This page shows railroadiana items of unusual interest. These images
were sent in by collectors for others to enjoy; the items are not
for sale. As images are replaced on the "front page" of
the website, they will be archived here. See links to other pages
of Featured Items at the bottom of the page. A special thanks
to those who have sent in images.
| China. Of
the many china patterns used in railroad dining car service, the
Union Pacific Railroad's "Historical" pattern was one of
the most elegant and ornate. The pattern features Union Pacific's "Overland
Shield" logo and various scenes depicting the early American
West and the coming of the transcontinental railroad. It was first
used in April, 1927 on the Overland Limited and shortly thereafter
on the Los Angeles Limited. Images by permission; click on images
for larger versions.
Uniform. At one time railroads sponsored bands, sports
teams, and other organizational activities for employees. The item
shown here is a reminder of that era -- a beautiful, dark green
band jacket from the Lehigh Valley Railroad Sayre, PA shops band.
There were 19 of these uniforms produced for the band to wear for
the dedication of the shops in 1904. The band stayed in service
until about 1928. The jacket has "LVRR" embroidered on
each side of the collar in gold threading. Images courtesy of Greg
Deibler; click on images for larger versions.
the early days of railroad operations, safety and efficiency became
possible only with the development of accurate timekeeping. While
the railroad watch was the basic tool for keeping schedules, the
depot clock was also an important means of keeping time, particularly
for the traveling public. Depot clocks ranged from humble "school
house" clocks in country stations to large, ornate wall clocks
in metropolitan stations and offices of railroad officials. Some
were marked for a railroad; others were not. The example shown at
right is a Seth Thomas #2 marked for the Santa Fe Railway. Today,
clocks like this are much in demand, but collectors should be aware
that many standard wall clocks have been "doctored" with
new labels to look like railroad clocks. Image courtesy of Bill and
Sue Knous; click on image for larger version.
lamps fueled by kerosene or lamp oil were once a common sight in
railroad yards across the country. By the late 1960's or so, most
had been phased out in favor of reflectors which did not require
maintenance or refueling. The colorful example shown at right is
from a small railroad -- the Akron, Canton & Youngstown -- and
has red and yellow "targets" for signal indication during
the daytime. It was seen at the Columbus, Ohio 2004 Railroadiana
Show. Photo by Rob Hoffer. Click on the image for a larger version.
Can. Railroads once did a brisk business in transporting
milk from rural producers to urban markets. Some of this business
was handled with dedicated rolling stock, but some of it was handled
with milk cans delivered by farmers to the nearby station to be
picked up by the daily local. These milk cans can still be found
with tags on them identifying the railroad and other pertinent
ownership information. The can at right has a brass tag instructing "when
empty, return to Mrs. V.B. Burdick, Hilliards, PA , B&LE" The
latter initials refers to the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad.
Photo by and collection of Gary Moser.
| China. The
platter shown at right is both very rare and unusually large, dating
from about 1900 and measuring 16 by 11 inches. It is an example of
the "Cape Charles" pattern used by the New York, Philadelphia & Norfolk
Railroad. Given its size, this platter was almost certainly a table
service piece rather than an individual place setting piece. The
markings on the back identify it as ..."M China, Made By Wright
Tyndale and Van Roden, Philadelphia for NYP&NRR". Click
on either image for a larger version. Photos by and collection of
the many lantern models that were developed for the railroads, one
of the most unusual was the "Twisted Wire" model manufactured
by the Defiance Lantern and Stamping Company. Its distinguishing
feature was the use of twisted wire for the verticals of the frame,
presumably for added strength. No other manufacturer did this. Since
surviving examples are rather rare and are marked for only a few
Northeastern and Midwestern railroads, it seems that this lantern
design was not much of a hit. Shown at right is an example marked "B&LE
RR" for the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad. Photo by permission.
Click on image for larger version.
Lock. With the growing popularity of railroadiana collecting,
it seems that more and more fakes are hitting the market. An example
is the fake lock shown at right. It has "TEXAS-MEXICO R.R." engraved
on it and is similar in style to other counterfeit locks that have
brass tags affixed to them. These are believed to be modern imports
and do not actually resemble any genuine railroad lock. The remedy
to the problem of fakes is self-education and getting the word
out. Photo by
permission. Click on image for larger version.
| Postcard. Postcards
showing street scenes from the early 20th century are rather common,
but those marked for a railroad are a bit harder to find. Railroads
issued such postcards to promote travel along their lines. The example
at right shows Riverside Avenue in Spokane, Washington on the mainline
of the Northern Pacific Railway. It features a horse-drawn carriage
and the NP "monad" logo. Today, the Burlington Northern
Santa Fe Railroad -- NP's eventual successor -- still runs a lot
of trains through downtown Spokane, but it has been nearly a century
since Riverside Avenue looked anything like this. Click on the image
for a larger version.
| Stove. Here
is a stove marked "B&LE" for the Bessemer & Lake
Erie Railroad, accompanied by a rare Bessemer-marked pumpkin. The
stove is marked in 7 places with "B&LE". The base was
made for display by a sheet metal worker (not by the railroad) and
has a laser-cut Bessemer logo with a copper background. OK, OK, for
the record, the pumpkin was not officially marked by the railroad
but it sure looks good! It weighs 45 pounds. Photo by and collection
of Gary Moser. Click on the image for a larger version.
of the usual railroad name, the 1908 pass shown at right indicates
a route, the "Sunset Route". The back of the pass indicates
the railroads involved, the Galveston, Harrisburg, & San Antonio
Railway, which used "Sunset Route" as its word logo, and
the Texas & New Orleans Railroad, which acquired the former line.
Image shown by permission; click on it for a larger version.