions' on one side (and of course they won’t go into the screw locks – but they would work with them, if they could!). Thanks in advance ! Kind regards,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, August 26, 2017 by Jane S   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Do you have any reason to think they are rail road related ? They may not be, could be for turning on/off or adjusting the flow of many things. Hope some one knows. Posted Tuesday, August 29, 2017 by DC

A. They have no markings and the only real clue if you could call it that is they came with a bunch of RR keys. Also, they would be usable with the triangle signal box screw locks if they didn't have the little "additions." Of course all kinds of non-RR keys come along with bunches of RR keys, but I was hoping someone might recognize the use for these, they are so unique. Thanks for the encouragement.  Posted Thursday, August 31, 2017 by js

A. When searching internet for railroad gas lamp keys some of these are pictured. Ones marked Pintch are more common. Posted Saturday, September 16, 2017 by DC

 Q3358 Lock Marking  I am trying to identify a railroad lock and am having great difficulty. I believe it is a Colorado rail lock, Miller brass lock marked on the shackle only C.ST.RM&O.RY.CO. I found it at a thrift store here in colorado. Must of been an old way to spell the line. I thought it was a Colorado Southern or Midland but I am not sure. sincerely,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2017 by Gavin   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. It is Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha. CStPM&O Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2017 by JN

A. Chicago St Paul Minneapolis & Omaha Ry, a part of the Chicago & Northwestern Ry system. The railroad never made it to Colorado, although the lock itself did. Posted Wednesday, August 23, 2017 by BobF

A. This is the "Omaha Road" - see the link to specific information about it. The "other" famous Milwaukee line was the CMStP&P or "Milwaukee Road." NICE FIND !!  Link 1  Posted Thursday, August 24, 2017 by js

 Q3357 Key ID?  I'm stumped with this one. The key has the usual S on the back of the bow. The only thing I can come up with is St Louis Public Utilities?? Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, August 21, 2017 by Joe   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Can not tell much by looking at this pile of keys. What I can tell you is Z is New York Zone,L is Long Island R.R. then serial number. Next key on ring appears to be same cut. S is for switch lock key. Posted Monday, August 21, 2017 by DC

A. Sorry, my reply was for next question. Posted Monday, August 21, 2017 by DC

A. It looks like a MM Buck or Handlan Buck key blank. Since they were located in St Louis...I'd go with St Louis as part of the name. The PU????? Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2017 by BobF

A. Yes it is a Handlan Buck St. Louis MO , it was with some well used Missouri Pacific keys that I acquired. So I do think it is a St Louis area key , just the P U is the unknown ! Thanks for the reply . Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2017 by Joe

A. This may not be a "railroad" key -- these older ones can be so hard to figure out identity!! "U" could stand for Union or University... Non-railroad customers bought and used "railroad" locks/keys (meaning "railroad quality, not railroad used"). A good example is NYCBOE - New York City Board of Education, which stamped their equipment. Being with a group of MP keys is a good clue that StL is very likely for St. Louis but there is also the possibility of St. Lawrence and other lesser known StL's . Good luck!! Hope you can solve this mystery, it's a great old key !! Posted Thursday, August 24, 2017 by js

A. Police and fire telephone call boxes also used very similar keys. Posted Thursday, August 24, 2017 by RJMc

 Q3356 Switch Keys  Here is a photo of what I believe are my grandfather's switch keys. Only one has any identification, being ZL9237. He worked for the LIRR from the 1930s - 1950s. I'd be grateful if you could assist me in identifying the keys. Many thanks,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, August 21, 2017 by Janet S.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. (See also answer which got mis-placed with Q3356.) The key at the 5:00 position is the standard PRR switch key cut, which has since become a Penn Central, then Conrail, and now Amtrak standard on the Northeast Corridor. Many LIRR trains operated over PRR/PC/CR/Amtrak lines into Penn Station and the Sunnyside Yard area, and LIRR was a PRR subsidiary for many years, so it would make sense to use the same key rather than having to issue everyone two. The key at the 2:00 position looks to be that same cut, but as a guess, over time LIRR may have moved to a smaller key since the PC key was among the larger switch keys used by any RR. It is very unusual to have the bit at right angles to the ring; the key looks almost "home-made" which was sometimes done by individuals, and sometimes the RR's themselves. The key at the 10:00 position was/is used to 'key in' at the control panels for the electrically-operated sliding doors on the Multiple Unit (MU) cars running on LIRR and also on the other former Conrail commuter passenger lines now being run by public agencies. I don't recognize the other two keys.  Posted Monday, August 21, 2017 by RJMc

A. Can not tell much by looking at this pile of keys. What I can tell you is Z is New York zone L is Long Island RR then serial number. Next key looks like same cut. S is for switch lock key. Others could be for signal, general purpose, car or other locks. Any letters on them ? Posted Monday, August 21, 2017 by DC

A. The ZL key is a Pennsylvania Railroad "division key" made for use in a specific area of operation run by the PRR which operated in many areas in several states. The ZL denotes where it was used, i.e.: Z stands for the New York Zone; and L stands for the Long Island Railroad. During the time your grandfather was working there, the Pennsylvania RR was in control of the LIRR. According to Wikipedia: In 1900, the Pennsylvania Railroad bought a controlling interest as part of its plan for direct access to Manhattan, which began on September 8, 1910. The wealthy PRR subsidized the LIRR during the first half of the new century, allowing expansion and modernization. After World War II, the railroad industry's downturn and dwindling profits caused the PRR to stop subsidizing the LIRR, and the LIRR went into receivership in 1949. (See the link below to read the full Wikipedia page) I agree with the post about the key next to it with the same bit cut - the barrel of it has been soldered to a new top ring. Congratulations on having such a fabulous family heirloom that must have been a very important part of your grandfather's working life.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, August 24, 2017 by js

A. Sorry, one more thought - the 9237 is a serial number, stamped on to identify an individual key. Back in the day, keys were highly cared for and kept track of. Your grandfather likely may have had to sign for this one, and the company would have a record of which number key was his. If he lost it would have been in trouble! and probably would have had to pay for a duplicate. So ZL9237 likely was "HIS" key, not "just a key." The cobbed up one next to it, could be considered "just a key," a spare perhaps, it surely appears to have been two pieces welded together.  Posted Thursday, August 24, 2017 by js

 Q3355 Bronze Bell Marking  Some friends of mine purchased a bronze bell with the markings of TFSEGOR & Co New York 1849 on it. The diameter of the bell is 20 inches at the bottom. They currently cleaned it up and built a form so they could mount it on their Church. It’s really beautiful with no dings or blemishes that we can see. We would like to know if you know what the TFSEGOR stands for. We were told it was a train bell. We would like to know more about the bell for the Church history books. Thank you, in advance, for any information you might provide.  Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2017 by CH   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Apparently T.F. SEGOR was an early builder of steamship engines. The piece below was the only info I could find - "St. John 1 ' was built for the People's Line for service between New York and Albany, and was one of the largest boats on the Hudson River at the time. Her hull was built of wood by John Englis at Greenpoint, in 1863, and her engine was the work of T. F. Segor, and formerly rested in the steamboat "New World." She was 417 feet long with a vertical beam engine with the longest stroke of any engine on the river." Further research on Hudson River boats, early boat builders, engine builder's etc might yield more results. But looks like your bell came off an early steamboat. Posted Friday, August 18, 2017 by DA

 Q3354 Missing Manufacturer's Globe Marking  I am considering purchasing a red short globe with a railroad's letters etched on it. The etched letters look legit to me. This is not my concern. My concern is there is no globe manufacturer cast or embossed on the globe. My past experience has been any etched globe that I have acquired has always been cast or embossed with a manufacturer (such as Kopp or Corning). Should I be cautious? Thanks in advance for any advice.  Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2017 by CRK   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. All my 3 3/8 and 4 1/2 Handlan etched globes are marked with either Kopp or Corning. If it is a small or hard to find RR I would be cautious. Just plain letters would be easier to fake than a logo. Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2017 by dc

A.  Thanks DC! Your comments are exactly what I have been thinking all along. Appreciate you taking time to answer. CRK Posted Wednesday, August 16, 2017 by CRK

A. There are short globes from Macbeth Evans Glass Co. that often have almost illegible, very small lettering M.E.G. Co. They look more like defects in the glass rather than lettering. (Should not be confused with the MACBETH Adlake Kero cast globes which are very obviously marked). Also, of the few GLASSBAKE 3.25" globes out there, most have a very faint and illegible logo on them. Both are very easy to miss if you don't know what you're looking for. Also on many KOPP globes, the trademark can quite weak as well. Posted Monday, August 21, 2017 by JFR

A. JFR - Thanks also to you for your informative comments. CRK  Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2017 by CRK

A. With out the manufacture mark the glass might not be heat-treated. In other words it could be a real a safety hazard. BEWARE! Posted Monday, August 28, 2017 by Ex Sou Ry

 Q3353 PRR Lock Question  I've had this lock quite a while and have just started trying to locate a key for it. I read your article online about the slaymaker locks with key number and a letter code PQ or PR. Mine is a PRR with a Z and a 44 and a 1962. Have you seen this? And do you think a PQ44 key would work? The other lock was pictured just for reference. Thanks in Advance   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2017 by Ritch W   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3352 PRR Class Lamps  Did the Pennsylvania railroad make their own Claw footed 4 lens locomotive classification/ marker lights or did Dressel?  Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2017 by Tom W   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Tom; this is an important question, and I'm hoping RJMc chimes in on this as he has a much more extensive library than I do. – I think the answer is Both; Dressel made a “Keystone Type” lamp identical to the Pennsy Pilot and Tender Lamps, it is listed in the Dressel 1926 catalog as a model No. 454 and made of Gray Iron (cast). I have photos of Dressel #454 lamps and Pennsylvania Pilot Marker Lamps and they are identical, with the exceptions being the Dressel lamps say Dressel on the dome of the ball, and the PRR lamps do not; the PRR ones rather having some raised company numbers cast on the surface of the ball half of the lamp. – Additionally, many PRR steam engines had unique small Class Lamps mounted high on the sides of the smoke box in the 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock positions, as well as the four footed pilot mounted lamps. Some engine photos show only the small high mounted Class Lamps and no pilot lamps. Other photos show only the pilot mounted footed lamps. As you mention, the pilot mounted lamps sat on a unique four legged base, as did the Dressel lamps. These footed lamps were also used as a permanently mounted marker light on tenders. See “LINK 1” for a good article on these. Which starts a good half ways down the page under “PRR Marker Lights”. A Google search of PRR steam engine photos will show examples of the pilot lamps and unique PRR class lamps. ---- …. Red Beard Link 1  Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Thank you very much. I thought also that both were made but I wasn't sure.  Posted Tuesday, August 15, 2017 by T.W.

 Q3351 CW Lantern?  I recently got this lantern and believe it's a Civil War railroad lantern due to the date on the burner which is 1864. I am trying to find out if it is railroad and who made it. Thanks,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, August 12, 2017 by Randy   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hobson's "Lanterns That Lit Our World" shows Dietz No. 9 "Champion Railroad or Ship Lantern" made from 1870 to 1885, with the distinctive "corrugated band at the top" which looks very much like your lantern. The No. 6 Vesta offered from 1870 to 1887 appears virtually identical, but may have had a different oil pot release mechanism. A No. 7 Gem Oil Lantern (1871 -1880) also has the same frame and top band, but had a two-tube burner for sperm oil. Since the lantern manufacturers traded (borrowed, stole?) designs back and forth, others may have also made the same or very similar designs so further checking is warranted.  Posted Monday, August 14, 2017 by RJMc

 Q3350 Lamp ID Needed  I am looking for help identifying these lamps. They are oil and have mirrors. No markings or numbers. Reproductions?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, August 9, 2017 by Sherri T   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. More fantasy than reproduction, look like something from Pier One Imports. Posted Thursday, August 10, 2017 by dc

A. Fakes have been flooding in from India and that region for some time now. These look more "finished" than the first ones I recall seeing but maybe they are improving their methods (?). If you don't have a good book on U.S. signal lamps, one may help with learning to recognize a "look" so that when you see something like this, a little warning bell will go off in your mind.  Posted Thursday, August 24, 2017 by js

 Q3349 A&W Lamp  I recently purchased this railroad lamp. If anyone has any information it would be much appreciated. I believe it is Adams and Westlake. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, August 7, 2017 by Scott R.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Is it marked Adams and Westlake? Looks like a glass chimney is missing. Is the up side down looking brass bowl attached to the wooden 'ceiling' above the lamp original to the lamp? Posted Tuesday, August 8, 2017 by JE

A. It is not marked Adams and Westlake. I believe the brass smoke catcher is original to the fixture. Posted Tuesday, August 8, 2017 by Scott R.

A. OK, I think Adams & Westlake marked their products. They're still in business and have a website. Maybe if you sent them a picture of it, they could confirm if they made it. The burner looks like an Aladdin lamp burner. You might check the Aladdin oil lamp collectors web site. Link 1. If link doesn't work, just google it Link 1  Posted Wednesday, August 9, 2017 by JE

 Q3348 Unknown Odd Device  I have a device that looks to be a wall hanger and is marked on one side D&H Geneva, NY.. The back plate has a keyhole slot for mounting, but I have no idea as to what the other part is for. I'm hoping that someone out there can enlighten me!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, July 28, 2017 by Bob N.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. We need a size reference; how big is this item? And possibilities that come to mind right away (not necessarily realistic), bottle opener or boot jack. The way the base (the end away from the mounting slot) is tapered has to do with the function; what did that taper interlock with?  Posted Saturday, July 29, 2017 by RJMc

A. If D&H is taken to be Delaware & Hudson seems odd that it would be made for a specific town. Possibly a hardware item made by D&H in Geneva NY. Posted Saturday, July 29, 2017 by DC

A. Geneva Shops?? Posted Sunday, July 30, 2017 by DA

A. D&H is obviously the manufacturer of this device and not a Rail Road. Posted Tuesday, August 1, 2017 by JE

A. Looks like something used in roofing to hold a foot board in place when working on a steep roof. Posted Saturday, August 5, 2017 by DC

A. Sorry to take so long in getting back as I misplaced the piece for a while. The overall length is 6 1/4" high, 1 1/2"wide, the arm is 3 5/8" high, the space between the plate and the arm is 2 7/8" and the arm is 5" high. The base is like a split fork and does not allow the plate to fit flat on a wall. I had guessed at first that it could hold a "D" handled shovel, don't figure why the plate is angled at the base! Someone did tell me the the D&H did have some shops int the Geneva area. RLN  Posted Monday, August 7, 2017 by RLN

A. Indeed, Geneva NY would be the town where this was made. Geneva is 50 miles west of Syracuse - which seems too far from the railroad operation. I can't believe there were actual D&HRR shops there unless they could possibly have been for the Canal Company, which almost always marked their pieces D&HCCo. I don't think That whatever this is, is from any railroad. See the link for a more local wrap-up. I think there must have been a "Dunavin & Hoffman" or some other "D&H" company there, likely a machinery manufacturer or a foundry. This reminds me of items marked NYC, but are from a manufacturer located in New York City, not the New York Central Railroad.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, August 24, 2017 by js

 Q3347 Lamp ID Needed  I'm trying to find information about an unusual lamp, I believe to be RR. I'm thinking 'Caboose' as it most apparently is a signal lamp of some kind, with three lens positions. It has (had) three lenses which are missing, but were square flat plates that fit into the lens holders, the lenses could have been Fresnel grooved or just plain glass, no way to know. One lens position is fixed in place, but the glass could be removed/replaced easily, as are the other two, the two swinging lenses when not in use were slid in side the lamp and locked in position. For use they would be pulled out and swung in front of the fixed position and locked into place. The fixed position could be easily changed by opening a flap on the top. The swinging lenses being removed, changed, replaced by just dropping in or out. It has a convex reflector behind the flame, a fixed bail handle, a tang on the rear for mounting in addition to grab handles that fold flat against the back and swing out for hand holding. There are no maker markings but is stamped on the back with either 'E 5' or number '85' with a 'W' stamped in the top section of the 'E' or '8' and an '3' or possibly an '8' stamped in the bottom section of the number or letter. Any help would be greatly appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, July 24, 2017 by Stephen P.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Judging by the shape of the top of the chimney, I think that this is French, probably a fourgon (caboose) lamp. Posted Friday, August 4, 2017 by JAJ

 Q3346 Badge ID?  Any thoughts on which railroad this MCRR cap badge is from? Perhaps the hallmark will help: 'E.J. Brooks & Co. N.Y.' Thank you,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, July 24, 2017 by D.G.    Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I found 2 badges, same marking style as yours, one in the Smithsonian and another that had sold on Ebay in June................Both listed as Michigan Central Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2017 by DA

 Q3345 19th Century Swing Bridge  Thank you for any help that you can provide in identifying this location.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, July 24, 2017 by Alan B.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Some initial observations of my own, plus comments from a very experienced and widely travelled RR bridge engineer: (1) Although highly detailed, the pic is an artist's conception, not a photo,so some artistic license may have been used. (2) All of the trees shown are without leaves, indicating a more northern location in winter, but no pine trees are in evidence which would be likely at a far northern location. (3) There is no hardware anywhere in evidence that would be associated with a RR bridge, such as signals or indication lights or communication wires of any sort; bridges such as this had oil burning lamps before electric ones became available and telegraph lines were installed as early as 1860; (4) This leads to the possibility it might be a highway bridge. (5) The length of the open swing span indicates heavy water traffic. (6) All that said, the location isn't familiar to anyone so far.  Posted Thursday, July 27, 2017 by RJMc

 Q3344 Baggage Tag Info Needed  I dug this baggage tag and I'm trying to get some information on it please.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, July 24, 2017 by AP   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Could be Memphis & Charleston (later Southern) and Nashville & Decatur (later L&N). Posted Monday, July 24, 2017 by BobF

 Q3343 Eug Halard Lamp  I have a Eug Halard lamp per the brass tag. It is 25.5 inches high. Has a white reflector. Unfortunately it was electrified. I converted it to a clock. My question regards the tags welded on the right side. First one is: 23 A 662. Second tag reads: 5 DOLE. The name plate on the front is also dated 1947. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance…….   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, July 21, 2017 by JR   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is a French locomotive headlamp. Dole is a town in eastern France. Posted Friday, August 4, 2017 by JAJ

 Q3342 Vesta Globe Question  Does anyone know why this Dietz Vista lantern marked 'Wabash R.R.' has a clear pear shaped globe with 'U.S.A.' in raised letters on it? Thanks for your time any attention. Best Regards,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, July 21, 2017 by Ed   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. See Prior Q 2572, which lists others as well, explaining how the US Government purchased many thousands of Vesta's for wartime service, many marked with 'USA'.The parts were fully interchangeable with the lanterns being sold to RR's. Posted Friday, July 21, 2017 by RJMc

 Q3341 Tag Info?  I found this tag while scuba diving in the Appomattox River in Virginia. It's does not seem to be brass. A railroad came down to the river. During the civil war the track was melted down for cannons. Have you seen this type before? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, July 16, 2017 by Tim   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. It appears to be a baggage tag. One of the best sources of info on these tags is Scott Czaja's Tag Town website (see Link). The maker's mark in your pic is hard to make out, but might be J.C. Robbins of Boston, one of the makers listed on the Tag Town site, where only one example is listed as known and they don't have a photo (yet) of that mark.  Link 1  Posted Monday, July 17, 2017 by RJMc

A. Glad you posted here - this is clearly from a railroad, but which one is the N&RRR, is the puzzle. It's also possible it is not a baggage tag, as railroads used tags to keep tabs on all kinds of property. I could find nothing for N&RRR from a brief search, it would be terrific to know which road this is from. It may be a small local.  Posted Monday, July 17, 2017 by JMS

A. Three searches of sources so far come up with no good prospects for "N&R" as RR initials. One is Bill Edson's "RR Names", second is Joseph Gross' "Trolley and Interurban Directory", third is David Bright's 'Confederate RR's' website (see Link). From Edson, based only on the initials there is Nashua and Rochester, operating in Massachusetts only less than two years in 1874 and 75, then merged thru various iterations ending up as part of Boston & Maine. This could be a possible source, given the Boston source of the tag; but no guarantees.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2017 by RJMc

A. There was also a Newark & Roselle RR, taken over by the Lehigh Valley. I got this from 1907 Official Guide old and new names section. Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2017 by BobF

A. Possible Newport & Richford. Part of Canadian Pacific lines in Vermont. Could coincide with Boston tag maker. Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2017 by DC

A. Interesting, as always. The Edson listing primarily contains references from documents at the ICC, of U.S. RR's that were common carriers. Many other varieties of RR's existed that would not make that list (intrastate-only carriers, during-construction-only co's, trolley lines, and Canadian RR's in Canada for some examples. The Newark and Roselle didn't get into Edson (my copies, anyway) but I had overlooked the Newport and Richford, which IS in there, shown as part of CPR lines in VT. from 1908 to 1926. With the 'part of CPR' status, not clear whether that N&R would have issued separate tags, but possible.  Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2017 by RJMc

A. Interestingly, I got curious and looked into a couple old Official Guides I have...November, 1889 doesn't list the Newark & Roselle as either a current or superseded RR, while August, 1895 shows it as an old RR superseded by the Lehigh Valley. Maybe it was just a "paper" RR for a track extension or relocation, not a "real" operating RR. That could be why Edson didn't pick it up?? If that's the case then the tag would be from one of the other lines mentioned as answers, not the Newark & Roselle. Posted Tuesday, July 18, 2017 by BobF

A. In searching N.R.R.R. came up with The Official Guide North American Freight Service Edition 1895. An article on Baltimore Steam Packet Line says they made connections with all railways to principal cities. Schedule shows Charleston via N.R.R.R. I did not go any further. Posted Thursday, July 20, 2017 by DC

A. A friend asked me to weigh in on this tag. (1) I have several similar tags with rimmed edges in pot metal, perhaps lead. In the catalogs they call it German Silver. They are real early and I have a 1850's John Robbins catalog with a few examples. The catalogs don't show these tags in the 1870s. It is definitely a commercial railroad baggage tag (2) I believe that it is a mis-strike and it should have been N&P Newport & Potomac. Call me crazy. Mistakes were made on several tags over the years. (3) No updates have been made to TagTown for 17 years - I got endless requests for historical and value information just to see things mis-quoted on ebay 2 hours later. I lost interest. TagTown was a private site for sharing and it grew when treasure hunters found it. It has Never been advertised as a commercial site. I hope this helps. Scott Czaja  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, August 1, 2017 by Scott Czaja

 Q3340 Age of Reading Badge?  I have this badge and would like to get an idea of it's age please. There are no markings on it that I can see. It is actually silver in color. Thanks,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, July 10, 2017 by Nell   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. It would be from the middle thirties on, as that's about when they went from P&R Ry to the Reading Company! RLN Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2017 by RLN

A. The type of pin also helps date it - this simple style was early 1900s - so it sounds like 1930s or thereabouts is right on. I also asked a RR police badge specialist friend and he confirmed it's 100% legit. Enjoy !  Posted Monday, July 17, 2017 by JMS

A. This is a "first" issue Reading Railway Police badge from the 1930's. It is known as the "acorn" style. The findings on the rear are the original spring pin and tongue style catch. Nice patina. Great old badge.  Posted Tuesday, August 8, 2017 by CG

 Q3339 Chicago Milwaukee & Puget Sound Name Train?  I have seen any number of 'Olympian' fine china sets by the Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul, including the 'Puget Sound' box logo, but I have never seen one like this before. Can anybody help? Inside the cup instead of a logo is 'Chicago Milwaukee & Puget Sound Railway' (does not mention St. Paul). On the saucer is 'Pioneer Pacific Special.' Was the Pioneer Pacific Special a name train ? I can’t believe this can be a repo – the gold in calligraphy is too well applied, and it is a Haviland Limoges set, similar in shape to the more readily found Olympian pieces. Thank you!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, July 9, 2017 by JS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. According to The Official Guide to Railroad Dining Car China these sets were reportedly given as a gift to the woman selected to pour afternoon tea in the parlor car. Posted Sunday, July 9, 2017 by DC

A. Yes, they apparently were, thank you for that additional information! But this particular decoration does not appear in either McIntyre or Luckin... I have seen many of the "usual" design, but never one like this before. The others all have had logos in the cup and on the saucer (as shown in the books). Never calligraphy in 22-24k gold, and I have been stumped trying to find out info about the Pioneer Pacific Special.  Posted Sunday, July 9, 2017 by jms

A. Ooops, sorry,the maker is Guerin (Limoges), better/more desirable than Haviland.  Posted Sunday, July 9, 2017 by jms

 Q3338 Correct Pot for A&W 200?  I was wondering what the correct burner and oil pot is for an Adams and Westlake 200 railroad lantern. I'm looking at one and the oil Pot says… Use kerosene oil only and the burner has adlake on one side and I believe 187 in the other.....any help is appreciated. Thank you,  Posted Saturday, July 8, 2017 by Janine   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Despite the number the number on the burner, that is the correct fount and burner. the later 250 went to a flat wick burner marked Adlake 250 and the fount changed to longtime burning oil with no model number. later keros have both the fount and burner marked for models 300 or 400.  Posted Monday, July 10, 2017 by JFR

 Q3337 Peter Gray Lamp  I have what I believe to be a Peter Grey & Sons switch lamp. It does not appear to have been converted to electric. Is this indeed a switch lamp? If so I've not seen a Peter Grey N&W switch lamp before.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2017 by Jamie N   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I believe it was converted to electric due to the added solid top. See link for a picture of what it originally looked like as a oil burner. Link 1  Posted Thursday, June 29, 2017 by LC

A. Jamie; First off, Yes, it is a switch lamp. - Next; it came from the factory with that solid lid on it, and was not converted from kerosene. If it had been converted from oil burning, the railroad would have simply used a sheet metal disk to seal off the top. Railroads were known for penny-pinching and would never purchase a retrofit conversion top from the original manufacturer as it would be too expensive and too cumbersome of a process to order retrofit lids when they could make a just as functional lid from plain sheet steel. - When you say that it doesn't appear to have been converted to electric, do you mean that there is no bulb socket in the lamp or no hole in the body for an electric cord? A photo of the interior of the lamp, especially the floor, could help tell if it had electric fittings in the past, which had been removed at some point. - It is possible that it came from the factory with reflector lenses and never was used as an illuminated lamp. - The railroad lamp business was highly competitive and manufacturers needed to control their costs. I have never seen a specifically reflector body from Peter Gray, with no side door or hinged lid, such as Adlake, Dressel and Handlan made specifically and exclusively for reflectors. I don't know if Gray made a specific sealed body just for reflectors or used an electric body with the side door, rather than go to the expense of creating an additional body style for use with reflectors. Even though your lamp has a sliding side door to access the inside of the lamp, it very well could have come from the factory with reflector lenses and no interior lighting hardware; OR, the electrical hardware may have been removed. N&W lamps from Peter Gray show up from time to time; so, Yes, N&W did use Peter Gray lamps. SEE, Q2818 for some discussion on another N&W lamp from Gray that may or may not have come originally with reflectors or factory electric hardware, ---- .... Red Beard Posted Thursday, June 29, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A.  Thank you for the replies, I couldn't find any information about the lamp. It will not let me upload the inside pics to the site for some reason. The side of the light slides off. It's open with no reflectors inside.  Posted Thursday, June 29, 2017 by Red Beard

A. I read and looked at the pictures on question 2818, it's the same lamp. Mine does not have the reflectors like his. Mine has the glass lenses on it. I also submitted pictures to be added of the inside.  Posted Thursday, June 29, 2017 by Red beard

A. First picture... Link 1  Posted Friday, June 30, 2017 by Red Beard

A. Second picture... Link 1  Posted Friday, June 30, 2017 by Red Beard

A. Jamie: are there any small holes for screws in the floor of the lamp? Holes would give a clue as to whether there had been an electric lamp socked inside the lamp at some point. Also, looking for a large hole, 3/8 to 1/2 inch for an electric cord. One hole in the center of the floor would be for water to drain out, so I'm asking for additional holes other than in the center. Minus any holes for screws to hold a socket in place and a hole for a cord, my guess would be that it came with reflectors and at some point, who ever had the lamp put lenses in it for a better appearance. Part of the fun of this hobby is that there are subtle mysteries that we'll never really figure out. ---- .... Red Beard Posted Saturday, July 1, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Your lamp apparently dates from between 1900 and 1907, the years that PETER GRAY AND SONS company name appeared on these brass plates. According to "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Railroad Lighting Vol. 1" by Richard Barrett. Between 1878 and 1900 the name was PETER GRAY. In 1906, Peter Gray, Sr., died and in 1907 the company was incorporated when all four of his sons took over.  Posted Saturday, July 1, 2017 by jms

A. Sorry, I meant to add that as of 1907, the company name stamped on the little brass plates was PETER GRAY AND SONS, INCORPORATED  Posted Saturday, July 1, 2017 by jms

A. Quoting Barrett, this time in "Vol 2, The Railroad Signal Lamp," in his chapter on Peter Gray, he names a model "GRA SW-03, Mushroom Cap Switch Stand Lamp," and says, "At least three versions of this lamp exist. There is a short version and a taller version. The taller version apparently had a larger capacity fount. Another version exists with day targets." This certainly sounds like your lamp. Regarding the holes, this lamp has had over 100 years of time and any number of different owners. Anyone could have made modifications, including an electric conversion, and then back. Gray lamps are notoriously hard to find founts/burners for.  Posted Saturday, July 1, 2017 by jms

A. No, there Is no screw holes in the bottom. I want to thank everyone for the responses. I was not having much luck finding anything on line.  Posted Saturday, July 1, 2017 by Red beard

A. No, there Is no screw holes in the bottom. I want to thank everyone for the responses. I was not having much luck finding anything on line.  Posted Saturday, July 1, 2017 by Jamie Neal

 Q3336 Kero Burner Question   I purchased this lantern at a yard sale and have been trying to find out all I can about it. It is marked The Adams & Westlake Co as well as SOO LINE. What is confusing is I just opened it up for the first time and the inside does not look like a typical Kerosene burner set up. There is no turn knob on the outside for the wick. I thought that might be missing but the inside looks strange and not like a typical burner. Can you tell me anything about this? Many thanks is advance.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, June 25, 2017 by Joanna   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hi Joanna, you're correct, it is not your typical lantern burner. Someone has replaced the burner with one from a railroad switch lamp; having a round wick instead of a flat one. Looking at the photo as presented on this web site, there is an oval shaped bend in the wire in the 6 o'clock position below the wick. That should be the wick advance; try turning it. The font (oil pot) looks like a typical lantern font. You can find a replacement burner on eBay, with a flat wick, if you look daily for a while. I have seen round wick burners used in lanterns before, so yours isn't the first time someone has substituted one for the other. Or, you could use the round wick one and keep it as a conversation piece. ---- ....Red Beard Posted Sunday, June 25, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. The proper burner should look like this one. See Link Link 1  Posted Monday, June 26, 2017 by LC

A. The Link in the second A above (to the Kirkman site?) doesn't seem to be working. Posted Tuesday, June 27, 2017 by RJMc

A. Try pasting this address to your browser address bar ( ) --- frequently, very long addresses won't work in the automatic "LINK" feature on this site. - Woody Kirkman should be lionized for the work he has done in the lantern collecting world. Thank you so much Woody! ---- .... Red Beard Posted Tuesday, June 27, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. From the photos, you will need a #300 burner, but it would probably be the threaded version which is the harder one to find. Switch lantern burners are usually threaded and fit into a 7/8" opening. Does it unscrew (threaded) or are there two "knobs" that hold the burner in. That will help answer your question. Posted Tuesday, July 4, 2017 by BobF

A. While I'm not familiar with SOO LINE practices, some railroads, Southern Pacific comes to mind, occasionally used longtime burners like this one in hand lanterns for a stable, longer lasting signal due to the lower oil consumption. Southern Pacific also had some hand lanterns with unusually large founts to extend the burn time even further. I would hazard a guess the SOO LINE used the lantern this way, but I couldn't say for sure. Posted Monday, July 10, 2017 by JFR


 Q3335 NYC Lines Vs System  I have two lanterns from New York. One is a Dietz Vesta high-top with New York Central embossed on the skirt of the dome. The globe is embossed NYC Lines and on the opposite side embossed Dietz Vesta and the Corning logo. The other lantern involved is an Adlake Kero with the skirt embossed with NYCS. It seems from my research that NYCS stands for New York Central System. I spent a fair amount of time researching how New York Central Lines would relate to New York Central System. I see the NYCS logo on some newer locomotives and the research indicates that NYCS referred to a time in the early 1800's where it stood for transportation including other than railroads. There is a lot of information on the formation of the New York Central but nowhere that I can find are the two terms explained. Can you tell me how New York Central Lines and New York Central System are related?  Posted Wednesday, June 14, 2017 by Phillip   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Here is some info I turned up on a website: "The New York Central changed its oval herald to read "System" instead of "Lines" as of November 1935." Posted Thursday, June 15, 2017 by DA

A. One was used to refer to the New York lines, the other referred to the railroad west of Buffalo, which would include the Michigan lines. I don't recall which is which, but everything became NYCS around 1920ish or so.  Posted Thursday, June 15, 2017 by JN

A. The question of "Lines" vs. "System" has come up many times, and involving many major RR's around the U.S. which all seemed to follow much the same trends in how things were named and organized as the whole RR industry evolved. In the East, both NYC and PRR followed those trends. With regard to NYC, enter 'By Question Number' 1333 for a good start, then look at 1501, 1525, and 2097 for a lot of prior discussion. If you enter 'PRR Lines' or 'PRR System'(without the quotes) in the 'Word or Phrase' box, and give the site time to sort them out, you will see a whole 'nother string of Q&A's about the Lines/System issue.  Posted Thursday, June 15, 2017 by RJMc

A. The more exact answer to your question is that the two terms refer to much the same overall operation(s), but before and after some corporate re-organization. Changing the corporate name and/or trademarks and branding was (and is) a way to change the official names of things, to reflect new ownership or refinancing or bankruptcy, for example, without needing to change the underlying brand identity and losing public recognition developed over decades. The changes back and forth between 'Railroad Co.' and 'Railway Co.' are done for similar reasons. Other transportaton companies, not just RR's, have these same happenings. Today it is Greyhound LINES but Trailways SYSTEM, but that could change tomorrow. Posted Saturday, June 17, 2017 by RJMc

A. My information is that the New York Central LINES began when the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad ended in 1914. The New York Central SYSTEM began in the summer of 1935 (hence the herald change shortly thereafter) and lasted until 1968 when the NYC was forced to merge/become Penn Central. Another good source of information may be the NYC Historical Society, a large and active group, which should be able to provide more details.  Posted Saturday, July 1, 2017 by jms

 Q3334 JT Co. Key  I have an Adlake brass switch key stamped JT Co. Any idea which RR it came from?  Posted Tuesday, June 13, 2017 by LF   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Possibly 'Johnstown Traction Company', as in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Posted Tuesday, June 13, 2017 by PEK

A. I believe the most common name that turns up for this key is Jacksonville Terminal Co Posted Wednesday, June 14, 2017 by DA

 Q3333 SP Conductor Badge  I am investigating a CONDUCTOR over S.P.CO. Badge (I believe it is Brass) It is 3 1/2 inches long. I would like to know the era it is from and any other info you are willing to provide. There are no further marks other than those you see on front or back of the badge.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, June 6, 2017 by WBC   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3332 Trust Plate  I have a Milw trust plate and would be really interested to find out more about it. The oblong alloy plate has a red background and reads in raised silver lettering 'Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad Equipment Trust, Series VV. Continental Illinois National Bank And Trust Company of Chicago, Trustee, Owner And Lessor.' On the reverse is a cast number 7805. I know what it's use was but is it possible to find out what it was attached to and in what era?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, June 4, 2017 by KB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. You could probably research the trust number. As far as what it was attached to, equipment trusts can have hundreds of pieces of equipment. The plate number would all be the same.  Posted Monday, June 5, 2017 by JN

A. Thanks, What would be the best way of researching the trust number ?  Posted Monday, June 5, 2017 by KB

A. For addtional info about trust plates, also see answers to prior Q's 2528, 2386, 2078. For your specific plate, a good start seems to be the Annual Reports of the RR Co. The complete 1941 Annual Report (see Link) is available on the web, and has the following description: "FINANCIAL: On May 1, 1941, the Trustees sold $3,120,000 principal amount of Equipment Trust Certificates, Series" V," at 100.0530/0 of par, plus accrued dividends. These certificates are dated April 1, 1941, bear interest at the rate of 2 1/8% per annum, are payable semi-annually on April 1 and October 1 of each year, and mature in twenty equal semi-annual installments of $156,000, from October 1, 1941, to April 1, 1951, inclusive. Proceeds of these certificates were to finance not to exceed 75% of the cost of 16 Diesel locomotives, 500 box cars, 25 cabooses and 20 passenger-train cars." Unfortunately, Series V and Series V V are probably not the same. The 1941 report has similar info on "Series W". But it looks like a good bet that the Milwaukee Road Annual Reports will ultimately get you the best info you will get about Equipment Trust Series V V".  Link 1  Posted Monday, June 5, 2017 by RJM

A. To make things even simpler, the site at the Link has ALL the Milwaukee Road Annual Reports, available to read or download. Picking the 1965 report, just to start, on Page 24 it has a table of all the outstanding equipment trusts. It shows Series V V as having been first issued on Feb. 1, 1957 and maturing on Feb. 1, 1972, with a total value of $11,745,718. Looking back at the 1957 Report, it shows Series VV as issued, but the later Reports do not include the depth of detail that the 1941 Report had about Series V. The 1956 Report shows only thru Series UU, but does give the following equipment acquisition plan: "The budget provides for new equipment and improvements to existing equipment, the estimated cost of which, chargeable to Capital Account, is $14,090,000. New equipment includes: 1,000-50-ton steel box cars; 100-70-ton steel covered hopper cars; 35-50-ton airslide steel covered hopper cars; 15-70-ton airslide steel covered hopper cars; 2-Diesel-electric pile driving locomotive cranes" and this likely describes what Equipment Trust Series VV was intended to purchase.  Link 1  Posted Monday, June 5, 2017 by RJMc

A. Strangely, I have an exactly identical plate-way over in England! I was given it a couple of years ago as part of a small collection of railway items, most of which are reproductions, so I have some doubt about whether this plate is genuine. I would obviously be delighted if it was the real thing, what do US experts think? Posted Tuesday, June 6, 2017 by JJ

A. As noted in some of the other answers, the quality of these plates was not high to begin with, because it didn't need to be. And it looks like somebody had to make almost 3,000 of the plates for Series V V, to put one on each side of almost 1,500 pieces of rolling stock. It is quite likely that the plates of this one series were manufactured at different places, since the equipment was purchased from different suppliers. All of these factors make it very difficult to determine authenticity. A side note: as with most financing plans, there were also paper trust certificate notes labelled "CMStP&P Equipment Trust V V" issued to those who purchased them that can now be found in collections. And a major RR borrowing $14 Million was a major investment opportunity, so there is likely more info in places like the Wall Street Journal and the other major finance publications.  Posted Tuesday, June 6, 2017 by RJMc

A. Thanks for the fascinating replies, I certainly know a lot more now. I must try and find a trust certificate to go with it.  Posted Wednesday, June 7, 2017 by KB