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

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Latest 50 Questions:

 Q3720 Brass Luggage Tag  The Wilkes Heritage Museum has a brass luggage tag from the Southern Railway Company. It has no identification numbers on the tag so I was wondering if it was used to send items between the railway company and not used on individual luggage. Is this correct?  Posted Tuesday, February 11, 2020 by MP   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Especially since your tag has no identification number, it would be a tremendous help if you would post a picture of it. As you suspect, railroad operations had several types of metal tags made. A luggage/baggage tag given to a passenger as a claim check to retrieve an article would have an identification number stamped in it. They were made in pairs, and one would be attached to the item, the other given to the passenger to prove ownership when claimed. If you aren't sure how to submit a photo, use "Email a question" to the webmaster with an attachment. Thanks ! Would love to see it. Posted Saturday, February 15, 2020 by JMS

 Q3719 RR Candle Lantern?  It has been a while since I last posted about this candle lamp I found in my possession - [Question 3605]. I was looking at the lantern again today and discovered something I should have seen before. On the back door of the lantern there is a piece of purple glass stored in a slot. I was able to remove the purple glass from the compartment. It is the perfect size to slide down in a compartment on the front of the lantern behind the clear glass. In previous posts I pointed out that the side hinged doors on the right and left side reveal a green glass panel on one side and a red glass panel on the other. I have attached 2 pictures - one showing the purple glass in the compartment at the rear of the lantern and one showing the purple glass in position on the front of the lantern. I don't know if this would help anyone to further identify this lantern as to what kind it is, but I hope it will help shed some light. I appreciate any comments on the identity of this lantern. Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, February 9, 2020 by WJ   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. On reflection (pun somewhat intended) that purple panel makes the darkroom application even more likely, with the side panels fairly obviously designed to totally shut off any light leakage from the unselected sides of the lamp. The different kinds of emulsions used for glass plate negatives, printing papers, and later films (all to produce black-and-white or sepia monochrome images) respond to different light colors and correspondingly DON't respond to selected colors -- such as the colors in this lamp.  Posted Monday, February 10, 2020 by RJMc

A. This is a German carbide railroad lamp minus the water/carbide reservoir. WWII versions are marked on the back of the reservoir with a Waffin Mark, later versions are marked with a winged railraod wheel DB(Deutch Bundesbahn}. KFK Posted Monday, February 10, 2020 by KFK

A. Correction to previous post misspelled-should be "Waffen" Mark. Also, adjustments on German carbide lamps on top behind curved vent-maybe an earlier version with adjustments on inside of lamp. Posted Tuesday, February 11, 2020 by KFK

 Q3718 Diameter of Lamp Wick  I have just acquired an Adlake #1112 switch lantern. It is missing the glass chimney and the wick. I found the glass chimney on the W. T. Kirkman web site but I am not sure of the diameter of the wick that I would need to return the lantern to full functionality. If anyone could let me know the diameter, it would be very helpful. Thanks in advance. Best regards, Posted Saturday, February 8, 2020 by JW   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The Link is to the archives here on the RRiana site where the Adlake catalog materials are available. The document at the Link discusses (with dimensions) almost every type of burner imaginable for use in Adlake lamps and spends a couple of pages extolling their special round center core wicks. But they never give the diameter, just their part no. for the wick. Link 1  Posted Saturday, February 8, 2020 by RJMc

A. Go back and ask Woody Kirkman via email or send ADLAKE an email, they have a web site. I think they'll help you out. Posted Sunday, February 9, 2020 by LC

A. If you take the burner to a good hardware store or camping supplies store that has kerosene lantern wick for sale (I checked, and even WalMart sells wick!) you should be able to fit the burner with a correct size. It's not rocket science - the edges of the wick should not crowd the burner, and thickness should roll through it readily. Wicks are made in several standard sizes.  Posted Saturday, February 15, 2020 by JMS

 Q3717 MKT Cast Iron SIgn  Have cast iron sign. Does anyone have any information about such item? Regards,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, February 5, 2020 by Mark   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is a "Trust Plate" which would have been fastened to the side of a piece of rolling stock to indicate that the Repulic Bank loaned the money to buy the equipment to the MKT RR, sometime around 1956. The physical plates on the car was evidence of the bank's security interest until the loan was repaid. See prior Q's here on the site: nos. 3361, 3332, and several other earlier ones mentioned in those first two, for a lot of discussion about trust plates. As mentioned in those earlier answers, a major RR such as the MKT in any given year might have financed millions of dollars to acquire hundreds or thousands of pieces of rolling stock, each of which would have carried a plate such as yours on each side. So they are not uncommon.  Posted Wednesday, February 5, 2020 by RJMc

A. The Katy Railroad Historical Society (see Link) might be able to give you more details about what equipment MKT bought with the proceeds of "Series 1956" loans. Or there are several libraries with collections of MKT documtmens, including Annual Reports for the 1956 time period, but none of the actual documents seem to be available online.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, February 5, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3716 Sign Help Needed  On this website the oval 15 inch Stop, Look, Listen signs are said to be fakes. I recently came across an 18 3/4 inch by 14 1/8 inch oval Stop, Look ,Listen sign. Is this sign just a larger version of the 15 inch fake? Other than the size difference the 2 signs are somewhat different being that the larger sign has a number cast onto it in between the words look and listen. This number does look a little crooked. Was this sign in any size ever used on an actual railroad or are they all fantasy pieces? Thank you in advance for all help answering these questions.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, January 25, 2020 by DBN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I am looking at a similar sign in the same size as yours (18+ inches wide x 14+ inches high). The one I have is authentic to the Western Maryland Ry. and probably served there on a back-country road crossing from about 1910 -- when the RR was built -- until the 1960's. I recovered it in pieces from thick weeds after the track had been removed. However, the letter font on mine is much plainer than the one you have (all the sides of the letters are straight) and it does not have a mold number. The hole pattern in your sign is consistent with having been mounted at a crossing. Knowing how much RR practices varied, I would never say that 'ALL 15" signs are fake' but most of them seen for sale today may well be reproductions (many in cast aluminum rather than cast iron), and more and more seem to be reproduced. Cast iron signs are very easily made in quantity in almost any foundry using an original sign as the pattern. This makes it almost impossible to tell ones which have actually seen RR service from reproductions, without knowing verified history for a particular sign. Unfortunately, our latter-day reproducers are now even adding details such as mounting holes, and some are even shooting bullet holes into their reproductions in additon to the applied weathering.  Posted Saturday, January 25, 2020 by RJMc

A. Being painted all white it would be hard to read it at distance so the paint job certainly isn't authentic. Most are white background and black letters. Posted Sunday, January 26, 2020 by LC

A. I was presuming that any paint had been sandblasted off; the grayish paint on there looks like primer applied later. The WM signs had black painted letters for 'stop' and 'listen' and red painted letters for 'look' on a bright white painted background. As to sizes which may have been used, standardization of signs at grade crossings began even earlier than 1927. The various state highway departments and the Association of American Railroads (AAR) all played a part in setting and enforcing the standards -- which often controlled who was stuck with liability after a grade crossing collision -- a major cost factor for the RR's. See prior Q's 3067, 2284. and 1324 about grade crossing signs. I went back and checked two of the landmark documents concerning standard highway signs, one from 1927 and one from 1935. Neither one addressed oval signs such as we are considering, only crossbucks and round advance warning signs which they were attempting to make very, very standard, nationally, even then. I suspect most RR's that had used the oval signs just added crossbucks to the poles, and left the cast iron signs in place as additonal protection.  Link 1  Posted Monday, January 27, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3715 Inspector's Lantern?  We inhereited this copper/brass lantern singed Joseph Ratcliff & Sons Birmingham. I’ve been researching but really having a hard time deciding if it is a railroad lamp or not. Can you help? Thank you so much,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, January 24, 2020 by Patrice   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Not a railroad/railway lamp but possibly maritime. Made in Birmingham, England. Posted Saturday, January 25, 2020 by JAJ

A.  See Q 3708 for information about lantern and lamp manufacturers from Birmingham,UK. The list that shows maker marks says that the Ratcliff family was in the copper and brass forming business since 1842. Your lamp appears to be a candle lamp and not oil fired with a burner and tank and that may help date it. The sides and back of the lamp are not painted and it may have been placed into an alcove or nook in a wall on a boat. You may want to contact the Central Public Library in Birmingham and ask them for help with your research.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, February 1, 2020 by KM

 Q3714 Question on Keystone Casey Lantern  One of my Keystone Casey lanterns has an etched globe with the PRR Keystone logo. I am always suspicious of etched globes and suspect this was the handiwork of some shady antique dealer. Regardless however I am inquiring as to if there is any known history of Casey globes such as this one? Thank you for any information you can offer.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, January 21, 2020 by Alan   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The good group Key Lock & Lantern did globe surveys some years ago and reports that the Pennsylvania Railroad did use Keystone Casey lanterns. Also, the PRR did have 5-3/8" clear globes etched PRR in a keystone (See the list, link 1). Also reported in this design were clear cast, red cast, blue etched and red etched globes. If I'm not mistaken, Casey lanterns will accept any of the 5-3/8 - 5-1/2 inch globes (somebody correct me if I am wrong?). That said, simply because of its size, the great big keystone does tend to make one wonder if it is fake, but I am not familiar enough with PRR to know. And fake etching is always possible.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Wednesday, January 22, 2020 by JMS

 Q3713 Lantern Help Needed  I have an Adlake railroad lantern that I came across while visiting Tower, Minnesota many years ago. The cap says DM&I RR. Is the identification indicating Duluth Missabe & Iron Range? The single 'I' makes me question whether it would be Iron Range. It also has a bulb in it with wiring. Thank you for any help or info you can give me.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, January 16, 2020 by Alana   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Possible explanation--Officially the DM&IR Railway, so the RR here is not for Railroad....just a spacing error. Another sample might read "DM&IR Ry.", with the small y left out on yours but the period is there. Posted Thursday, January 16, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. Try Q2285 if you need any more confusion. Posted Thursday, January 16, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. The lantern is marked for the Duluth Missabe & Iron Range Railway Company - no doubt about it. An Adlake worker just accidentally left off the last "Y" when making up the stamping die, is all. These lanterns are industrial artifacts made to a price and so production was fast and quality assurance probably minimal. Several ones I have are just stamped DM&IR. Others are stamped DM&IR RY. As for the light bulb, it is a later addition by someone trying to make the lantern into a table lamp or porch light; it is nothing the railroad did.  Posted Friday, January 17, 2020 by JEM

A. After doing some digging, I found out the lantern is from a resort outside of Tower, MN. It was used on an old wooden bridge that joined mainland to a small island to mark the channel for boats. The owner of the resort electrified one red and one green. Turns out to be a good piece of lake memorabilia. Thanks for all the info.  Posted Friday, January 17, 2020 by Alana

 Q3712 PRR Dietz '999' Lanterns?  Did the PRR (Pennsylvania Railroad) use the Dietz '999' lantern? Are they rare?  Posted Thursday, January 16, 2020 by JFR   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Not rare if marked for the NY Central or not marked for any Rail Road. Others may be rare depending on which Rail Road they're marked for. See Link 1 Link 1  Posted Saturday, January 18, 2020 by LC

 Q3711 Car ID?  From a recovered copy of the 1912-13 'Oregana' (University of Oregon) yearbook. Alleged to be Glee Club boarding train in Eugene for points south in Oregon on Southern Pacific's O&C Siskiyou Line/Shasta Route. Letterboards read 'Oregon & Washington'. Can we identify the car class and likely origin...Pullman? (Image is referred to in Q.3595)   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, January 12, 2020 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I had almost concluded the internet would be useless when I finally stumbled over this (**commercial**) site and a discourse on the C-4 class of cars built by Pullman in 1909-12 (Link 1). They mentioned the Oregon-Washington Railroad & Navigation Co., but not the earlier 1906-11 Oregon and Washington Railroad Company [O&W RR Co.]. However, Wikipedia had a 1910 ad for these Pullman-Harriman Steel Coaches with the correct O&W RR lettering and thence UP and SP logos overlaid. [The Shasta Limited is mentioned in the ad.] UP had an equipment purchasing pool for all the Harriman component roads, but O&W was a wholly owned entity capitalized at $1 million and kept under tight control off the equities markets. But it does appear from this photo that the equipment and services may have been shared over some portion of the Espee lines south of Portland prior to the Federal order to break up the conglomerate. Some later (P-6 Pacific) engines ordered for O&W and assigned numbers apparently arrived with numbers for another component road. O&W was gone (into O-W RR &N) completely by February 1911, but re-painting cars might have been slower. I did not locate car numbers for O&W Harrimans. Rail service on the northern end [Portland-Seattle] starts around 1909, and the Shasta Limited was put on display in 1910-or-11 at what was then called the Oregon and Washington Station ( a newspaper article was cited). I can't say if any of the Harriman cars were cut-in for a portion of the routing or if any ran through the Oregon section. O&W was running three trains over the short portion. Of course, I found all of this without any hard paper references in hand so errors are possible at this point. Link 1  Posted Sunday, January 12, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. A modeler's blog (Link 1) with some background information on these kind of cars. Link 1  Posted Sunday, February 2, 2020 by ShastaRoute

 Q3710 Info on Lantern Marking?  I wonder if you could give me any information on the St. Louis Railway Supplies Manufacturing Company? I have a lantern with that marking on it.  Posted Sunday, January 12, 2020 by GJC   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  Send in a photo of this lantern. In Barrett's book "The Encyclopedia Of Railroad Lighting" he says that Saint Louis Railway Supply never made any lanterns and there is no other information there. Handlan and Buck were both in Saint Louis and they may have made lanterns for Saint Louis Railway Supply. There is a Handlan or Buck lantern model called the Saint Louis "Pet". So if you can send in a photo perhaps we can identify your lantern and date it. Also, is there any railroad name or patent information on it?  Posted Monday, January 13, 2020 by KM

A. As a reminder....just send any images to the same email address as you sent the question. Send the image as an attachment. Since we don't require a login to access the Q&A Board, we can't allow people to post images themselves because of possible security risks. Posted Monday, January 13, 2020 by Web Editor

A. I have a brass top bell bottom lantern with the St Louis Ry Supply marking on very bottom of the bell. It has all of the features of an MM Buck lantern, so I always presumed that Buck made the lantern for this company (St Louis Ry Supply). Posted Wednesday, January 29, 2020 by BobF

 Q3709 Dual Role 'Featured Item' Badge  Your current 'Featured Item' image of the Spokane Coroner & Northern Pacific Surgeon badge certainly piqued my interest, so I have been looking into it to obtain more context. So far, sketchy references on the Web show a Dr. Frank Witter, M.D., being nominated for election to the office of Spokane county Coroner in the 1900-1910 general time period. Also, the Railway Surgery website [link 1] has a LOT of very interesting discussion about the very lively, not to say vital, field/specialty of Railway Surgery which was undergoing very rapid development nationally during that same time period. An image of another, much more recent NP Surgeon badge is shown on that website. The guy running the site says 'I never saw another Railway Surgeon badge, except from the NP.' It is fairly obvious that the jobs of County Coroner vs. Railway Surgeon might overlap. And I strongly suspect that neither job was full time employment. But the Coroner job has responsibilities well beyond the RR, and the RR had operations well beyond the county limits. The person holding this badge would often be responding to all kinds of emergency situations and holding considerable, but different, authorities at each of them. I suspect the Dr. had this badge made up personally, just so he didn't have to carry around two separate ones!  Posted Sunday, January 5, 2020 by RJMc  Link 1     Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The Spokane County Library staff did a wonderful job of checking out the non-RR side of Dr. Frank Witter, M.D.. The badge has to be from 1905 to 1908, apparently his only single term as Coroner. Frank was born in 1861 in Brimfield Massachusetts. From 1909 to 1928 he was a physician under "Essig, Witter & Pope" or "Witter & Pope" in Spokane. He stayed as a physician in Spokane until 1939, moved to Tacoma in 1940 and died there in 1942. We would need Northern Pacific employee timetables to investigate the railroad side of Dr. Witter. Posted Sunday, January 12, 2020 by RJMc

A. Some further digging turned up the EXCELLENT collection of NP info available online as .pdf documents from the Northern Pacific Railroad Historical Association, including employee timetables from almost all NP divisions from the 1880's to modern times. Each employee timetable, towards the end -- around Page 9 of an 11 page timetable -- lists "Approved Surgeons." The Link is to a 1911 Idaho Division Timetable showing Dr. F.P. Witter at Spokane. The NPRHA material available online is a tremendous resource because they have made the entire historical documents available online.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Sunday, January 12, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3708 Lamp/lantern Info?  I want to find more information about this V&R Blakemore Birmingham lantern. It resembles the Wakefield lanterns, but the brass tag reads Blakemore. Not sure if it refers to Birmingham Alabama or Birmingham England. Also not sure if it is military or railroad. Haven't been able to locate any info on Google. Any ideas?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, January 5, 2020 by JK   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I vote for Birmingham,England. It looks very similar to other multi color track walker lamps that were used by railways in Britain and also elsewhere in Europe. Birmingham,UK has always been the location for many manufacturers of brass and sheet metal items. See the following question numbers in the Archives, 3138, 2541, 1712, 1565,1533, 1277, and 428. The link below is from Q1565 and it is a list of brass and metal manufacturers from Birmingham that are pre-1950. V&R Blakemore is not shown on that list so it is possible that your lamp was made after 1950. You might want to contact the Central Public Library in Birmingham,UK and see if they can find information on V&R Blakemore. Link 1  Posted Monday, January 6, 2020 by KM

A.  This lamp also resembles a Henry J. Pratt,Birmingham lamp that I have seen. Pratt is included on the Birmingham list in the link, but I don't see Wakefield there. A possibility is that Wakefield and Blakemore were distributors of lamps that had them manufactured by another company that placed the distributor name on them. Similar to Craftsman tools or Kenmore appliances, Sears never made those, some one else did and placed the Sears brand name on them.  Posted Monday, January 6, 2020 by KM

A. It's definitely British. A Google search brought up a lot of V&R Blakemore information. See Link 1.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, January 9, 2020 by JMS

 Q3707 Builders Plates  I recently acquired two American Locomotive Company builders plates. One is from the Brooks Works numbered 50065 and dated 1911. The other plate is from the Schenectady Works numbered 65626 and dated 1924. I've been trying to identify what railroads and Locomotives they are from but to no success. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, December 30, 2019 by Steve W   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. My Alco records indicate 65626 is from a Grand Trunk Western 0-8-0 possibly #8308 and 50065 is a Pere Marquette 2-8-0 possibly #906 Posted Monday, December 30, 2019 by COD

A. Thank you very much for the information. Happy New Year.  Posted Wednesday, January 1, 2020 by Steve W

 Q3706 Lantern Info?  I would like to know as much as possible about this lantern. All help will be greatly appreciated. This lantern is stamped the Adams and Westlake company Chicago, New York on the top. I don't see any model number. It has a 1909 patent date and MRR also stamped on it. The globe has no writing on it. Thank you in advance for any and all help identify this lantern.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, December 29, 2019 by DBN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. A very useful feature on this Q&A site is the search feature for railroad names, given the initials. Unlike some references, it includes Canadian and Mexican roads. It is under the Railroadiana Home heading, then look under 'Railroad Names' or use the first link below. The second link shows the answer for RR's or Ry's that might have initials MRR. Unortunately, without credible history for your particular lantern, there is no way to tell which of the over 40 listed RR's your lantern may have come from.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Tuesday, December 31, 2019 by RJMc

A. Link 2 above did not work to show the results, but just use Link 1 and enter MRR in the "search by initials" box to see the RR's listed.  Posted Tuesday, December 31, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3705 What is This?  Have you ever seen these before? What RR used these? What was the purpose? US&S signal? Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, December 20, 2019 by Bill A   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is a 'switch circuit controller' used by almost any RR that had a signal system, over the many decades that signal systems have existed -- basically since 1900 or so and contnuing today. It sat beside the track and was mechanically connected by linkages to the track switch points -- the movable part of the trak switch that actually controlled the route taken by the train. The electrical switches inside the controller reported the track switch position to the signal system electronics. The electrical switch functions inside the controller are very simple and could be accomplished electrically with a couple of two or three dollar toggle switches. But what you are seeing is an example of the superbly reliable equipment (designated 'vital')required of signal system components, given that they OFTEN controlled life or death functions on the RR's.  Posted Friday, December 20, 2019 by RJMc

A. And for the minor part of the question, US&S is Union Switch & Signal (Company). Posted Saturday, January 11, 2020 by ShastaRoute

 Q3704 Purpose of Sign?  I was just wondering what this cast iron sign was used for? I had asked some people, and they said it's supposed to be a slow order sign and was temporary. A guy ran down the tracks and stuck it in the ground. Dimensions are roughly 19 in. by 30 in. Any ideas where it was located? Somebody said to look under a time table but I don’t have a clue where to look? Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, December 20, 2019 by Bill A   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I think you have it partly is a 'Slow Order' sign, but for permanent use. My recollection is that the Western Maryland Ry, for example, placed these near tunnel entrances where there were permanent speed restrictions passing thru the tunnel. WM had quite a few tunnels, and painted the signs black on white similar to yours. Having the permanent sign allowed the train to continue at speed until it actually approached the tunnel, where the slower speed was required. Each different RR determined its own practices regarding kinds, quantities, and applications of signs, and you have to go their employee timetables to be sure of their practices. Many RR's use metal "S" signs (now usually reflectorized) to indicate temporary slow orders, and yes, they are often just quickly stuck into the ground beside the track. But nobody would go casually running along the track carrying your 2 1/2 -foot-wide cast iron sign. Be aware that many RR cast iron signs are now being reproduced since it can be done in almost anybody's foundry, including even some school workshops. Posted Saturday, December 21, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3703 Lamp Info?  I was hoping you could tell me a little bit about this lamp. My Dad gave it to me. It’s was found in West TN.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, December 18, 2019 by KG   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This looks like a really lovely wall fixture. I hope you will clean the green tarnish off. From your photos it appears to be a gas fixture. Hopefully others more knowledgeable will come on and give you a better response. SEE Link 1 for a 2018 auction of one of the finest railroad lighting collections, with prices realized. You may find something similar.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, December 21, 2019 by JMS

A. Thank you. There were some others at that link.  Posted Thursday, January 9, 2020 by KG

 Q3702 Alco Loco Info?  I have a photo of an Alco locomotive #2 at Annapolis Junction, MD taken on 12-2-90. It was working at the time for AJ Inc. and is mostly yellow with black top. The builders plate is as follows: 'American Locomotive Co. General Electric Co. Schenectady New York 69410 January 1941'. I'm looking to find out its model and history. Thanks,  Posted Wednesday, December 18, 2019 by Bill K   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. My Alco records show this to be a 660hp switcher originally built for the South Buffalo RR Posted Wednesday, December 18, 2019 by COD

 Q3701 Lantern Pot Burner/wick Assembly Removal  I have acquired a CBQ switch lantern with a round pot, but can’t remove the burner/wick assembly from the pot. Does it screw into the pot, or is it just push in? Any help is appreciated. Thanks.  Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2019 by KBS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Some burners pushed in, and some screwed in. You have the item in your hand and if you can't tell if the burner is pushed in or screwed in, a picture probably won't help. Spray some solvent like Liquid Wrench or Deep Creep on the interface with the pot twice a day and keep trying to loosen it. Be careful of flammable solvent fumes if indoors. As a last resort a little applied torch heat done outdoors might help, but if the pot has old kerosene or some solvent in it - be very careful.  Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2019 by JEM

A. Thanks-that did the trick Posted Thursday, December 12, 2019 by KBS

 Q3700 Builder's Plate ID?  I have a Baldwin Locomotive Works Builders Plate dated 1944 embossed with a large number 71951 in the center of this 9.25 inch disk. My research has not be able to discover if any locomotive is involved or some other type of engine. Any information you may have regarding this disk would be greatly appreciated. Thanks,  Posted Monday, December 9, 2019 by RM   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. My records show StL&SF #222 DE1000 1000 HP switcher Posted Monday, December 9, 2019 by COD

A. Many Thanks for the info and it guided me through the rest of the information I was looking for. FYI, you mentioned it was a DE1000, however when on the site, the build number was identified as a VO-1000. Everything else was correct.  Posted Tuesday, December 10, 2019 by RBM

A. Early in the steam to diesel transition era, many RR's created their own designations for the various diesel models. The "DE1000" might have been the SLSF's term for what Baldwin labelled a VO1000. Later most RR's just adopted the mfr's model numbers, particularly once diesels began to make run-thru's all over the network and needed to be maintained by other RR's shops.  Posted Wednesday, December 11, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3699 Lamp Questions  I'm looking for some help with an ID on a railroad lamp. My wife found this at an estate sale in USA and thinking of our potential son-in-law Bryan, who loves trains and airplanes, bought it. So, is it an Adlake lamp? If so what time period? I’ve included 2 pics with comments. Thanks!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, December 5, 2019 by Martin   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. An Adlake lamp would be stamped "ADLAKE" on the rain cap. This lamp does not look like anything made in America, and the folded over rain cap looks exactly the same as those on the poorly made "railroad" lamps sold and shipped from India, and described on eBay as "decorative" lamps. See Link 1 for one for sale on eBay.  Link 1  Posted Friday, December 6, 2019 by JEM

A. In the first answer, JEM has it right. Looking at the Link above, you can see that these were/are sold now as "decorative" -- meaning not authentic RR -- with electric bulb sockets but with a very light-duty cord and switch certainly NOT suitable for outdoor use. And it does not look like the electric bulb would have lined up with the (too small) lenses. It is also clear that these were (partly) direct copies of other lamps. So whoever did the copying included the square rails on the bottom of the interior, noted in your pic, which would have held the square tank for the kerosene burner if the socket had not been put in the way. The welded-on flat base saved them from having to make several more-complicated parts normally on the base of either a switch lamp or marker lamp.  Posted Saturday, December 7, 2019 by RJMc

A. I'm guessing that the fresnel lenses are inferior to Kopp and Corning lenses as well. Posted Saturday, December 7, 2019 by LC

A. I think the folks have the right idea, but as I see it, you have what I would compare to a Chevy with some Ford parts, some Toyota parts, some Austin Healey parts , some homemade parts, with parts from a Mack truck on the side. You ain`t gonna hurt it , that was done long ago, so do what you want to make it look good, and be happy. Late in the steam years, the lamp shop sometimes use spare parts to keep an old lamp in service, but I do not remember one this modified.  Posted Sunday, December 8, 2019 by hvcoll

A. More of these are being sold now, in quantity, by a seller in Rajistan, India, on the web as "used, antique, vintage former Indian Railways, repaired, Adlake style..." Posted Sunday, December 8, 2019 by RJMc

A. RJMc is right on. Check the links below - both are so typical of these India imports. (I disagree with the one claiming his date from 1800s-early 1900s, my guess is they were made closer to the last couple of years). I see more and more of these all the time, and it is sad that they can fool people who are not railroadiana knowledgeable.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Sunday, December 15, 2019 by JMS

 Q3698 A&W C.C.C.&St.L. Lantern with Penn. Lines Globe  Forwarding this barn fresh as found Big Four for a third party to get any second insight. First impressions are welcome too. TIA .   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, December 2, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. First impression is your a lucky guy to have scored it. Second impression is de-rust it, clean, strip that old paint job as it doesn't appear to be original. Posted Tuesday, December 3, 2019 by LC

A. They certainly were lucky. I think the owner's immediate concern was the oddities in the road's period behind the third C, "S. L." instead of "St. L.", and no period after "Ry". The crossover of a Pennsylvania Lines globe seemed odd here, but everything got dumped into PennCentral in the last years...could someone have pulled old stock from storage to send out as supplies in those final days? Posted Wednesday, December 4, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. As I understand it , when the lines merged into Penn Central, it was found that although battery lanterns were the norm , it was still required in the books to have a kerosene lantern available. This is why they scraped up and dug out anything to use , from the prior railroads. Not finding enough to match regulations , new PC lanterns were also purchased. Posted Wednesday, December 11, 2019 by hvcoll

A. Well that would be well into the era of "Safety Orange" paint, even if applied long after the fact of delivery. Since we are concerned with "Railroad" useage rathern than just lantern manufacturer factory floor products, it would seem well worth having as-is photo records kept on-hand before items are stripped bare...if only just for reasons of historical inquiry into real life practices. Posted Saturday, December 14, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Sorry, but this lantern (and globe) are WAY too old to have anything to do with Penn Central. The CCC&StL (Big Four) and PRR Lines (which stood for PRR Lines WEST of Pittsburg)each served the same multi-state territory. That was bounded by Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnatti, St. Louis, Chicago, and Detroit. Both RR's had so many main lines and branch lines criss-crossing the territory that I suspect it was a very unusual place where the line of one was more than ten miles from a line of the other, and both had thousands and maybe tens of thousands of employees, and lanterns. So I'm sure it was not unusual, after breaking a globe, to end up with a globe marked for the other road. And this comment applied when those RR's were using those initials -- probably into the 1920's -- as well as later in generations of barns, junk shops,and antique stores in that territory as well as across the nation. That said, it is a nice lantern, but I would assign no significance in particular to the match between the lantern and globe.  Posted Thursday, December 19, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3697 China Bowl ID Needed  I'm wondering if you can help me with a piece of vintage china I found. I thought it might be railroad china. However, I cannot find any reference to an 'SGRR' railroad except for Southwest Gulf in Texas which was incorporated in 2003 and does not appear to have a need for dishes! Does anyone recognize this bowl? It was made by Boch Freres in Europe. So, maybe a European railroad? I've attached a few pictures. I appreciate any help!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, November 23, 2019 by Juli   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is so different - but I found what I hope is helpful. Just suspicions. The scrolling under the Boch stamped mark surely appears to be Arabic (I wish I could translate it), and I found specific references to the Saudi Government Railroad (see Link 1) Link 2 shows a picture of this same marking and dates it at 1931 - scroll down to find the picture. Boch Freres (freres means brothers) was a Belgian company. In the marking, I tried Google Translate English/Arabic and the number 22 is the same in both languages - so the "upside down" marking in Arabic would be " ___ 22 ___ ". A guess, again. HOWEVER - In no way is this piece American. It appears to be old enough that the pattern would have been discovered in plenty of time to include it in the books about U.S. railroad china. Your bowl is terrific, I would bet it went into someone's pocket or purse on a trip abroad to Arabia - ! Surely there are not many in this country!! Link 1  Link 2  Posted Thursday, November 28, 2019 by JMS

A. Thank you so much, JMS! That helps a lot.  Posted Friday, November 29, 2019 by Juli

A. China collectors prefer a "smoking gun" on logos, but they are often hard to dig up. A past "closed" auction (Link 1) provides some supporting evidence with an altered version of the mark and backstamped as U.S. Army supplied wares sometime after the D-Day occupation in 1944. Though described as a cream earthenware, the photos look like a white vitreous product which would say Boch Brothers had the ability to manufacture at the level demanded for hotel grade quality (what most railroads used). No doubt, you can further eliminate any possibility of a corporate (office etc.) china for the Shade Gap Railroad (see East Broad Top history) as this would make little sense. Perhaps that Saudi logo may soon surface on some paper item. Good Luck! Nice find. Link 1  Posted Wednesday, December 4, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. A 1952 extended article on the new (late 1951) Saudi Government RailRoad (Link 1) wherein the last photo of an Alco RS-1 locomotive is shown with the official emblem of a palm above crossed swords (the common design of the Kingdom). [Note all the postage stamps for the inaugural run must date to this period regardless of what sellers might be claiming. Same class of engines.] Link 1  Posted Wednesday, December 4, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. An added note...until we are certain that the embellishment below the backstamp is in fact an Arabic script, and given the proof that the US Army command did order some china from Boch Freres, I would suggest this could be related to a unit-level military use. More specifically, before the formation of the Armed Forces Recreation Area/Centers in the late '40's, there was a division in the American zone of the Allied Occupation known as something like the South or Southern Germany Rest and Recreation area set up for troops. It was centered on Garmisch in the Alps. This of course would only be one of many possible users on a continent being entirely rebuilt after the war, but it might explain how the piece came to rest across "the pond"..a soldier's souvenir. There already has surfaced a topmarked "US Army" Bavarian made china without any added bottom marks to show who actually ordered it. And we've seen a "so far" unidentified pattern used on military trains out of Bremerhaven prior to German staffing of these duty trains. Posted Wednesday, December 4, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3696 Baggage Tag?  I'm looking for the source of this baggage tag found between Leamington and Wheatley Ontario with a metal detector on my grandmother's farm. The farm is 40 miles or so from the border crossing at Detroit, and a railway ran through the middle of the farm. I believe it was Pere Marquette railway during 1924. The letters on the baggage tag are DTLP then 318 and 1924. I would love it if someone had some information on this mystery. My searches so far haven't come up with much. Thanks for considering this question.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, November 23, 2019 by Aaron   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. See prior Q 3404 for a lot of info on the Lake Erie and Detroit RR which ran in that area of Ontario before becoming part of Pere Marquette. But so far no relationship to "DTLP". I suspect what you have is a tool marker, valve marker, key tag, or maybe an employee ID tag rather than a baggage tag. It might also be the ID tag which was nailed to a power pole; "LP" often stands for "Light and Power." Most baggage tags didn't need dates, but pole tags usually had dates.  Posted Sunday, November 24, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3695 Pyle Railroad Light Use?  Could you give me information on what this light was used for? And is it an antique? Thank you,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, November 19, 2019 by Sherry   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Please send some pix of the interior of the housing. It appears maybe to be a 'Gyralite' that would have been used as a flashing warning light on the front of a locomotive or a cab control car, but hard tell from only the single view.  Posted Tuesday, November 19, 2019 by RJMc

A. The Link has a lot of video shots of Chicago Metra commuter trains which have single-beam oscillating headlights on both cab cars and some of their locomotive series. If your light has the motor driven oscillating mechanism inside, that is how it would have been employed. The red paint on your light also matches some of the Metra units.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, November 20, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3694 PRR Hat Badge  Would you know the year that the Pennsylvania Railroad began using this style cap badge? Thanks in advance for any assistance you may be able to provide me.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, November 19, 2019 by David   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3693 Info on Old RR Line?  I'm seeking information in my research about a logging RR in northern WI ca late 1800's to around 1930, called The Roddis Line. It had a geared Heisler locomotive No. 5 with its road name initials on its tender: R L & V C O (Roddis Line & Veneer Company). I'd greatly appreciate whatever you might give me!  Posted Wednesday, November 13, 2019 by Jim C  Link 1     Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Bill Edson's RR Names book says Roddis LUMBER and Veneer railroad ran from 1908 to 1938, then abandoned. Looking on the web for Roddis Lumber turns up lots of info; apparently after starting with doing their own logging (and railroading) in Wisconsin the co. moved its furniture-building and construction supply business to Texas. (See Link)  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, November 13, 2019 by RJMc

A. If you don't already have it, a copy of "The Roddis Line" by Harvey Huston may help your research. The book was published by the author himself and is copyrighted 1972; Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 78-184838; ISBN 0-9600048-2-3 The book is smaller and has about 140 pages with numerous photos, including at least two of engine #5. I also have a second book by Huston titled "Thunder Lake Narrow Gauge", the story of the last narrow gauge logging railroad in the Midwest, called the Robbins Railroad. This one is copyright 1982.  Posted Wednesday, November 13, 2019 by JEM

 Q3692 'BR' Kero Marking  I have come into possession of a Adlake Kero lantern that seems to identify its original railroad owner as 'BR.' While I am fairly sure this does not stand for 'British Railways' or 'Burlington Route,' I don't know what it means. Someone has speculated it's the Bamberger Railroad, an electric line that operated between Salt Lake City and Ogden, but I'm not sure. If anyone has a clue as to the attribution, kindly share your hypothesis with me.  Posted Tuesday, November 12, 2019 by LRB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I'd say with virtual certainty it is Burlington Route. That is a common marking they used in later years. The first lantern I had marked BR made me wonder too....till our family took a vacation around Galena, IL in about 1969. We went near the Mississippi River and crossed the then CB&Q tracks. On some fixture was an Adlake switch lock marked BR that cinched it. Burlington Route. Posted Wednesday, November 13, 2019 by BobF

A. I would agree with BobF, I am 99.44% sure this is Burlington Route (Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad). The two links confirm BobF's statement that they used "BN." Link 1 is their Historical Society. Link 2 is a nice history of the CB&Q. It may be possible to date your lantern as some Adlake Keros are date coded. Look on the very bottom of the round "cup" that holds the fount. If there are raised numbers, look for a number that would be stamped in a line around the outer edge of the rim, not the center. You are looking for a number-dash-number, like 1-54 or 4-48 (just examples). The second number is the year and the first is the quarter of that year. So 1-54 would mean it was made during the first quarter of the year 1954; 4-48 is the last quarter of the year 1948. Hoping yours may have the code, some did, some did not.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Saturday, November 16, 2019 by JMS

A. Oops, sorry, I meant confirming BobF's statement that they used "BR," not BN..... Posted Saturday, November 16, 2019 by JMS

A. Thanks for the clue as to how to find the date of manufacture for the lantern. The numbers say 3-48. Posted Sunday, November 17, 2019 by LRB

 Q3691 Lantern Marking?  I am having difficulties determining what RY line this was. Cant find any information for M&I C RY, just M&I. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, November 11, 2019 by Fran    Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Muscatine & Iowa City RY...a very short lived line that became part of the Rock Island in the 'teens. Posted Monday, November 11, 2019 by BobF

A. A very short lived railroad line indeed - 7 1/2 months. I looked for an M & IC railroad in Edson's Railroad Names book, but nothing like it is listed. Wikipedia has an article about the Muscatine and Iowa City - see Link 1. It leased some Rock Island lines effective Jan 1, 1916 and ceased operation August 11, 1916, returning the lines to the Rock Island.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, November 12, 2019 by JEM

 Q3690 Dates on Bottom of Handlan Lantern  I have a lantern probably pre-1930. Do you know which number on the bottom plate of the lantern represents the date? Not knowing how to get to the globe, the visible part is roughly 3 1/2 to 4 inches. From the base to the top of the lantern is about 12 inches. The visible part of the globe shows ICRR on the globe. It is believed that this was my grandfather's. My dad worked with ICRR from 1949-1983. His dad registered for the draft on June 5, 1917. His registration shows he was living at that time in Carbondale, Illinois and was a laborer for ICRR. Not sure when he got the lantern.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, November 7, 2019 by ER   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. They're just patent dates, not the date the Lantern was manufactured. To get the globe out just lift the top lid up. Posted Friday, November 8, 2019 by LC

A. This type of lantern is called a "short globe" because of the glass height. It's almost impossible to date an individual lantern like this. I can't say for sure because I'm not well enough versed in Handlan, but Shorty Globe lanterns were invented around the 1930s so it's very possible your grandpa got it and passed it on to your dad. You can Google the patent dates if you want, but most are for parts and pieces not the lantern itself. Patent dates at least give firm information about the earliest possible date a lantern could have been made.  Posted Friday, November 8, 2019 by JMS

A. As LC says to get the globe out, lift the lid - look for the little catch on the underside and squeeze that. Another trick is that when you replace the globe after taking it out, if the lid does not want to shut, try wiggling the glass and make sure the top goes into the inside of the lid when you are closing it. These can be tight fits.  Posted Friday, November 8, 2019 by JMS

 Q3689 Strange Badge  I recently came across an odd looking badge and was wondering if you could point me in the right direction to find some history on it. The guy I got it from said he was told it was a 'shop badge' made by the railroad. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, November 5, 2019 by KR   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  Look at the pages in the Railroadiana Library regarding Fakes and Reproductions, Badges. A similar egg shaped hand hammered, poorly lettered badge that says "Tombstone Chief Marshall" is shown in the first photo. My opinion is that this is a fantasy item and was never made or used by a railroad. Most of the railroad shop people that I have known over the years would have been ashamed of the quality if this item.  Posted Tuesday, November 5, 2019 by KM

A.  Here is the link to that information about fake badges.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, November 5, 2019 by KM

A. KM makes a good point about quality. In order to move up, shop workers had to complete projects that demonstrated their level of skill accomplishments...just like taking shops in school and being graded on your completed work. It is unlikely that a shop foreman would let such a sloppy job go by and actually be would have to be one hell of an emergency situation going on. Most fakers have some pride in their work, so maybe it was a training project gone awry or a very lazy faker? When I come across claims that are a bit "amazing" now, I suggest the seller might want to get that thing authenticated on this site or another, but I don't buy an item with a puffed-up price propped up on a "may be" provenance. I've been stung myself. But if it comes out of a "junk pile" from someone who never bothered to ask questions about it or jack-up the price, then it hurts no one if you take it and start your own line of reasoned conjecture. And some days you'll turn out to be right. Posted Wednesday, November 6, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3688 B&O Marker Lamps  Recently I and a friend procured some B&O Handlan marker lamps with a four bracket, bracket. We bought these over the last year. The design is similar to the B&O Adlake markers with four cast iron brackets on the lamp. Thus, these markers do not turn in a bracket to adjust them. The whole lamp goes into a different bracket. I would like to hear from others who have seen and/or own these Handlan markers. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, November 2, 2019 by Jeff   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3687 Info on Number Plate?  I picked this up from an estate. any info on the locomotive it came from would be much appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, November 2, 2019 by SD   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3686 Plate Authenticity?  Just wondering if anyone was aware of this particular plate being reproduced? I have had one for 30+ years. Saw one recently on an auction site and another recently showed up on e__y.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, October 28, 2019 by GJ   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. What about the idea that the person who bought it at the auction is reselling it now , hoping to make a few bucks ?  Posted Wednesday, October 30, 2019 by COD

A. Seller has had their plate for a while and nicks and dings are different... Posted Thursday, October 31, 2019 by gj

A. every engine had two. One on each side. Posted Sunday, November 3, 2019 by Ex Sou Ry

A. That part of it I understand. That is why I was inquiring if anyone knew of these being reproduced somewhere along the way... Posted Tuesday, November 5, 2019 by GJ

A. GJ asked a simple Yes or No question and he as well as I are still waiting for an answer from anyone who knows. Possible answers = Yes it's being reproduced, No its not being reproduced". Posted Wednesday, November 6, 2019 by LC

A. I hope I can provide a workable response - If the one GJ saw on the auction site is different than the one he saw recently on e_y, and he still has the one he's had for 30+ years, then indeed they ARE being reproduced because, as ExSouRy pointed out, only two per engine were made. With a third one shyowing up, one of them has to be a repro! Sometimes auction buyers will resell on e_y but if the nicks, dings and other things were different in the e_y listing than the one in the auction pictures, then clearly there ARE three of them.  Posted Friday, November 8, 2019 by JMS

A. No one so far has identified what locomotive rec'd this plate. Altho the records exist, I don't have them. The builder's plate is far more likely to have been reproduced if the engine survived and/or ended up 'famous' in museum or excursion service. Of course no guarantees either way, but an indicator.  Posted Friday, November 8, 2019 by RJMc

A. NYC 0-8-0 #678 Posted Saturday, November 9, 2019 by gj

 Q3685 RR Lock?  I have an Adlake lock Pat#2040482 marked NNG...Is this a RR Lock?? If yes what is the name of the railroad??? Many thanks in advance.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, October 24, 2019 by MH   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Sorry - I don't believe it is railroad. The patent (see link 1)has nothing to do with railroads, as it is was awarded to Adlake for this new type of padlock "with shackles hinged on the case with devices for securing both ends of the shackle." I see the vast majority of these locks carrying that same patent, regardless of RR markings. Also, utility companies bought many of this type of lock. I am wondering if the stamping might be N____ Natural Gas as these locks can date into the 1950s-1960s (Correct me, someone if that's not right).  Link 1  Posted Saturday, October 26, 2019 by JMS

A. There are several web sites where you can enter any set of initials and get listings of what they MIGHT mean. As JMS suggests, NNG among many other non-railroad things comes up with Northern Natural Gas of Omaha, NE. Sometimes the utility companies also had in-house railroads and/or rail terminal facilities; the legacy of the interurbans and the electric companies have many, many examples.  Posted Saturday, October 26, 2019 by RJMc

A.  Note that patent number 2040482 was issued in 1935. It was displayed on Adlake locks all the way up into the 1980's or later. I have seen a Conrail switch lock that has that patent number on it.  Posted Sunday, October 27, 2019 by KM

 Q3684 Purpose of Sign?  What purpose would this sign have been for and what does the A stand for? Within the cutout is reflectorizing material.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2019 by DK   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is an 'A Plate' which would be mounted along with other signal heads. See the Link (its section no. 4 of a multi-section website) which is a really thorough, extensive discussion of RR signals and signalling practices, with lots of good illustrations. It also has some very useful references to where you can read rulebooks where various signal practices are described. To cut to the chase,the Link notes "Some railroads would also employ an "A Plate" to signify an absolute signal." As explained at length in the Link, "Absolute signals" are used at interlockings where 'stop and stay' is the required response to an all-red signal. Many other signals, such as typical block signals, "(First) stop and (then)proceed" is permitted for a red signal. Most RR's apply a number plate to make this distinction whereas absolute signals do not have number plates. As the Link explains, "G Plates" and "D Plates" were also commonly used.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3683 Freight Dept Tag  Found this in my yard today and can't find any info about it. There's a WKN stamped on the bottom, nothing on the back. Anybody know roughly what time frame it could be from?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, October 18, 2019 by Kate   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is marked for the New York Central Railroad Company. It looks like a tool tag - would have been used to keep track of an individual tool, using a "library" type checkout system. The New York Central emerged in 1914 from a merger of the NYC&Hudson River RR, and it lasted until the merger with the Pennsylvania RR in 1968 forming the Penn Central RR. Between 1914 and 1935 the NYC was also known as New York Central Lines. Between 1935 - 1968, it was also known as the New York Central System. With neither "Lines" nor "System" on this it's not easy to pinpoint a date, but it "probably" is mid-century, we have not found anything further about these either.  Posted Saturday, October 19, 2019 by JMS

A. I do not know what WKN refers to - guessing something specific, that the tag was normally kept with, or a location. Maybe someone else can help further.  Posted Saturday, October 19, 2019 by JMS

A. Tags such as this were also used as employee ID badges. WKN might have been the employee's initials. "Freight Dept." is not one we would expect to have a lot of tools, but would have a lot of employees. NYC was a huge system; where was this found? Posted Saturday, October 19, 2019 by RJMc

A. If you live on the west side of the Hudson River, WKN could be Weehawken, NJ, the terminal of the New York, West Shore and Buffalo, which was part of the New York Central. Knowing what town you live in would make it easy to confirm my suspicions. Posted Wednesday, October 23, 2019 by JN

A. Thanks everyone! I live in Wurtsoro, NY and found his in my backyard. Posted Sunday, October 27, 2019 by Kate

A. With Wurfsboro's location in the southeast of NY State, and with Weehawken being a quite possible reference, another interesting possibility is that this tag was related to the milk business. The Link describes how NYC ran an incredibly extensive daily milk train network to service the huge New York City dairy demand, up until the 1920's or so when trucks took over the business. Just one milk car could hold as many as 600 cans and each train sometimes had more than 20 such cars; an almost incredible number of items to track and account for on a daily basis. See Prior Q 2815 about milk can tags and it lists several other prior Q's. Some of those daily NYCRR trains originated as far away as Utica and Rome. The Link has some fascinating insight about how the NYC milk operation worked, including that the milk cars had to be loaded and iced by their train crews. Unfortunately the Link just talks about the milk being taken to 'New York' without describing how things worked at that end, but I don't think milk was handled in the limited space at Grand Central so Weehawken remains a good possibility.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, October 30, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3682 Tag Info/ID Needed  I was out with my metal detector in rural Kansas and found a railroad brass baggage tag. I can't positively figure out what the railroad line was. The tag is oval shaped and says 'M.C.R.RD'. The D in RD is smaller and underlined. Beneath the letters is the tag number and it has a slot at top for a presumably leather strap. I appreciate any help with an ID. Thanks!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, October 14, 2019 by TS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3681 Time Period of D&RGW Globe?  I have a CC tall globe D&RGWRR in a square panel. At the top in very small letters is M E G Co 2 (Macbeth Evens Glass Co). SAFETY FIRST is etched on the reverse. Any idea what time period this globe is from? TIA,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, October 14, 2019 by Ex Sou Ry   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. For a starting point MacBeth -Evans Glass was formed in 1899 Posted Monday, October 21, 2019 by COD

A. Looks like D&RG became D&RGW after WW1 about 1920 Posted Monday, October 21, 2019 by COD

A. Wikipedia says: "the D&RG went into receivership in July 1884 with court appointed receiver William S. Jackson in control. Eventual foreclosure and sale of the original Denver & Rio Grande Railway resulted within two years and the new Denver & Rio Grande Railroad took formal control of the property and holdings on July 14, 1886 with Jackson appointed as president." The full Wikipedia article is Link 1. I have found Wikipedia to be a tremendous resource for historical aspects. Thank goodness for the railfans who author those articles.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, October 26, 2019 by JMS

A. OOps, I left out the more important quote: "The United States Railroad Administration took over the D&RG during World War I. In 1918 the D&RG fell into receivership after the bankruptcy of Western Pacific. The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW or DRGW) was incorporated in 1920, and formally emerged as the new re-organization of the old Denver & Rio Grande Railroad on July 31, 1921." Posted Saturday, October 26, 2019 by JMS

A. Sorry, but that wiki entry continually contradicts itself when read carefully. The title under one postcard gives D&RGW when the card reads an older name. The D&RG (RR) extends to the D&RGW which is then called the Rio Grande Western Railway (??) in the same sentence. It seems to jump all over with the name order in a confusing manner. The best I get from the logo is the now D&RGW (RY) dates to 1908 and lasts until D&RGW (RR) in 1921-on. So shouldn't the D&RG (RR) already be gone at 1908?? They need to go back and clarify all that with one single agreed timeline..too many cooks in yhat dining car! Posted Monday, December 9, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Okay, perhaps it's just a particular sentence in the Royal Gorge Route section that should be re-written, along with checking captions against the images. Posted Monday, December 9, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3680 Station Lights?  Need help identifying what kind of lights these are.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, October 11, 2019 by Andy E   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. These are kerosene-fueled 'platform lamps' and were very common at stations before electricity was available, including at some very large union-station type operations. These lamps were also used as city streetlights and at commercial establishments such as hotels, etc. until electric lighting became common. There was a large market for these so most of the major lantern manufacturers made some version of this kind of lamp, and the lamps and parts such as globes turn up fairly frequently on the antiques market. Put 'platform lamp' in the search by word or phrase box to see a lot of our prior discussion of these. Q 3579 is an alternate way to get to the discussion string. And thank you for the excellent pic of them in use in a very typical way! Posted Friday, October 11, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3679 Bell ID and Advice Needed  This bell was mounted on a post in my grandparents yard for generations. I used to go out with my grandfather and ring it when I was a little fellow. He told me that it came off of a train. Ive always admired this bell. Yesterday was my birthday and my aunt gave it to me! The bell has been outside and neglected for years. Do I need to have it restored? I was thinking about placing it on a post in my yard too. Im open to suggestions and advice. I would like help in identifying this bell if anyone has any ideas. What is the bell made of? I was told by my aunt that the bell has some deck stain that accidentally got on it as you can see in the pictures. The bell measures just under 10 inches across at the base. Height of the bell 8 inches. Help appreciated,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, October 7, 2019 by John S   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  Put a magnet on the bell, if it is magnetic it is iron or steel, if not then it is brass or bronze. It appears to be nickel plated and showing rust around the rim and in the area where the clapper hits it so it is probably cast iron. The mount does not look like it came from a locomotive and the bell is also smaller than most locomotive bells. If you want to polish the bell try using some silver polish like Wright's or Weiman polish. They are not very abrasive and will not scratch or remove much of the nickel plating. The green oxidation which is inside of the bell looks like normal oxidized nickel, and if the bell is cast iron one step of the plating process might be to apply a thin copper strike on the bell before applying the nickel. I suspect that this is a very nice version of a farm bell.  Posted Tuesday, October 8, 2019 by KM

A. KM is right - this is too small for most railroad bells. I think its family history is much more important than what it was produced for. Another really great product for cleaning/restoring metal like this is BarKeepers Friend (see link 1) It's been around a long time and can't hurt the metal and it's readily available in stores and online. Wright's and Weiman are also good brands. If you bring the bell inside it won't deteriorate any farther. A professional restoration would be a huge expense - as KM suggests, work on it yourself first, you may be surprised. The recommended products won't hurt the metal. Just ALWAYS make sure that whatever you do will not cause damage. One thought - I would use bronze wool (or brass wool) on this rather than steel wool, which likely may leave scratches (Link 2). Best of luck and how fortunate to have such a wonderful remembrance of Grandpa!! Link 1  Link 2  Posted Tuesday, October 8, 2019 by JMS

 Q3678 White Coating on a PRR Casey  I am cleaning a dirty PRR Casey lantern with WD-40 and steel wool. The 'green' paint easily gave way to what appears to be a very durable white coating. What is going on? I certainly was not expecting the white coating.  Posted Saturday, October 5, 2019 by SB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. There is no way to know what that might be, without at least a picture. Posted Saturday, October 5, 2019 by RJMc

A. Here are some pictures. Link 1  Posted Monday, October 7, 2019 by SB

A. This has the look of metal which has been thru a rathre intense fire. The white would be the remains of the original zinc or tin coating which was oxidized (unevenly) during the heat of the fire and subsequent cooling exposed to air. Were there any other parts with the lantern -- such as a globe or brass parts such as the burner -- which either would not have survived a fire and/or would show other effects which might confirm having been in a fire?  Posted Monday, October 7, 2019 by RJMc

A. The original brass burner is in fine shape. The frame shows no sign of heat damage. While cleaning I noticed the white coating is missing up in the smoke dome and around the font all the way to the bottom where it joins with the lantern frame. I still believe the 'white' is a coating applied with the globe retainer and font installed, but with the top of the font opening closed to keep paint off the font. The original green paint is visible at the bottom of the font. I believe the black is/was generic black rattle can spray paint from the hardware store. Because the white coating is so hard and durable I was wondering if it was possible the lantern had been painted by the railroad to identify it as being reserved for some specific use. Posted Monday, October 7, 2019 by SB

A. It looks like white paint to me. Have you tried paint remover on it? WD40 and steel wool will remove some thin coat paint but old lead paint that's been on for year then paint remover is really the way to go. Once the paint is gone then you can clean it up with your WD and fine steel wool.  Posted Tuesday, October 8, 2019 by LC

A. I agree with LC - just a guess but maybe it is a primer coat of something. WD40 is not paint remover. We encountered a couple of lanterns like this years ago except with silver color - we decided it may have been an aircraft or special purpose stuff (like the "white" on yours?). It was impossible to get off, and trust me we tried everything. I do agree with the guess about the black being something a prior owner did, but is the "original green" paint really original? Lanterns left the factory in just metal and not painted; I suppose the RR could have painted this green upon receiving it. It sounds like a prior owner who took the lantern that may have had green on it, he removed most of the green, primed it with this white stuff and then spray painted it black. If this lantern was ours it probably would go into the paint remover dip bucket and see what happens.  Posted Tuesday, October 8, 2019 by JMS

A. While working on some 20th century silver (non-railroad) I decided to remove the blackening agent that had been applied to create an antique look which we might generally call fake-niello. I expect it was the manufacturer (a silversmithing firm) who put this on for marketing purposes. While the black came off easily, a white residue remained like a hard shell undercoat. Perhaps there was a product used commercially for a blackening agent that separated upon application and curing. Could this kind of substance have been applied here prior to the adding of the green paint? Might this have been available to a railroad's own shop forces? Posted Tuesday, December 3, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3677 Green Finish on Lanterns  What is the green colored finish that I find on some lanterns and parts. Is it tin or zinc or something else?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, September 27, 2019 by Lynn C.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. That is usually some variety of lacquer, shellac, or varnish coating applied--by painting it on or even by dipping into it--by some collectors, often on lanterns that have lost their original protective finishes from weathering and/or 'cleaning'. It usually does not contain any zinc or other metallic component but acts a sealer and changes the surface appearance. It is nominally supposed to be clear but tends to weather to the brownish color seen in your pix especially in very thick layers of the coating. Whether to, and how to, 'preserve' lanterns is a HOTLY (pun somewhat intended) debated topic with highly partisan opinions across a very wide spectrum of possible approaches and desired results. Just put the word 'lacquer' in the search by word box to see many, many prior Q's on this subject, and look at the Archives article in the Link. Although some will argue that this (do or don't)rises to a moral integrity issue, my own opinion is this is very much an 'eye of the beholder' area. But I would note that lanterns in regualar RR service were not coated this way, significantly because it would have cost the RR's a lot of money they were not willing to spend on their thousands of lanterns which frequently got damaged and thrown away.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, September 28, 2019 by RJMc

A. I would absolutely agree with RJMc. We see this occasionally, and what we have seen is on frames someone has attempted to "clean"/"restore." I don't know about shellac or varnish, which really aren't for metal, but "lacquer" a/k/a "clear coat" is easy to use and comes in spray cans. I think your pictures are an example of someone not knowing how to work with lacquer. In the first place, it looks like too many coats, to the point it looks gunky. The off color (intensified by multiple layers) has yellowed. Clear coating a frame is one of those "you get what you pay for" situations. If you use cheap clearcoat, it will yellow. Buy ONLY a high end brand that guarantees it will never yellow and buy a matte (not shiny/high gloss) finish - think "artist supply store" instead of "hardware store" to find it. The matte will be "just shiny enough" when it dries. Clear coat on a lantern wants to be like make-up on a woman: there, but not at all obvious. It is CRITICAL to spray it EXTREMELY LIGHTLY. Two or maybe three very lightest coats, at most - not one thick one. We agree with RJMc about "eye of the beholder" but clearcoating helps protect from rust and prolong the life of a valued antique without harming anything (because it can be removed). The finished frame should look as close as can be replicated to how it looked when it left the factory, except it's got this essentially invisible coating that will keep the tin from rusting. As in everything else, it's a shame when it's messed up by someone "cheaping out" or not knowing how to apply the product.  Posted Sunday, September 29, 2019 by JMS

A. Just to be clear, are you both saying that the appearance of apple green colors in the cavities of the surface (exploded view) are not in fact remnants of removed paint but rather are just a photographic illusion? Posted Monday, September 30, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Even looking on a very large monitor I don't see anything that looks like paint. But if there was any green paint, NYC would have been one that used it; 'Perlman green' was big for a while on the New York Central circa the 1960's, much later than this lantern. Posted Monday, September 30, 2019 by RJMc

A. I'm the person who posted this question. The green is not paint. It is something that can only be removed with acid or abrasion. The second photo was after the lantern had been immersed in lye and stripped of paint. I have found the green color on burners, founts, even bails. I have seen traces of this on approximately 15% of the 100 lanterns that I have cleaned. I'm surprised that no one else has any experience with this. Posted Tuesday, October 1, 2019 by MLC

A.  There are several metals that are used as plating coatings that oxidize to a green or gray/green color. They are nickel, copper, and tin. Perhaps you are seeing an effort on the part of lantern manufacturers to stop the rust of steel lantern parts by plating them. Also, when something is nickel plated it is common to plate it with copper first. Sulfer fumes in the air may cause or accelerate the corrosion process so an older lantern that was around coal smoke may show more of the corroded color. Sometimes when an item is galvanized by hot dipping it into molten zinc they may copper plate it first. This is known as a copper strike and it is almost always used when an item is decorative plated and a shiny surface is desired. There are several reasons for this, it is easier to polish out small defects in the surface and get a very shiny appearance because the copper is softer. It also does not take away from the thickness of the remaining structural metal. The electrolytic nickel coating adheres better to copper than it does to steel. So your lanterns may have been plated, or they might have used a different alloy in the sheet steel which contains more of those metals. Zinc from galvanizing will dissolve with hydrochloric or muriatic acid. Nickel, copper or tin will not dissolve, but the tarnish may be removed and that brings up a new layer of activated metal which will tarnish and corrode quickly.  Posted Tuesday, October 1, 2019 by KM

A.  The link is for a Canadian Government article about preservation of museum artifacts.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, October 1, 2019 by KM

A. I guessed at my answer from only seeing the photos. The weird color and finish looked to me just like lanterns we come across that have been clear coated (either by an amateur or with a brand that turns yellow with age). NO, I would not say this is remnants of removed paint, to me the photo looked like it is poor aging of a clearcoat that is still there on the metal -- especially since it seems to be all over, and can't be removed (I would ask an art specialty shop how to remove spray-on clear coat.) If in fact you have removed any kind of clear coating, then I have no clue what it is. An afterthought - where are you getting lye? It has been banned in the US for years, we have been unable to purchase it for years (not having any way to work through a government contract). Today's "lye" Is a joke and we have much better results with something else, but it sure is not the same performance as good old Red Devil was.  Posted Tuesday, October 8, 2019 by JMS

A. That 'good old Red Devil lye' is just a commercial grade of pure Sodium Hydroxide (chemical formula NaOH) flakes or powder. 100% Sodium Hydroxide powder, flakes, or very concentrated water solution (almost syrup) is commonly available very inexpensively by the pound as toilet bowl cleaner in most 'Big Box' home supply stores and in most supermarkets, at least in my neighborhood (Maryland)..WARNING: although it may be commonly available, it is still EXTREMELY corrosive to skin and aluminum metal, and must be handled with due respect or severe chemical burns can result.  Posted Wednesday, October 9, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3676 Flagman's Kit  Does anyone know approximately how old this flagman's kit is? I have only ever seen one other canvas kit, which was marked for the Milwaukee Road. I was also told that this came off of the Milwaukee Road. Were canvas flagman's kits perhaps just a Milwaukee Road thing, or has anyone else seen them from other railroads?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, September 23, 2019 by KO   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I had never seen one in canvas before. The metal cases would be a lot better for protecting torpedoes against accidental detonation which could be catastrophic. I suspect also its because railroad fusees, unlike many highway flares, are not usually coated with wax and are therefore are less waterproof. That's probably OK because the fusees were/are always protected inside a vehicle until within a few minutes of use, they get used up and the supply gets renewed at a fairly rapid rate, and that way they probably cost a little less.  Posted Tuesday, September 24, 2019 by RJMc

A. Maybe using the ultra-violet light test to check for synthetic materials content could help? Supposedly this would give you a not before date if there are man-made elements. I recently aquired an Olin fusee specifically because it was marked S.P. Co. for Southern Pacific. (Not sure how often marked ones surface, but expect they are not that common.) It was dated Oct. 70, and maybe thus was the practice around that time? Your kit makes me think about the decline of domestic metalware manufacturers while on-shore produced cotton canvas remained quite viable just right past the Viet Nam era. (Fakey green canvas knockoffs of boy scout type day-packs begin to surface around late 1970's, right as the book-bag craze is about to jump-up with copies of Kelty day-packs. Japan or Hong Kong were sending these canvass bags...they had already long done canteens and kero-lamps.) Perhaps there was a small window for domestic canvass flagman's kits...doubtful that foreign makers were the source, but anything's possible after WWII ended. Any remnants of where manufacturer tags might have been attached inside? Posted Tuesday, September 24, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. One other thought comes to mind: From about 1914 to the 1970's, the Milwaukee had that seven hundred or so miles of electrified territory under 3,000 Volt DC catenary, at a time when freight cars all had top walkways. And that was almost all single track in mountains where there was not a lot of wide right of way to walk on the ground around the train. The canvas flagging kit is probably an electrical safety measure, similar to the wood or fiber-insulated lantern handles used on many electrified railroads and interurbans, intended to reduce the chances of getting electocuted if/when it became necessary to go on top of the cars.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, September 24, 2019 by RJMc

A. Thanks everyone for the comments. I have not tested with a UV light yet, need to get one and do that. It is most definitely original and not a foreign product, as it is still loaded with spike-bottom fusees, torpedoes (these will soon get disposed of), a deck of playing cards, and a flag. The fusees all have a date of 1965 on them. It came from Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. The only other cloth kit I have seen was in a store near the Dells. So, maybe it is a local thing. The idea that it is for insulation of electric subdivisions would make sense, however there were no nearby electric subdivisions around that area that I am aware of. Of course, there is a chance that it has been displaced from its original location. Posted Wednesday, September 25, 2019 by KHO

A. I have an NPRR canvas flagmans bag. I have no idea the age on it, but I do know its real as I have seen another since I acquired mine and they were identical. Posted Monday, October 14, 2019 by DPR

 Q3675 Need help identifying Racor 112 'D'model  Can you please help me identify this Racor signal stand? I have looked everywhere on the Internet and only came up with an ad in a magazine from 1946. I'm looking to find out if it is a signal or Derail. Is the right top? plate correct? What year it is? Any other info. The 112 'D' literally is nowhere to be found. Wonder if that's a good thing. Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, September 21, 2019 by KL   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hi, First off, I have one. Ive had it for almost 50 years. It had been part of the leftovers from a train wreck where a train of ore cars (Taconite) had apparently gone through a switch that was not properly aligned. There were Taconite pellets everywhere (I still have a handful of them as well). The wreck had occurred several years before and the all of the torn-up track had just been bull-dozed off of the right of way with all of the pieces still bolted together. A friend and I used a lot of WD-40 and some big wrenches to get it out of the jumbled mess. Unfortunately, we didnt even think to take any before pictures but the actuating excentric at the bottom was still attached to the rod attached to the switch points. Im in complete agreement that information is/has been really hard to find. But then folks that need a switch stand know where to shop. This is not an item of mass appeal. Our Racor has been mounted by the front door (to call the kids in from evening play viewed from up and down the street. Green - Keep playing, Red - Come in) in some locations and at the foot of the driveway other times. It was acquired in Michigan and has traveled to Washington State, North Dakota, Denver, back to Washington State, San Diego, Huntsville AL, Wichita KS and North Pole AK where its still visible on Google Earth Street View. Currently located North if Ft. Worth TX and cleaned up, painted and mounted once again just yesterday. Its definitely a conversation piece and at 300 lbs + nobody has every tried to make off with it. Posted Friday, October 25, 2019 by Mark

A. Well, I too have been looking (off and on) for info on the Racor that Ive had since 1975. I posted the above response and thought I'd post a picture as well. Moved from Alaska to Haslet TX a couple of years ago and finally got around to getting it cleaned up, repainted and mounted just yesterday. We have this small 'flower bed' and didnt really want to plant anything there so ....... It still needs 'ballast' around the ties. The red aspect has been replaced. The original was lost in a move sometime in the past. The green aspect is rectangular and is only displayed on the one side. 'RACOR' is cast into the right leg at the bottom and '112 D' is immediately below the top plate. Link 1  Posted Monday, October 28, 2019 by Mark

 Q3674 RR Signal ID?  Here are pictures of a railroad signal light that I have had collecting dust in my garage for decades. I'd appreciate any help in identifying it. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, September 17, 2019 by Dale H   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is one form of 'dwarf' signal. If the 6 lenses in the round part, when lit inline two at a time from behind, would show 3 different colors it would be a 'color position light dwarf signal.' These were used by several different RR's, among them the B&O and related lines, among others. The rectangular box added on top, with the star-shaped cutouts, is unusual and probably served a special function. It is particularly unusual to have the one star-shaped indication pointing the opposite direction from the main signal. Someone may well recognize which RR used this kind of indication and maybe even where they used it.  Posted Tuesday, September 17, 2019 by RJMc

A. I would take it this is Union Switch & Signal? Posted Wednesday, September 18, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Some 1600 viewable c.1960 images held by Cornell (Link 1) that might yield a match somewhere in there. Link 1  Posted Friday, September 20, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3673 1921 Teapot: An Alton Logo?  Designed in 1918 and produced with 1921 date box, the letters in the logo match a Chicago & Alton uniform button (Scovill), but without the ampersand here. Though the unusual horned 'A' was also used by the Arlington Club of Portland Oregon, the design is not a match. Could this be from the great post-war shuffle to get passenger services re-built as McAdoo released his grip?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, September 17, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. An additional entwined "CA" monogram (no ampersand) was found contained in the center of a Chicago & Alton logo on the Chicagology site (Link 1)...must scroll down a ways. The letters are plain but the set-up is the same. The old Alton Union Depot (lost in 1956) apparently held a hotel for which little can be traced. It looks to be above the station and possibly connected to the adjoining tower structure. Doesn't seem to be listed in 1917 Hotel Redbook, when the city already had more accomodations in operation. Link 1  Posted Tuesday, September 17, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. The logo mentioned was also found in the 1893 O.G. Here is (Link 1) a like monogrammed button with the legs crossing as in the early versions. Other buttons on Worthpoint show a reversing of the legs as on the teapot (left leg forward, right backward). Why the change and when is unknown. The road changed ownership and control a few times. Link 1  Posted Tuesday, September 17, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3672 Passenger Car Lighting  Recently it came to me regarding early train history, that there came a point that early US railroads expanded their route schedules to include night time schedules. Freight routes always could run at night since pigs, bars of soap, bottles of whiskey or barrels of glass never needed light to make the trip. However I suspect paying passengers required & possibly even demanded passenger coach lighting! I was totally unable to find any info on the Internet on the chronological use of passenger car lighting types, until passenger cars were equipped with passenger car generators for electric lighting. Might you have or know where to find the evolution of passenger car lighting up until electric car generators were installed? Thanks a BUNCH for any offerings you may have.  Posted Saturday, September 7, 2019 by JRS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The best place to start would be the book "The American Railroad Passenger Car" by John H. White, Jr. John White for many years was a curator in the American History Museum of the Smithsonian. In hard cover this is a large-format book about 2.5" thick which answrs in incredible detail exactly the kind of question you pose, with many drawings and photographs. But it covers not only lighting, but heating, ventilation, windows, seats, wheels, truck assemblies, body structural issues, etc etc to cover almost everything about the American passenger car. The hardbound book is so large, expensive, and fairly hard to use that they reprinted it in soft cover, but split it into two parts to make each half more manageable (When you look on the web, note you need both Pars I and II to get the whole content.) He produced a similar book on freight cars. Also put "car light" into the search box to see prior Q's on this subject here at the Q&A Site. And I am sure there are other answers here but it takes some creative searching to find them.  Posted Sunday, September 8, 2019 by RJMc

A.  John White's book is a great resource, see pages 414 to around page 429. A library that has on line service may be able to provide you with those pages. Another good resource is Lucius Beebe's book "Mr. Pullman's Elegant Palace Car" published in 1961. Beebe's book has many official Pullman photos in it that show the interiors of the cars and the lighting. Prior to electric lighting, kerosene lamps, candles and gas systems like Pintsch gas or Frost Carburetter, (that is the correct spelling), gasoline vapor systems were used. See Q 809 and Q 2326 for more information about those. Some Pintsch gas fixtures were made to use both the gas and electric bulbs in the same device. Posted Monday, September 9, 2019 by KM

A.  The Cleveland Public Library has John H. White's Book "The American Railroad Passenger Car" available in their catalog and on line so that you can Google preview it. Many of the other books by John White are also available. I did not see Lucius Beebe's book, "Mr.Pullman's Elegant Palace Car" listed at the Cleveland Library.  Posted Saturday, September 14, 2019 by KM

 Q3671 Adlake Office Stand Lamp  I received a lamp from someone that I believe may be an Adlake product. I found a lamp in the Adlake 1907 catalog showing the exact same cast iron base. The 1907 lamp is listed as having a polished brass bowl. This lamp has a steel bowl or font. It may be nickel plated as there is no sign of rust or other degradation. Does anyone have a later Adlake catalog that may have this Office Stand Lamp listed in it? If not are there any thoughts as to whether it may be an Adlake item? I realize they may have bought it from someone else and then retailed it.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, September 6, 2019 by Drew   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. O.K. I have a partial answer to my own question. I found this font for sale on Ebay in a drop in form and clearly marked by Adams and Westlake. The font is identical to the one on my lamp. In making the stand lamp the manufacturer's mark would be obliterated by the base attachment to the font. The base is identical to that of the No. 163 Office Stand Lamp in the 1907 catalog. This is definitely a Adlake product. Question is can anyone tell me it's catalog number? Posted Sunday, February 16, 2020 by Drew Meyer