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.
brochure shown at right is an example of the marvelous commercial
illustrations that were often used in railroad advertising during
the early decades of the 20th century. It advertises Southern Pacific's "Circle
Tours" around the United States and features a festive trackside
scene just before train departure. Unfolded, It is 8" by 9" and
dates to 1927. Click on thumbnail image for a larger version.
lanterns are among the most desirable of railroadiana categories,
not only because of their appearance but because they represent a
particularly historical era of railroading. Most, though not all,
date from the late decades of the 19th century when railroads were
in their most extensive construction period (see
more). The brass-top lantern shown at right is particularly rare.
It is marked for the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad and was
possibly manufactured by the Kelly Lamp Company. Image shown by permission;
click on it for a larger version.
Badge. The railroad police badge shown at right is marked
for the New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway and is both
beautifully designed and well made. It is also a reproduction.
Fake or reproduction badges are a big problem for the hobby and
require special diligence on the part of collectors. Read more
on this badge and others like it. Image courtesy of Tony Carp.
not a particularly unusual item, the use of this Adams & Westlake
switch lamp is a bit unusual. The owner uses it as a yard ornament
in his garden and keeps it continually lit. At night when there is
snow on the ground, the soft amber glow of the lamp is particularly
beautiful and a reminder of how rail yards once looked when kerosene-fueled
switch lamps were in use. Updated information from the owner: "This came off a Nickel Plate spur line in Northern Indiana in the mid 70's and has been in place for 18 years as part of my landscape. It has red and amber lenses, burns 24/7 and consumes right at a gallon of K-1 kerosene a month. It has never blown out in the worst of storms. It has only run out of fuel a handful of times when I've been away on an extended vacation. Once I got back from a 10 day absence and while the wick had charcoaled up with some crusty remnant burnt felt, there was still a hint of a half flame burning."
Image and information courtesy of Tim Eisinger. Click on
thumbnail image for larger version.
an unusual item from the car department. Called a brass, it was one
of those "wear" parts between the car body and the axle.
Embossed markings include "Sunset Central" (the railroad), "Magnus" (the
manufacturer) and "Houston" (the manufacturer's location).
The Southern Pacific Railroad used the "Sunset Central" moniker
on its consolidated Texas lines from 1911 to about 1920. Image courtesy
of Ken Stavinoha. Click on image for larger version.
different types of china were used in railroad dining car service
beyond the usual plates, cups and saucers. Shown at right is a rather
unusual piece -- a footed egg cup in the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie
Railroad's "Youngstown" pattern made by Mayer China and
dating possibly to the late 1920's. Photo courtesy of Cabin Class
Collectibles. Click on image for larger version.
Plate. Builders plates were affixed to the sides of rolling
stock to indicate the manufacturer, date of construction and other
important information. Locomotive builders plates from the major
manufacturers are relatively common although highly sought after
by collectors. The plate shown here is much rarer since it comes
from a railroad's own shops -- in this case the Sayre shops of
the Lehigh Valley Railroad. The plate was attached to one of the
railroad's R-1 class steam engines which were rebuilt at Sayre
to N-6's. Photo and item from Greg Deibler. Click on image for
addition to fine china, railroad dining cars also used beautiful
crystal in their table services. The elegant water pitcher shown
at right was used on the Northern Pacific Railway. Typical of many
railroad dining car pitchers, this piece is constructed of a strong
metal frame and heavy duty glass -- a combination necessary to withstand
repeated use on a moving dining car. Photo by permission. Click on
image for larger version
| Trophy. Railroad
YMCA's were a common feature of towns that had railroad yards or
terminals. Their purpose was to provide crews with clean, affordable
accomodations that were free of alcohol and other temptations. It
seems that some YMCA's even sponsored recreational activities, as
evidenced by the trophy cup shown at right. The wording reads: " PRR
YMCA Potato Race won by [name]. PRR stands for the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Photo courtesy of Bob Niblick. Click on image for larger version.
lantern at right is a tall-globe, bellbottom model manufactured by
the Steam Gauge & Lantern Company. It likely dates to late 1890's
and has a red-etched globe and twist-off bell. Both frame and globe
are marked for the Western Maryland Railroad. Steam Gauge & Lantern
examples are rather rare, since the company was bought out by R.E.
Dietz in 1896. Click on image for a larger version. Photo by Rob
lamp at right is from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and is rather
unusual because of the shape of its double brackets -- used to hang
the lamp on rolling stock such as a caboose. The two brackets allowed
the lamp to be aligned in a couple of different ways depending on
what signal aspect was desired. Click on image for a larger version.
Photo by Howard Holland.
railroadiana items are as elegant and attractive as railroad china.
This beautiful compote was used in dining car service of the Boston & Albany
Railroad and is an example of the line's "Berkshire" pattern.
Click on image for larger version. Photo courtesy of Bill Lyles.
at right is a rare brass doorknob from the New York, Ontario & Western
Railway. The "W" within the "O" was the company's
logo. Brass doorknobs like this -- cast with a railroad's logo or
name -- were typically made for the interior of office buildings
or stations rather than for rolling stock. Click on image for larger
version. Collection of Clyde Conrow; photo by Tom Stranko.
at right is an exceptionally rare and old cast iron railroad crossing
sign. This is a double sided sign that is approximately 30"x36".
Signs like these were used in the New England area and Mid-Atlantic
states (including on the Delaware & Hudson and Western Maryland)
from the turn-of-the-century until the 50's and 60's, usually at
rural crossings. Photo and information courtesy of George Tsai. Click
on image for larger version.