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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:

  • No questions about what something is worth -- see About Values. Also, no questions or replies selling or looking for items, parts or services. This includes offers. We've been advised that questions about current internet auctions may pose a liability issue, so we have to be careful here also. Finally we reserve the right to remove responses that are discourteous or inappropriate.

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Latest 50 Questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Q3557 Dietz No 3 globes  I recently acquired 2 large lantern globes. I was looking for any additional information that anyone may be able to provide for these 2 pieces. I did find some information on the one that is marked. Dietz No 3 New York USA. This one seems to have a purple tint to it. The other one is the same style but is not marked and it is clear. Any Idea how to authenticate this as I did notice on your site that fakes exist out there? Any help would be greatly appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, December 11, 2018 by Chuck D   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The word "large" conveys no specific information. Can you provide specific measurement information about these globes? Thanks. These globes appear to be from platform or street lamps that were made by Dietz (and possibly others). Link 1 takes you to WT Kirkman's web site with specific information about Dietz platform and street lamps. Per the information from Link 1, Dietz made a #3 globe used in both railroad platform and street lamps, plus other size globes for that purpose. The purple glass color indicates the presence of manganese oxide in the glass and also that the glass has been exposed to the sun for some time; an indication of age. Link 2 leads to the Corning Museum of Glass web page discussing purple hued glass.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Wednesday, December 12, 2018 by JEM

A. Someone has painted this but itís a good example of a Dietz #3 globe in the tin frame used at the top of a post.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, December 20, 2018 by JS

 Q3556 ESRR Lantern  I recently acquired an old railroad lantern marked Dietz #6 on top and the letters ESRR on the rim. It also has a cast clear globe marked B&A. I cannot find any reference to what railroad this might be. Since Dietz #6 lanterns usually are associated with northeastern US lines, I thought it might be somewhere in that area. Thanks for your assistance.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, December 9, 2018 by BS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Are there any patent dates on the lantern? Joseph Gross's 'Trolley and Interurban Directory' shows ESRR for 'East Side RR' of Elmira, NY in 1896, merging with the West Side RR to have about 9 miles of track (see Link 1), ending up in the Elmira Water, Light, and Ry. Co. in 1900 with about 14 miles of track. The link makes it look as if the East Side RR in Elmira was not really an operating company, but only a shell for the West Side Co. The dates are not quite consistent with the 'Encyclopiedia of RR Lighting' which shows the No.6 lantern being introduced by Steam Gage and Lantern Co. ca. 1895 and not being a Dietz lantern model until they bought out SG&L in 1898, but its close. And it is certainly the territory where a Boston and Albany globe would have been available to replace whatever came with the lantern, which was the 'New York Central standard' and was sold until about 1920. There is also an East Side Street Railway in Brocton, MA, in 1896 but the initials don't quite match.  Link 1  Posted Monday, December 10, 2018 by RJMc

A. Empire State RR. This was a traction line in upper New York with a line from Syracuse to Oswego, and another disconnected line from Port Byron to Auburn. It folded for good in 1931 after control was acquired in 1922 by the Rochester & Syracuse Ry in 1922. Your lantern would fit in quite nicely in that time frame as it is a later #6 version. My information came from Hilton's "The Electric Interurban Railways in America", 1960. Posted Tuesday, December 11, 2018 by BobF

A. Yes, Empire State is a much better fit, and was an operating company likely to have lanterns for more mileage and more years. Gross' directory lists its initials as ES RRCO but that would have ended up as ESRR, as on your lantern. Posted Tuesday, December 11, 2018 by RJMc

A. More good information on the Empire State Railroad. See Link 1.  Link 1  Posted Friday, December 14, 2018 by JMS

 Q3555 Builder's Plate  I was wondering if anyone had any information this item I have? My father had recently given me this Builder's plate from his old timer farmer friend. He was using it as a base for tractor jack; that's why there are 4 extra holes in it. It's cast iron and measures 7 inches x 11 inches. Any information would be appreciated and thank you for your time.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, December 9, 2018 by Cory   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. To start the discussion: 'bolsters' are the load-bearing cross members which transmit the weight of a railroad car down onto the truck (wheel) assemblies. On the carbody side they are called 'body bolsters.' On the truck side they are 'truck bolsters' The first Link shows a typical North American freight truck with the parts named; the truck bolster is labelled 'bolster' and the center plate which actually engages the carbody is mounted on top of it. AC&F has been (and still is) a major supplier of railroad parts, up to and including complete freight and passenger cars, since 1899 (see Link 2). So the patent referred to on the plate was probably granted to one of the predecessor companies of AC&F as listed in Link 2, which go back as far as 1872.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Thursday, December 13, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3554 St. Louis Southwestern Late Buckle  No maker mark was added to the reserve (blank rectangle). Sundance Portland might have carried railfan stock similar to such items, but I do have a bagged Campbell 66 truckers buckle with this kind of urethane (?) fill material which might date back to '70's-'80's period (assuming it's not another forced fan-collectible). The enameled central badge may have been used on other items. Safety award? Corporate catalogue? Authentic? Anyone seen another one surface?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, December 8, 2018 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3553 Fake PRR Keys  Does anyone know the story behind these keys? They are obviously fakes, and appear to be crudely made and stamped. Were they some sort of mass produced novelty with this particular division and number?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2018 by Joseph C.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Looks like these are recent castings, including the bits. The holes look so narrow I doubt they'd fit an actual lock. Posted Friday, December 7, 2018 by da

A. Turns out I picked up one of these the other day -- essentially identical to the ones you show (where did so many turn up at once?) DA is correct; the center hole is bored too narrow and off-center to work the relatively modern locks which use the same pattern which continued in use up thru Penn Central and Conrail and continue in use today in some places. This pattern has been in use for a very long time, beginning on PRR probably in the early 20th Century or even earlier; keys from that era are somewhat smaller. The earlier locks had to have a smaller pin.  Posted Friday, December 7, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3552 Double Stamped RR Key?  I'm new to collecting and purchased a few RR keys to get started. Can you tell me about this key in general and why is it double stamped? Thank you!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, December 4, 2018 by Jeff B   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. SP Co. is for the Southern Pacific railroad. CS 45 refers to the lock series the key opens. See prior Q 2840 on this site, which explains "CS" stood for 'Common Standard' when many of the RR's in the West were all under one ownership, which decided to standardize all the various locks and keys bought by all of them to get quantity price reductions in buying all that stuff. The Link may get you directly to that question, otherwise put the Q number in the box at the left. Link 1  Posted Tuesday, December 4, 2018 by RJMc

A. Thank you for this helpful information. What can you tell me about the double stamp? Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2018 by JB

A. Looks like it may have been stamped same marking previously but ever so lightly that it was done over. Earlier stamping is so light it is hard to say. Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2018 by DC

 Q3551 Urbana Tin Table or Wall Lamp  I have a couple of Urbana flat bottomed tin with screw in P&A burner lamp. One has a greenish color. Does anyone know what that color is? I would like to restore these. Does anyone know if they were cab wall mount lamps? if so what kind of bracket and globe? Thanks.  Posted Monday, December 3, 2018 by David   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. A photo(s) would be a huge help. P&A (See the link) was Plume & Atwood - this company wasn't a major railroad supplier. Sorry I can't find more info about "Urbana" mark, apparently a stove works in Ohio (?). With no railroad markings on them, almost certainly these lamps are not railroad relics.  Link 1  Posted Monday, December 3, 2018 by jms

A. "Urbana" was a trademark of the Johnson Co., very prolific tinware manufacturer located in Urbana, OH. (See Link) They made tens of thousands of tinware items over decades, many for RR's as well as a wide variety of other industries. A picture is essential to even begin to sort out what kind of item you may have. The exact color of green (which was a common color for caboose interiors, among other places) may depend on what railroad used the lamps, if they are indeed of railroad origin.  Link 1  Posted Monday, December 3, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3550 Dietz Vesta Reproduction?  I have a lantern stamped DIETZ VESTA NEW YORK U.S.A. on the top. The glass is clear with the raised letters U.S.A. On the opposite side at the top of the glass is a very faint small round circle. I cannot make out what it says because the lettering is small and faint. The frame I think is aluminum. Also there are letters and numbers stamped: Patented NOV 8'27,APR-3 '28, DEC 25'28, MAY 4-20, S-10-42. Does this mean it's a reproduction? Thank you  Posted Saturday, December 1, 2018 by FB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The first three are patent dates, but the S-10-42 means it was manufactured at Dietz's Syracuse NY plant in October of 1942. Hope this helps. Sounds OK to me. Posted Saturday, December 1, 2018 by BobF

A. The USA on your globe probably stands for US Army. See prior Q 2690 about U.S. Army lanterns. The Vesta was a Government-wide standard lantern for decades, and probably hundreds of thousands would have been produced in 1942 in the middle of World War II. Vestas were used not only for RR service but for a general lantern in tents, etc.,in the US as well as shipped to many overseas countries with US forces and exported as military aid to their governments. Check the lantern frame with a magnet; most were plated steel which might appear to be aluminum. The Link is to an article elsewhere on this RRiana site, all about Dietz Vestas. Link 1  Posted Saturday, December 1, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3549 Utica & Black RIver Baggage Tag  Thanks in advance for your help. Iím looking for input as to the authenticity of this U&BRRR baggage tag. It was found in or near Syracuse NY on a key ring with the other tag pictured. These were part of an estate. Any input on the tag, positive or negative, would be greatly appreciated. I can take bad news. :-)   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, November 29, 2018 by JW   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Note that the back of the U&BRRR tag has a disclaimer that limits the railroad's responsibility to $100 in case of loss. Posted Thursday, November 29, 2018 by JW

 Q3548 RR Item?  Is this from a railroad?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, November 29, 2018 by RW   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Looking closely at the pic. there seem to be directional arrows, pointing to the right behind the top yellow lens and pointing down behind the bottom lens which looks blue -- but might display more greenish. How do those arrows display if you put a light bulb behind the lenses? To the front, thru the lenses, or to the rear of the unit? Some transit lines, such as the 'heavy rail' lines in Washington, Boston, Chicago, BART etc or the 'light rail' streetcar lines in Boston might use a signal like this to indicate routing but most main line RR's do not use arrows.  Posted Friday, November 30, 2018 by RJMc

A. Possibly a coincidence, but there is a General Railway Signal dwarf signal for sale on an auction site (try the Link); it appears to have the same color pattern of yellow on top, red in the middle, and blue below as your light, at least for the right-side three lights of the six in the signal. Offhand, I have never seen that pattern anywhere else, but the blue light indicates it might have been a special arrangement for a shop or yard area.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, December 4, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3547 Armspear Lantern   I recently got an Armspear steel guard lantern from my grandmother and had a couple of hopefully simple questions: First it's missing the globe; does it take the 5 3/8 tall lantern globe? I am hoping it's this one and not a super rare globe. Secondly, it has some larger holes in the fount, I haven't seen any listed online. I was thinking about soldering repair plates over them, but I'm worried about the fibrous material inside the fount. Is it cotton or something else safe or asbestos fibers? Thank you for any help,  Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2018 by Mike    Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Since the RR's standardized almost everything, it may not be the exact globe you mention, but it won't be super-rare. The material inside the founts was usually cotton waste material or batting, definitely flammable. Although hotly debated (including on this site) removing the wadding creates no problem unless you planned to swing the lantern a lot (as in signalling to a distant locomotive). In that case the sloshing of the liquid fuel was a problem that the wadding helped to eliminate. But otherwisee the lantern will operate just fine without it.  Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2018 by RJMc

A. If you don't intend to use it just display it, why bother closing the holes. Is it railroad marked with a name, if not it is just a railroad type lantern used by many others. A picture would have helped. Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2018 by DC

A. Thank you both for the replies, as for the fiber, I imagine the subject of keeping it original or not is debated quite a bit. Honestly, I will probably put it back in after repairing it. I am glad to hear it sounds like the globe is the "standard" size, I figured it was but wanted some confirmation. As for the repairs, I never said I didn't intend to use it, in fact that is the reason i'm asking about a new globe and fixing the holes. I would love to be able to light it up on occasion and think about my grandparents, they use to loan this lantern out to schools and scouts for displays and the like but never had it operational, I'm sure they would have loved to see it lit again. Also it is marked for the C&O railroad, and sorry for no images, I didn't really think about taking the time to add them. Thanks again Mike Posted Friday, November 30, 2018 by mike

 Q3546 DM&I Ry Marking  I have an Adlake Non-sweating Marker Lantern with D.M. & I RY. tag on it. Who is this? Duluth Missabe does not show this combination. Thanks  Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by CN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Duluth Missabe and Ironton Ry Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by DC

A. The above answer is incorrect; there never was a Duluth Missabe and Ironton Railway.  Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by JEM

A. Please provide a picture of this Adlake marker lamp tag; it would help in trying to determine what exactly is going on here. Thanks.  Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by JEM

A. Send a photo to this email address and we'll post it. Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by Web Editor

A. Here's a photo of the marking. Link 1  Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by CN

A. Thanks for the photo. The tag looks real, so no problem there. I have a similar Adlake marker lamp with a tag reading D.M.&I.R.Ry.(also has a "LEFT" tag on the other side). My guess is that the tag you have is a production "mistake", perhaps done when the tag producer misread the name of the railroad and left out an "R". Or the tag department got a production list with this error on it. Anyway, you have a great Duluth Missabe & Iron Range Railway marker lamp!  Posted Monday, November 26, 2018 by JEM

A. In the pic, it looks to me that the tag would not have fit on the lamp if that final 'R', period, and extra space were in there, making the tag considerably longer, unless they went to a smaller lettering font. So the 'R' for Railway did double duty, so to speak, and anybody from the DM&IR looking to recover their lamp would not have had a problem proving ownership.  Posted Monday, November 26, 2018 by RJMc

A. RJMc: The D.M.&I.R.Ry. tag on my lamp looks like it is the same length as the pictured tag and has the same size font, but the "D" on mine is more to the left; the left tag margin is closer to the "D". Also mine does not have a large capital "Y", it has the half size capital "Railway Y" so often seen on lanterns, and so takes up less room.  Posted Monday, November 26, 2018 by JEM

 Q3545 RR Use?  I'm wondering if this large item is related to railroading? I'm not familiar with lanterns with one side red glass and the other side green glass.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by No Name   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Almost certainly a marine navigation marker light -- used in harbors, rivers, canals, etc, but also used on railroad bridges over navigable waterways.  Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3544 Utah Ry Key  I recently acquired this key and am having second thoughts about authenticity. While barrel and bit shows wear, lettering is sharp and clear. There are no markings on reverse. Any help would be appreciated   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, November 18, 2018 by TML   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. "Authenticity" is a very difficult to define concept in RR keys. As to this particular key, I note that this type of blank was commonly sold in lock shops, often with or without having been cut or marked. The joint where the ring joins the barrel is notoriously weak on this type of blank, causing the ring to break away if stressed (such as when used on a rusty, frozen switch lock!) Also, as you note, altho the barrel and bit 'show wear' that effect can be created very quickly with agressive wire brushing. The inner chamfer of the hole in the ring shows no wear from having been on a key ring. Although all of these points raise questions, none of them are definitive as to whether some RR, or railroader, might still have used the key.  Posted Sunday, November 18, 2018 by RJMc

A. In regard to your Utah key, a quick google search reveals the company was organized in 1912. Your key post [pre] dates the company by many years, being tapered. I imagine someone had a blank tapered key and decided to mark it UTAH RY and pass it off to some unsuspecting customer. Here's a photo [link] of a known authentic UTAH RY key, front and back to compare. Hope this helps. If a guy can do any research before buying any somewhat rare/pricey item it sure would help. Possibly you can return the key for a refund?  Link 1  Posted Thursday, November 22, 2018 by Jim G

A. The tapered blanks/keys were being sold in lock shops many decades after 1912 (I bought some as late as the 1970's; I haven;t looked lately. And most RR's used more than one bit pattern; one for switches, one for shop 'rip' tracks, one for signal, etc., so the different bit pattern isn't conclusive, either. So the answer remains the same: all that makes RR use much less likely, but can never completely rule it out, either.  Posted Friday, November 23, 2018 by RJMc

A. Thank you for the info. I guess I'll chalk this one up to a learning experience. Posted Saturday, November 24, 2018 by TML

A. An additional note for info: looking closely at the pic, the key surface has a somewhat 'satiny' look to it. That is a result of using a power wire brush on the brass or bronze, which leaves a very fine pattern of scratches, and is an indicator (as already mentioned) that what looks like 'wear' on the corners isn't really wear from use but material removed by the wirebrushing. Polishing (NOT being recommended for older items with patina) with any kind of liquid or paste, such as Brasso, doesn't leave this kind of finish.  Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by RJMc

A. Just as a reference, page 37 Union Pacific Magazine January 1931 gives full accounting of Utah Central Railway and component mergers into OSL (1889) under photo of U.C.Ry. engine at Salt Lake. (Of course, not suggesting they shortened the lettering nor commenting on authenticity of this key...just a look beyond the 1912 company.) Link 1  Posted Wednesday, December 26, 2018 by ShastaRoute

 Q3543 Possible Logo for c. 1890's Iron Mountain Route?  I've covered everyone of their lettering styles I could find on-line. This has no exact match but seems to fit the road, which relied heavily on their nickname for advertising. An extra-wide 'R' is occasionally used symbolically to replace the word Route. Notice it is shifted upwards from the center point where 'I' and 'M' cross, as though to set it out. Anyone want to give it a shot at proving my guess?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, November 16, 2018 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The RR Flatware guide doesn't show any marked pieces for the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway. While this line was known by the nickname "Iron Mountain Route" I don't think they would have used anything with just "I M R" monogram. It probably would have been spelled out so folks knew what the marking actually was. The odds are probably 5% in favor of a RR marking, but 95% in favor of it just being a person's initials, or maybe some kind of institution (Rectory, etc) Posted Saturday, November 17, 2018 by DA

A. This is Royal pattern a twin sister to Cecil used by both SP and Chicago & Alton (two roads connected to Iron Mountain by a short lived service). The monogram is stamped (commercial ware) not engraved by a jeweler for personal (household) useage. Those other lines also used initials on their flatware, not always spelled out names. Royal was also used by Palace Hotel, at the extreme end of the run of this Pacific line. It might all seem coincidental, but neither pattern seems to be heavily used in commercial ware applications. "Iron Mountain Route" was the name under which china was ordered and marked, not the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern name nor initials. Their nickname was essentially their official identity. The three letters are often exploded in size (compared to the other letters) in their paper items, so it would not be odd to use IMR for a monogram. They had china and thus had to have silverware, so where is it? Have we simply been searching for the wrong thing in the past? And then again, it could be something like the law firm of Dewey, Cheatem, & Howe! Posted Saturday, November 17, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. BTW..MoPac was essentially weilding power here. During this era, the growth of holding companies and consolidation of minor roads often led to terms like Route, Lines, or System being used to subjugate the actual legal identities of component lines. The ultimate goal was make everything a branch of a single tree through a gradual process of sublimation that could avoid the wrath of the anti-monopoly forces. Replacing formal names with imagery of routes etc. was good psychological marketing. Thus, Santa Fe Route, Ogden Route, Shasta Route, Sunset Route, Aransas Pass Route, New York Central Lines, Pennsylvania Lines, Northwestern Lines, on and on. In short, plenty of reason to keep the Route in Iron Mountain while dumping the alphabet soup (preferably not on the passengers). Posted Saturday, November 17, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. "Santa Fe Route, Ogden Route, Shasta Route, Sunset Route, Aransas Pass Route"....but none of these roads used anything marked SFR, OR, SR, APR....etc etc...................I've never heard of one "Route" line using the "R" as an initial for marking their property. Posted Saturday, November 17, 2018 by DA

A. Correction - There is one line that uses the initials - Salt Lake Route has buttons marked S L R. But not a monogram. Posted Saturday, November 17, 2018 by DA

A. Full words like System and Route that we see on china, glassware or hollowares might be too big for the blank reserve on flatware.Try that modernized "BR" for Burlington Route as put on flatware. You are correct...not a single monogram form, but they were only working with two letters and had the space for side-by-side. Just looking at the 1893 map (OG pg. 585) one might see the long full name and try to find a way to save the big I & M while dispensing with the rest. Since they already long called themselves Route, the solution would have been simple...IMR. The monogram form would just be more appealing to the eye and appropriate in that era. The problem is that when we get used to expecting things to follow a format that has been identified, we tend to overlook the fact that railroads (and other transportation companies) were also very internally creative prior to Madison Avenue. And even though there were many partnership arrangements, numerous roads were still somewhat independent in making decisions before things became highly centralized going forth into the 20th century. Expect the unexpected applies greatly the further you look back. Posted Sunday, November 18, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. And just to harp on the odd "R" a bit more, try to view it not as a letter but rather as a pictogram. Set out in the background, it appears like map lines with a circuitous loop and branches, sort of like a route. (Might also think about Santa Fe's much later idea for boxcar decoration.) Would the IMR people see things this way. Of course. They had already used an oval panel in printed literature showing a mountain in the background to convey the idea of Iron Mountain. Little doubt they were very image oriented in their perception even back then. The Romans were pulling these tricks long before us. Posted Sunday, November 18, 2018 by Al Donnelly

A. Might also consider this from china...the Stagecoach design on Shenango supplied by Marshall Field & Co. for the Dan Healy diner #5143 that was identified from photos in a ticket agent publication concerning the new dining car for the Pioneer Limited c.1926-7-8. On the stage is an element that may look like decorative scrolls, but is in fact a fancy "MR" monogram for Milwaukee Road, not seen anywhere else. [I'm certain as there is a clean sample platter in front of me.] So "R" was once used for "Road" and in monogram form. The collector who made the ID was well known to the people writing the china books. Posted Sunday, November 18, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. While considering the possibility of special-order dining wear, I also began to look at the Pacific Coast Limited of November 1898...rescheduled in December and then pulled at some point. One news source indicated an agent had recieved a special booklet on this train with depictions of the does not surface so far. However, a ticket agent periodical has come up (Link 1) now with interiors of two cars (maybe taken from that lost booklet). The five train sets were built by Pullman for this train disposition of the equipment has not been determined. Beebe referenced the service in his volume on the Central & Southern Pacific showing the west-going-east ad. (a reversal of the Chicago-out ad.) However, San Francisco was not the end of the run, but Los Angeles was. The Chicago-SF annex sleeper was carried on the west coast line by another train and thence The Owl with the schedule changes. Reports have this as an Alton train, but again St. Louis (via Iron Mountain) may be the true terminus on the eastern side with the annex sleeper carried through. How the dining service was handled on each section of the main run is a big question mark. Perhaps Pullman itself on a through run, or by each road with its' own equipment? Link 1  Posted Thursday, December 27, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. The PCL was cut back to once-week by April 1899 (Link 1). Link 1  Posted Thursday, December 27, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. One thing I was able to find was that a special initial run for dignitaries (out and back) provided dining service overseen by the headman of Chicago & Alton's DC department...would seem to rule out Pullman itself handling a run through dining service to the coast. Posted Tuesday, January 1, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3542 Jacket Badge American Expeditionary Forces  What I know so far is that an American railroad executive was sent over in WWI to straighten out the transport mess. Though successful, many complaints came in that the railroad people he brought over were in less-than-military (civilian) attire. Could this be the type of badge issued during the period before they had to go more GI looking?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, November 16, 2018 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3541 Wagons-Lit Oval Dish  Mostorod is a region. Not clear who maker is. Wagons-Lit took over Cook's Nile Boat operations in the late '20's. Are we looking at ship china, or did this come as supplies for their railroad operations? (Richards-Ginori of Italy was one of the late era makers.)   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, November 16, 2018 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3540 Golden Spike Special Train Glass Trays  The one-shot special train used existing cars and was behind steam only over parts of the entire routing. Could these smoked glass commemoratives have been used as ashtrays on the train, or were they give-aways?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, November 16, 2018 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3539 SP Red Shovel  Made by SturdE Steel. Will try to get those model & patent numbers later. 'SP Co.' embedded in wood handle. Additionally, 'SP LINES' stamped in metal neck. White worn lettering seems to read for 'SHOP' or 'SHOPS' at second word, but not definite. First word could be 'EUGENE', but something like 'COMPANY' or 'MACHINE' might center this better. Surfaced in Eugene Oregon very close to neighborhood north of main yards (old & new). Any take on possible use or equipment, particular shop, car equipment? Red paint from head to toe is a bit unusual.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, November 16, 2018 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I have recently been told red shovels were used on Southern Pacific fire trucks. Checking a copy of the Mechanical Department yearbook & shop history, "A Moment In Time" 1986 Southern Pacific/Jostens, there is at least one old photograph of company fire trucks based at a system shop...Sacramento 1956. The West Oakland fire brigade is also pictured around 1920 with fire axes in hand. Posted Friday, December 7, 2018 by ShastaRoute

 Q3538 Monon Service Pins  Does anyone have any information concerning 25 year service medals for the Monon railroad? You can see on the top where a ribbon was attached but seems to have broken off. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2018 by Joe   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Did not find his name on the known employees list (c.1901-on) at You might contact them at the site. Did see mention of a 25 year "loyalty" pin, but this looks like 25 in engine (?) service, starting some 14 years after his original hire date...a long climb up the ladder to his final position. Locomotive engineer or fireman seems logical, but doesn't seem like you can rule out shop or roundhouse positions yet. Posted Friday, November 16, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. Did find on their list one Charles Ennis, a crossing watchman, who had recieved a 25 year medal. Looks like he hired first in 1873. Medal may have been issued in 1913, same era as yours. If his total time was 40 years or more, than the medal must be specific to time in his long served position. Would seem to be consistent with yours, but we don't know what that medallion looked like to see if each occupation had a specific design. Posted Friday, November 16, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. In 1901, ICRR issued to one Harry W. Booth, a Service Souvenir medallion for 4 years employment. Of course this is different, but it does show such items were known beyond Monon (for which we have no other samples yet). The two big questions there any kind of maker/supplier mark and why are the end date numbers struck out of place?...not necessarily a problem, but a bit of a hanging chad for authentication. A quick check of Baker (4th ed.) did not reveal any like piece back then. Posted Saturday, November 17, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. For 1888, Louisville Southern was leased to what became the future Monon. The lease was ruled wrongful in 1890, but if McDonald came that route and stayed with Monon, then this could just be a straightforward 25 years Monon service as read on the medal. His initial hire date might then be from another road which led him on to Louisville Southern service, whence he would have switched over with the lease. Posted Saturday, November 17, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. Stopped at Monon Connection Museum today. Showed them the item. Was told before pins Monon gave out medals for service awards. The Museum official said he has seen one other like this but it also had no ribbon but showed same marks where one was attached. He said railroad nickname was Monon long before the name was changed to Monon. John could be what he went by and had a different first name. Just a thought. Agree with comment that time was with different railroad(s) leading up to Monon name. No maker or supplier mark found. I will try and contact the Monon Historical Society for more information. Thanks Posted Saturday, November 17, 2018 by Joe

A. Looked through Monon Historical Soicety webpage and found a listing for a John McDonald, Engineer at Lafayette 1887? To 1/1/37 50 year service. Could very well be the owner of this medal. Have a screen shot but could not see how to post it. Posted a link and hope it worked. Link 1  Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2018 by Joe

A. Could it also be the same guy listed right above born 1857, becomes engineer 1880 (23 years old), enters Monon service 1887 (30 years old), ends service 1937( 80 years), dies 1942 (85 years)...could that have been possible? Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. 1899--Engineer Lew McDonald of Lafayette has four sons, all engineers:[link too long] Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. Engineer William Carl was one of the sons of Lewis W.. Born in 1860, died about this seems to fit time span for a brother of your John : Also found in Tippecanoe County obit. records another McDonald listed as "train accident" in 1867...this could all be an extended railroad family. Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. This is definitely the guy. John, as dates above, was noted to have been laying off from Trains 5 & 6 at one point. William Carl actually died 1924, while Sylvanus was another. Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2018 by ShastaRoute

 Q3537 D&RG RR Globe  I have found a 5 3/8 clear globe marked at the top M E G Co. 2, and cast in to a square panel is D&RGW RR. On the back is etched in all caps safety first. Iíve seen plenty of lanterns marked for D&RG RR but the DRGW seems to be a little harder to find.. Any idea what type or brand of lantern frame the RR was using when this type of globe was in use?  Posted Friday, November 2, 2018 by Rob   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3536 German Lantern Globe Use?  I have a question regarding a German Globe that I purchased. Would you be able to help me identify if this was possibly used on the railway in Germany? The globe has the mark of Albert Riegermann who is more known for his burners/dead flame lamps. This particular globe is for a Hot Blast Lantern. It has the red lens and then 3 other large bulbous areas of blown glass around the globe. This is very old, maybe from the early 1900ís. The lantern it is sitting in is NOT the correct lantern for this globe. I appreciate any thoughts you might have. Kind regards,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, November 1, 2018 by ML   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3535 Casey Lanterns  I've been studying the Keystone Lantern, and their Keystone Casey lanterns. Barrett's book mentions that they made RR lanterns for 50 different railroads, however I seem to only see PRR and B&O. Any readers out there have other RRs buying the Casey's?? Thanks.  Posted Saturday, October 27, 2018 by Jeff   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hi - I had two very nice Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad Keystone Casey lanterns, but I sold them last year.  Posted Saturday, October 27, 2018 by JEM

A. On this very web site you can peruse a list of railroads that used Keystone Casey lanterns. See Link 1. "Following are known railroads that used marked "Casey" railroad lanterns manufactured by the Keystone Lantern Company. Our thanks to everyone who has sent in new markings! Please see copyright information and other comments in the footnotes." Link 1  Posted Saturday, October 27, 2018 by JEM

 Q3534 Dressel Short Lantern Date?  I think I have one of the Dressel 'Heavy Duty' short lanterns. Noticed that your description seemed rather certain that it would have a patent number on the bottom of 2157081. Mine says 'PATAPLDFOR'. Does anyone know the manufacturing date of this lantern?  Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by Charles   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Nice find !! The patent number you mention dates from the mid-1930s. Actually Google searches now work pretty well - go to the google search field and type in US Patent 123456 (or whatever the number is) and hopefully results will be easy. So you know your lantern has to have been made AFTER this date. How long this model was made, may be stated in one of the lantern collector guides such as Barrett's Encyclopedia. Hopefully another poster will add some more specific information.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by JMS

A. OK I did some further digging. If the PATAPLDFOR applies to the number 2157081, the patent website says (if I am reading correctly) that US2157081A was granted on 1939-05-02. It typically takes a long time (years?) from when a patent is applied for and is granted. So this would seem like your lantern was made before the "Granted" date. NOW, did Dressel change its dies upon the patent being granted?  Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by JMS

A. Another thing I should have done - on the Link I provided, it says HAND LANTERN Filed March 24, 1936 2 Sheets-Sheetl INVENTOR 3 M Wa/ ATTORNEY y 1939- A. MENNA 2,157,081 meaning the patent was filed in 1936. Interestingly, this patent apparently was not for a brand new type of lantern, it was for a new design that would make improvements on an existing one: "This invention relates to improvements in hand lanterns and the like. More particularly the invention relates to globe holders of the type adapted to engage the upper end of the globe of the lantern to hold the globe in position. " So it looks like you may be able to date your lantern between 1936 and 1939, at least that is the simple conclusion.  Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by JMS

A. I am getting confused here. Charles says his lantern DOES NOT have patent number 2157081. It is only other people who have brought that number into the discussion. Folks I know who retired from the US Patent Office assure me that Patent Numbers exist ONLY AFTER the patent is gtanted. There is a Patent Application (or 'Applied For') number, but the application number and the final patent number are NOT the same, and the 'applied for' number might never be stamped into hardware. Most lantern manufacturers had all kinds of patent doings going on all the time to try to gain an advantage against very tough competition. So the term 'PatApldFor' on this lantern could refer to any of many patents Dressel was pursuing when it was made, and may have no relation at all to the 215 number mentioned. And since patent protection is normally good for only 17 years, the lack of the number on a lantern employing the patented improvement may mean it was made AFTER the patent expired, not before.  Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by RJMc

A. My apologies, RJMc, I re-read Charles' question and indeed misinterpreted it. I just did a search and didn't understand that it appears he may be referring to earlier questions (Q1797, Q980 and maybe others). You are absolutely correct about the 'Applied For' numbering being different than the numbers that are finally granted. I did look up 2157081, and the link I found does give the history including the application date, but isn't clear about the applied for number. Indeed, as you point out, probably more often than not some of the patent information/numbers stamped on lanterns and other relics may refer to a part or piece, not the entire relic. However, Link 1 shows the number 2157081 apparently does apply to an entire lantern. So the question becomes WHICH final patent number the PATAPLDFOR on Charles' lantern applies to - and here is where I erroneously surmised -- it COULD be 2157081, which should date the lantern before the date the patent was granted, BUT as you correctly point out, PATAPLDFOR could refer to some other piece or part for which a patent had been applied (such as a burner or fount or frame design, etc.) and THAT part was awaiting a final granted number. You're absolutely correct about the process involved, thank you for clearing up my less than adequate comments.  Posted Saturday, October 27, 2018 by JMS

 Q3533 PRR Adlake Kero Info?  I recently picked a vintage PRR marked lantern which I cannot positively identify. It is marked as follows: Dome: PRR (within keystone logo); Globe: 'C' with nx letters inside and PRR etched to glass; Burner: Dressel Arlington NJ; Bottom: Adlake-Kero 444 U.S.A. 1415633, 1415634, 1415635, 1660194 CANADA 1921 - 1923 Pats Pending. I believe it may be rare, but it seems to have variations of the models identified in your site. Any assistance in positively identifying it would be greatly appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by JC   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Other responses? I don't think this is a terribly scarce lantern. PRR/keystone is Pennsylvania Railroad. I dont have a picture of the bottom but I would guess 444 is the date code, made during the fourth quarter of 1944. The Cnx is the maker mark, for Corning Glass.  Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by JMS

A. Here is a link to some PRR Kero lanterns that have sold recently on eBay.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by JMS

 Q3532 Lantern Info Needed  I found this old lantern in my parents' basement while going through the estate. I canít find any indication of a maker or RR but I also canít figure out how to open it to see if that might be on the inside somewhere. I tried pressing the obvious clip to open the lid but that did not work so maybe it is just rusted or welded shut... Anyway, I'm wondering if you have any idea who may have made it and the approximate age? In my searches, I have not yet seen a bell bottom lantern with a cage like this. At least, I think this may be a bell bottom style. Correct me if I am wrong. Thanks for any input you may have and be willing to share!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2018 by JD   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. If the clip that releases the bell bottom is brass try cleaning it, you may find manufacturer name or patent date. Depressing thumb latch should enable you to swing the top open. Doubt you will find any information inside other than a name on brass wick holder burner. Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by DC

A. Hello JD,I believe that this is a very early Adams and Westlake model lantern and many of these had their name and patent data on the very bottom center of the bellbottom.Take a look and gently clean this center area and my guess is that you will find your answer.There is always the possibility that the bell bottom assembly was switched from another mfr's lantern and this may not hold true in your case.Good luck.DJB Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by DJB

A. Thanks so much for the info! After some cleaning and looking at the bottom center under a magnifying light we were able to make out the Adams and Westlake. The dates are very hard to read but there appear to be a few. I think the most recent may be something like August 25 or 26,1876? The one before that was 1873 I believe. JD Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by JD

A.  All US patents are issued on Tuesdays. August 25,1876 was a Friday, the 26th was a Saturday so a patent search on for those dates may not yield anything. Also I checked the Lantern Patent listing in "The Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Railroad Lighting,Volume One-The Railroad Lantern" and it does not show any lantern patents issued in 1876 and that seems odd.  Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by KM

A. Thanks KM I emailed another post with a photo of the bottom this morning in hopes that more info could be gleaned from that. Not sure when that will be posted but maybe today. Now I am wondering if it could be 1873 or 1875. The previous date is very clear. May 20, 73 JD Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by JD

A. Wondering if anyone can help me nail down or make an educated guess on the final Patent Date and also the other wording THE ADAMS AND WESTLAKE (LANTERN?) and also opposite that looks to me like UNDER Ö.. NING? or WING? PAT? The last date I can read clearly is May 20, 73. The one below center looks like it might be Aug 28, 73 or 75? Any other input after viewing the bottom would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!  Link 1  Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by JD

A.  Try US Patent 139030 granted to Thomas Smith of Cleveland on 5/20/1873. The drawing in the patent shows bail ears which are formed from the vertical guards. It looks like your lantern may have those. Try #142134 granted to William Westlake on 8/26/1873 for an adjustable globe holder.  Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by KM

A. See Q1966 in the Archives. That lantern has the adjustable globe holder that I mentioned above. Does your lantern have that pin arrangement in the top that allows globes of different heights to be used? Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by KM

A. by the way 5/20/1873 and 8/26/1873 are both Tuesdays. Totally off topic. Also on 5/20/1873 Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis were granted patent number 134121 for an improvement in men's pants that soon was known as blue jeans.  Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by KM

A. Thanks KM Yes it has the bail ears formed from the vertical guards. But no, it does not have the adjustable globe holder feature - which is too bad. So does that mean the top is not original to this lantern? Or could there be another explanation? I finally figured out the other wording - UNDER FOLLOWING PAT (duh) - or maybe there is more after PAT? Interesting about Levi Strauss. JD  Posted Friday, October 26, 2018 by JD

A.  The adjustable globe holder may have been an option which was not installed on every lantern and maybe they did not remove the patent information from the bottom. Or it is the wrong patent, but there is too much circumstantial evidence to reach that conclusion. Check out that 1907 Adlake catalogue that is available elsewhere on this site and see if the globe holder is still available as an option. I don't think that someone changed the top. That said keep in mind that larger railroads did have lantern repair shops that did maintenance like that. Posted Friday, October 26, 2018 by KM

A. Thanks KM Really appreciate all the info. FYI Did not see a mention of the adjustable globe holder in the 1907 catalog. Posted Friday, October 26, 2018 by JD

 Q3531 Adlake & Kero #300 burner problem  I just got this lantern last week, and I cannot get the burner to securely twist into the fount. I have thought several times that I did it correctly until I insert it into the lantern - when I turn the knob to adjust the wick the burner pops out. The slightest touch loosens it. I am afraid to light it for fear of setting the lamp oil in the pot on fire and not knowing how to put it out! The cotton is still in the oil pot, by the way, if that makes any difference. Getting a new wick wouldn't hurt, but the current wick turns up and down freely so I don't think that's a factor. I see the two small openings in the oil pot, and the indentations on the burner, but do not know exactly how they are supposed to line up. Or is it possible that the oil pot opening is slightly bent or warped? What's the 'trick' to getting this on correctly! [Follow-up]: I took the cotton out of the oil pot and found an O-ring with two knob like protrusions loose in there. So that solves the original mystery why I couldn't get the burner secure. The next question is can I somehow get that back in place, or so I simply need to find another #300 oil pot?  Posted Saturday, October 20, 2018 by JW   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I've never seen an O ring used to secure a burner to a any fount. I think someone had the same problem you have an jerry rigged an O ring in there so the burner would fit. Garden hose washers have protrusions on them. Wonder if someone used a cut down one and left 2 protrusions on it. I'd go to that well known auction site and just buy a new fount. Posted Sunday, October 21, 2018 by LC

A. Some burners were threaded into the fount with (in railroad terms) a very fine thread. For these it was definitely necessary not to 'twist' the burner in, but to start it carefully and screw it in involving at least several turns of thread engagement. Other lantern models (including some Adlakes) had a definite 'twist-lock' arrangement which they called 'bayonet catch' --see Link 1 to the archives here on the Q&A site -- which only required maybe 90 degrees of twist to seat securely, more or less like a cork. Without a pic, and without detailed checking of part no's. etc, it sounds to me that either you have a threaded=style fount on which the threads are worn out, or you have the wrong burner for that fount and somebody 'cobbled it together' as described above.  Link 1  Posted Sunday, October 21, 2018 by RJMc

A. I think the guys have ID'd your problem. The threads likely are stripped - manhandled by a previous owner, so they are useless and no way to repair. These burners/founts are fairly easy to come by - watch eBay - if you want to use this lantern you really should spring for a correct one that will be safe to use. Good luck !  Posted Sunday, October 21, 2018 by JMS

A. Thanks for the replies. Clearly there are no threads on either the oil pot or burner, and both are labeled #300. I am looking for a replacements, but would like to restore the original if possible. I think LC was right. Since the part is inside and I cannot get it out - I wonder if any type of glue would be safe to use. Guess nobody so far knows how it was manufactured, perhaps welded - but that is no longer an option. I have been trying to post pictures. I'll try again.  Posted Monday, October 22, 2018 by JW

A. JW, We don't allow posting images directly for security reasons and also because each image may have to be resized due to disk storage constraints. Send an image(s) directly to this email address [Email a Question link]. Please indicate the question number. Posted Monday, October 22, 2018 by web editor

A. Here are some photos. Link 1  Posted Monday, October 22, 2018 by JW

A. On digging out a couple of Adlake 300's I think I now understand your problem. The only thing that originally holds the 'bayonet catch' burner into the fount is two TRULY minuscule tabs that seem to have been made as part of the original stamping of the top plate of the fount; they protrude into the ID of the burner-mount hole (pic to follow later.) Those tabs are thinner and narrower than typical paper clip wire (!!!). Those two tabs engage 'L-shaped' slots in the burner base. Once those two tabs wear away, or corrode away, there is nothing holding the burner onto the fount, which I think is your situation. In fact, the fit of the original arrangement is not particularly tight and probably leaked some kerosene into the globe. Neither of the 300's I looked at have gaskets. I suspect somebody added the garden hose washer to yours to try to get a better seal when the tabs were still there; the upward stress caused by compressing the additional thickness of the gasket probably wore away or broke off your tabs. As to fixing the original, you could fabricate a flat ring, with tabs, and solder it on top of the existing top plate (after completely clearing the can of cotton and kerosene, if any). If you won't be using the lantern much, that new flat ring could be of flat copper or brass, or even a modified steel washer. Acquirng a replacement fount -- after checking to make sure its tabs are there and in good shape -- would be a much quicker solution and let you continue to use the existing burner, unless the 'L' slots in it are worn out in some way.  Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2018 by RJMc

A. Here's a photo to illustrate the response above. Link 1  Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by RJMc

A. What looks like a yellow horizontal smudge on the burner base in the pic, above the locking tab is the bottom of the groove the tab is supposed to engage to twist-lock the burner onto the fount.  Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by RJMc

A. Here's a better photo to illustrate my response above. Link 1  Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3530 Light ID?  Can anyone identify this light and its purpose? It was donated to our RR museum with no information about it. The dimensions are about 7 inches diameter by about 3 inches depth. I am unable to view the back.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, October 11, 2018 by Steve   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. There are several good possibilities to consider. (1) A marker light from a caboose. See Link 1, note the two lights atop the cupola of an SP caboose. The red paint causes me to think of this. (2) The 'Emergency' flasher from a diesel locomotive. See Link 2; note the light centered between the '410' numberboards. (My apologies about the condition of the loco in the pic....but the light shows up clearly in this one!) (3) Some grade crossing warnings (wig wags, for example) may have had lights like this. (4) School busses also have warning lights similar to this.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Friday, October 12, 2018 by RJMc

A. See Link 1 for a good pic of a wig-wag crossing signal; even with red paint around the light! And, is it a strobe light, or an incandescent bulb? The strobe would be a strong indicator for the locomotive application.  Link 1  Posted Friday, October 12, 2018 by RJMc

A.  Take the light apart and photograph the bulb, the socket and also see if the voltage or bulb number is marked on the base of the bulb. That information is frequently a good clue about the usage of lights like these. A school bus or fire truck probably used a 12 volt bulb. Grade crossing flashers and locomotives would be different.  Posted Friday, October 12, 2018 by KM

 Q3529 Handlan Lamp Info?  I am interested in finding out the history of the lamp pictured here from your site. I have one just like it and I think it is quite rare. It is from the S.P.L.A.& S.L.R.R. I have done a lot of searching, but have found nothing else. I am wondering if anyone can tell me more about it? I am not looking to sell as this item has been in the family for many years.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2018 by Don A   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. That seems to be a somewhat updated version of the Prahm switch lantern. My 1900 MM Buck catalog shows an almost identical lantern on page 407. Handlan Buck followed MM Buck and early HB lanterns were essentially MM Buck models with updated maker lettering for the new company name. Those early HB lanterns were heavy and well constructed. Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2018 by BobF

A. See our page from the 1900 Buck catalog showing a Prahm lamp. Link 1  Posted Thursday, October 11, 2018 by Web Editor

 Q3528 Lamp Date?  I need to know the date of this lamp. It's made in England, but I can't find sentinal brand any where. Can you help me with it? Thanks in advance.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, October 7, 2018 by ER   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  I am not familiar with the Sentinal brand, but that lantern looks just like a Powerlight lantern that was made by Delta in Marion,Ind. Check the Flashlight Museum website for more information. It is not a railroad lantern, the delta lanterns were sold by neighborhood hardware store in the 50's,60, and maybe as late as the 1970's.  Posted Monday, October 8, 2018 by KM

A. Thankyou Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2018 by Er