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Welcome to our Question & Answer Bulletin Board -- a bulletin board for collectors and anyone else to post questions about railroadiana. It 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 25 Questions:

 Q2808 Headlamps  Can someone please help me with information on these headlamps? Thanks   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, August 30, 2014 by Clinton   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  Here's some crude French to English tranlation for starters. Brevetes means patented, SGDG has something to do with French patents. You might try to do a search through the French patent office website, although I tried and information was only available if I had the patent date and not just the name that the patent was granted to Ferblantier is tinsmith, lampiste is lamplighter. Maison Chatel Jeune Faucon made marine lanterns, I was able to find one shown at Collector's Weekly website but no information on it. That makes sense though. look at those anchors that are on the tag. These do look like French locomotive headlamps that sit on the pilot beam. See Q 1045 and 1153 in the Archives for other questions about lamps from France. Posted Monday, September 1, 2014 by KM

A.  Brevetes SGDG is close to "Patents Aplied For", SGDG translates to Sans Guarantee Du Government. Posted Monday, September 1, 2014 by KM

A. These are a pair of French locomotive headlamps, quite early examples and, assuming that there are no railway initials stamped on them, possibly from minor lines. In spite of some "wear & tear", to be expected, since they are well over 100 years old, they are very attractive and historic lamps.  Posted Monday, September 1, 2014 by JAJ

 Q2807 Bell Question  I have a bell that I believe is from a locomotive but need some help identifying it. It weighs about 60 lbs is marked on the top with this serial # 732418 then the Pennsylvania keystone symbol and then the letter C. The bell was bought in Pennsylvania. It is just the bell with nothing else. Thank you for any help!  Posted Monday, August 25, 2014 by Bill   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2806 PRR Marker Light  The PRR had the claw footed marker lamps early 1900's. The tops of these have numbers. I have seen some of the bases with numbers running top to bottom. I also saw some of the bases with no numbers. Why is this?  Posted Saturday, August 23, 2014 by TW   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2805 Signal Green / Kelly Green Globes  Why would a railroad use a Kelly Green Globe instead of the usual Signal Green Globe? Both have a difference under a kerosene flame. What was the significance of this if there is an answer? Thank You.  Posted Saturday, August 16, 2014 by Keith   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hi Keith; can you say a little more about where you have seen Kelly Green globes so we can more specifically answer your question. ---- .... Red Beard Posted Sunday, August 17, 2014 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Red Beard, Look on this website under "Globe Basics". It shows both colors side by side. Also on this website under globe markings 5 3/8 inch globes, it lists that PRR as using a Kelly green globe. Under lanterns, a Kettle Valley Adlake Reliable with a Kelly green globe. I also have globes of both colors in 5 3/8 inches along with a Handlan marked 4 1/2 inch kelly green globe. Books do not mention this. I always wondered if this had to do with outdoor weather and surrounding vegetation involving color refraction with the color spectrum so it would not be mistaken for blue. Thank you Keith Posted Sunday, August 17, 2014 by Keith

A. Keith: Great question! -- Thanks for the clarification about them being tall globes. -- SEE: Questions 1730, 1891, & 2020, for some additional discussion on Green Globes. -- Over the centuries, creating colored glass has been an art and mystery full of closely guarded secrets. It wasn't until the early 1900s when Corning Glass invested quite a bit of time, money and scientific investigation into producing colored glass of standardized color and reasonable clarity, that standardized signal colors were made available for railroad signaling. This was the birth of what we now call "Signal Green". Signal Green itself has changed a bit over the years too; becoming a little lighter and clearer (less murky) so it would transmit more light, making the lantern light brighter. -- The document I quote in Q1730, a history of the Corning Glass company, states that in the late 1800s, Corning was producing 32 different shades of green glass for railroad signaling. This was because different railroads had, independently, chosen various shades of green for their own "standard color". -- "Signal Green" was introduced in about 1905. As the short globe lanterns didn't come into existence until, ..what?, the 1920s I think; there are no legitimate short globes in "Kelly Green / Grass Green" colors, as those shades of green were phased out, railroad by railroad, in just a few years after the introduction of the standardized "Signal Green" color; well before the production of the first short globe lanterns. -- Tall Globes are a whole other story. Tall globes were produced in all of the above mentioned 32 different shades of green, and likely a few additional shades of green as well. As tall globe lanterns survived past the introduction of "Signal Green", some globes for those lanterns were produced in the new "Signal Green" color. The darker and "greener" shades of green globes were made prior to the nationwide adoption of Signal Green. The old shades of green that you mention were gone by about 1914 on all American railroads as all American railroads had adopted the new standard colors from Corning by that time.. --- to clear up a misconception about "Signal Green"; the blue-green color was NOT produced to appear "Green" with a kerosene flame. It was carefully chosen to be easily identifiable at as great a distance as possible and still remain the same perceived color at that distance. -- The "Kelly Green / Grass Green" colors of the 1800s tended to be murky, not visible at any great distance and many shades tended to separate and appear yellowish at a distance, literally changing color as you got farther and farther away from the lantern or lamp. "Signal Green" could be seen and identified at a good distance and still retained the same perceived color hue whether close up or far away. ---- .... Red Beard  Posted Monday, August 18, 2014 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Red Beard, Thank you very much for all the information. I will take note of all this for reference. About six months ago I found the patent information on the signal green color and cannot locate it again. I remember it was invented by a professor at Cambridge or Cornell University around 1906-08. It also stated why this particular color was chosen in order to get as true a green as possible with a kerosene flame. The signal green even differed between manufacturers. Adlake used a dark blue green or teal color whereas Handlans color is more of a green blue or jade green. I will look up the information you gave and try to find that patent information. Thank you Keith Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2014 by Keith

A. Hey Keith, I think you will enjoy this government document on "Color Designations For Lights" ---- .... Red Beard Link 1  Posted Friday, August 22, 2014 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Note to responders: If you type a web link in, make sure that the full URL is used, including the prefacing "http://" or "https://" . When this part is left off, the server assumes a local path which results in a "404" error -- "not Found". Thanks. Posted Friday, August 22, 2014 by Web Editor

A. Red beard, Link 1 works fine. The article is very interesting in that it divides colors into chromatic separation and how the eye sees the chromatics. Purple is interesting in that railroads never had a true purple. It was always a cobalt that allowed red to mix with the blue in spots creating the purplish color as observed chromatically by the human eye. I saved the article on my permanent screen for reference. Thank you very much. Keith Posted Saturday, August 23, 2014 by Keith

A. Hello Keith and Red Beard,What I found most interesting about this document was the fact that now we know that there were indeed 2 different signal colors-blue and purple.Everyone seemed to call blue lenses,kerosene purple,which was not correct at all.Interestingly enough,I have seen numerous Corning and Kopp signal lenses and roundels,with inspection tags stating AAR Tested PURPLE but never a tag stating AAR Tested BLUE.I worked with this signal glassware for decades and this is my observation.How about you other collectors out there ? Comments ?  Posted Sunday, August 24, 2014 by DJB

A. DJB, That's true you usually only see tags saying, Tested purple, or Tested Lunar White. Most others will say, AAR Tested along with the government number. . Some of the purple and lunar white will have this imprinted on the edge of the glass also. Now........into chromatics. Cobalt when viewed with a light containing blue itself will show a pinkish cast. This allows red wave length absorbsipn, makes the flame appear white and only then allows the color blue to be seen with the eye. On the purple tested this pink color in the glass is left out allowing the red wave length to go thru, mix with the blue and allow that pinkish blue to go thru allowing the eye to see a purplish glow. Red plus Blue = Purple. That is on of the reasons you never see other stickers with, Tested Red, Blue, etc. They already conform to the government specifications and will have the number written below AAR Tested. I have also seen kerosene pink, lunar blue ...........and it seems no one can define these odd or made up colors either. Thank you Keith  Posted Sunday, August 24, 2014 by Keith

 Q2804 Lamp ID Needed  I have a B&O tail or caboose lantern made by Adlake. Most caboose lanterns only have one or two mounting brackets but this one has 4, one on each corner of the lantern. It has me confused as I've never seen one before and can find nothing in any books I have or an internet search. I know we can't ask about value but can you offer how rare or common this is? There are 3 small blue/green lenses and one larger red lens. As always, I appreciate your help.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, August 14, 2014 by JC   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  Lamps like yours are rare, unusual and very interesting pieces. These show up on eBay every now and then and I've seen only a half dozen or so over the years; ..which is very few, as I've viewed and studied well over a thousand switch, class and marker lamps on there, and that thousand I've taken the time to really study is a small fraction of the lamps that have been listed on eBay in that time. As I recall, all of these unusual lamps were listed as being B&O, so my best guess is that this was a design unique to the B&O. Why the B&O fancied this particular arrangement is likely lost with the ages, or hopefully, buried in some bulletin a paper collector may have squirreled away somewhere. As far as I know, the football shaped indentation extending above and below the green lenses are unique to these lamps as well. **A photo of the interior of your lamp would be helpful !** -- Notice the legs holding the cap to the lamp; they are on the outside of the vent cone. That indicates the age to be between the early 1900s and the mid 1920s. As I recall, some of the similar B&O lamps I've seen had those cap legs inserted down through the mouth of the vent cone and attached to the inside of the cone. That means those lamps were from the late 1890s to the early 1900s -- Regarding its value: for people who want to insure an item, I suggest doing an ongoing search on eBay for similar lamps (which may take a while for this piece). Join eBay, save the item to your eBay account "Watch List", and track the eventual final sale price through your account, save the page, and see if your insurance company will accept that as a documented insurable value. ..very cool piece!! ---- .... Red Beard  Posted Saturday, August 16, 2014 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. I am no expert by any means but you might want to look at as many B&O cabooses as possible for a for a possible photograph of one in actual use or the architecture of a caboose for its possible use. Thank you Keith. Posted Saturday, August 16, 2014 by Keith

A. Red Beard - Thank you so much for the information. It was helpful to know some history and mystery behind the lantern. You brought up some things that I did not notice. It will not allow me to attach a picture so I would be happy to email it to you. My email is rockee40@comcast.net.  Posted Sunday, August 17, 2014 by Red Beard

A.  JC; The round body Adlake lamps (switch, marker or signal) in the late 1890s that had the cap legs inserted down the mouth of the vent cone, were some of the first round bodied lamps railroads used. Earlier lamps had flat sides and a square box like body. Your lamp represents the next easily noticeable design change with the legs on the outside of the vent cone. The early 'round body' lamps were more air-tight than the old square body 'box-style' lamps. -- Take a look at the bottom of the page on 'Link 1' to see early 'box-style' marker lamps. -- The "new" round body markers offered many advantages; one being, you didn't have to cut a hole in the side of the car to accommodate the lamp. - With the advent of the round body, outside mounted markers, came the possibility of being able to rotate the lamp and thusly change which lens pointed to the rear of the train; so the rear facing color could be changed easily. --- The four mounting brackets on your lamp are clearly an early, non mechanically moving, structurally very solid and pretty much fool-proof way to achieve that rotation. -- Railroads liked things that were structurally solid and therefore long lasting and harder to break. They also liked things that were fool-proof. My guess would be that the B&O official that chose this early standard design with four individual brackets, saw it as being very durable and less prone to problems than a lamp that rotated and needed to securely index and lock in position in a round bracket; as do the markers we are more familiar with. -- Other uniquely road specific lamps are well known: The "cookie-cutter cap" home shop made lamps of all kinds on the Milwaukee, the dual mounting arm markers on the AT&SF that would accommodate both the 1800s vintage slotted flat plate style car brackets and the more familiar and smaller cast car bracket, the D&RGW's Handlan Class Lamps with the unique 'Radial Fresnel' lenses { http://www.lanternnet.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=WKL&Product_Code=HRL26&Category_Code=MRG } -- (the address being too long auto-link to!) ** can anybody think of some others?** ---- ....Red Beard  Link 1  Posted Sunday, August 17, 2014 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. in the above, I probably should have said "Cylindrical Body" not round body, as some later lamps, such as the 1112 have a spherical, or 'round' section where the lenses attach. ---- ....Red Beard Posted Sunday, August 17, 2014 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

 Q2803 PRR Key Manufacturer?  I just purchased a PRR key. It is a coach or caboose key. It is marked S&M Mfg Co. Philadelphia,PA. It that Stuart & Masterson? Any clue to the age of this key? Thank you for any assistance you can supply me.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, August 11, 2014 by JN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Its actually Stuart & Mattson. I see ads for their products in the 1880's.  Posted Tuesday, August 12, 2014 by DA

 Q2802 Bell  A good friend brought this bell to my shop and asked if I could get it working. He stated that he acquired the bell from his late friend who was a retired railroad fireman. His friend told him it came from a steam locomotive, possibly on the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. Acting on the assumption (seldom a good idea) that the number stamped on the bell might reference the train it was used on, I found a 1921 photograph of a D & RG steam locomotive number 727 on a University of Denver website and, voila! Sure looks like this bell to me! The bell also has the word Brady embossed on the inside, as seen in the attached photo. I assumed this might be the name of the bell's maker, but have been unable to find any information about it. Having made two assumptions already, I decided to make a third and assume you might shed some light on what has been a delightful curiosity for me thus far. Everything I have learned to date has come from perusing your Q & A archives. Wonderful stuff! Thank you!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, August 11, 2014 by John   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2801 RR Sign 'Cat Eyes'  I have a white railroad sign with cat eyes, but some are damaged and need replacing. I took one good one off and it is stamped Grote 3F. Are replacement cat eyes still being produced? I want them to match the ones already on the sign. The Grote ones have a screw on the back that is secured by a bolt on the back of the sign.  Posted Saturday, August 9, 2014 by CC   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Check eBay at least twice every week. You should be able to find an exact replacement if you search continuously, as they come up over time. ---- .... Red Beard Posted Saturday, August 9, 2014 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

 Q2800 Square Bottom Lantern  My father in law has a lantern. On the top has DIETZ in the center. Bottom has N. Y. U.S.A and 4 stars on the sides, 2 at 2:30 and 3:30, and 2 at 8:30 and 9:30. Any best guest of year? Thank you   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, August 5, 2014 by DC   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Woody Kirkman at lanternnet.com can tell you everything you want to know and more about your Dietz lantern. See Link 1 Link 1  Posted Tuesday, August 5, 2014 by JF

A. Several manufacturers made similar style lanterns; Dietz and Handlan among them. Though this looks like a railroad lantern, with the 'bird cage' around the globe, your lantern is a 'Utility' or 'Sewer' lantern; clearly identifiable by the oversize fuel pot base. --- Utility companies, road construction crews and city sewer departments used these lanterns as warning lights at work and construction sites. They were often hung on sawhorses which were set up as road blocks and barricades to keep people from falling into holes where crews were digging up utility and sewer lines, open manholes, closed or washed out bridges, road repair areas and the like. These saw horses were frequently set up with only one upright and a crossbar, making a triangular barricade, with one end of the crossbar resting on the ground. --- The large fuel tank (square on Dietz and round on Handlan) allowed the lantern to burn all week, 24/7, without needing to be refilled; that way they could be lit, placed and left for several days without need for maintenance. Then as now, road crews liked to tear things up and then not come back to repair it for a few weeks. --- Today, when street lights are very bright and placed everywhere, it is hard to imagine how dark streets and roads were at night 50+ years ago. Many city streets were pitch black at night, and country roads were even darker. In such dark conditions, a few red kerosene lanterns drew needed attention to hazards at night and their dim red light was visible at quite a distance, ..even in town. ---- ....Red Beard Posted Thursday, August 7, 2014 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. When you go to the Kirkman website listed in the first answer above, look for the '8-Day' Model lantern (see Link below for direct ref.). As listed there that model was manufactured between 1934 and WW II, and there may be a more specific date code stamped into the lantern. And there is a (small) chance it is a real 'railroad' lantern because electric interurbans and street car lines all had to do extensive maintennance on their in-street tracks, often requiring digging out the pavement, and may have used these for the same reasons mentioned above. Any lanterns used this way would likely have been stamped with company ID to try to keep them from wandering away.  Link 1  Posted Sunday, August 10, 2014 by RJMc

A. Since this was also made around WWII it could also be used by the military on there railroads and other areas such as Corps of Engineers, field camp sites etc. but there is no way of telling as the military did not usually mark anything during this time and later such as Korea and Viet Nahm. Most of the lanterns in Quartermaster Supply were plain,simple and functional only. Keith Posted Friday, August 15, 2014 by Keith

 Q2799 ALCO Builder/Number Plate IDs  Do records exist which would show what type of locomotive and and to which railroad a locomotive was originally sold? I recently came into possession of a ALCO builders plate with a date of August 1910 builders # 48250 and I would like to find out what type of locomotive it came off of and what RR owned it.  Posted Tuesday, August 5, 2014 by GB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. If you have not heard already this plate ALCO 48250 should be a Denver, Northwestern & Pacific 2-8-0 # 123 Posted Thursday, August 7, 2014 by CD

 Q2798 Santa Fe Mason Jar Lids  I see these Santa Fe mason jar lids around. Are these railroad or were they produced by the Santa Fe Foods Company in Arkansas City, Kansas who uses a similar logo? Or is the Santa Fe Foods actually part of the Santa Fe Railroad? Thanks for any insight.  Posted Monday, August 4, 2014 by Nick   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2797 PEI Brass RR Switch Lock Markings  The hasp on a Prince Edward Island Railroad old brass switchlock has the small letters H.S.A. stamped on it plus a larger S for switch. Are these letters the manufacturer’s mark and what company do they represent?  Posted Friday, August 1, 2014 by DJB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hi DJB, I'm a Canadian collector of locks and keys and have seen several PEI switch locks but don't recall the H.S.A stamp marks. I was curious so I looked up my index of lock and key manufacturers which has about 30 or so, and did not see a match to what you have there. None of my older locks have those markings either. You have me stumped! On the bright side, the PEI locks aren't too common, so congratulations! If I had to guess, I'd say that H.S.A was the maker's mark, and likely a small obscure company which the railroad contracted to make these. Posted Monday, August 4, 2014 by Steve B

A. Hi Steve,Thanks for your reply to my question.I imagine that the answer to those initials will surface someday or maybe sooner than I expect.Did the CNR go thru and change all the PEI locks to CNR's and if so,about when.I see that they operated this small RR until its abandonment.My lock doesn't look very recent because it has blind,flush rivets and a cast brass chain swivel which are usually tip-offs to an early lock.Thanks again. DJB  Posted Monday, August 4, 2014 by DJB

 Q2796 Adlake Lamp/Lantern  I bought this Adlake railroad lantern recently and would like to ask some questions for the experts. First, why the rust colored paint job? Was it originally black? Other than some minor rust it is in great condition. Would it lessen its value if I took it apart and gave it a good paint job? Next, where might this lantern be used? It has plastic red and green lenses. It appears the round metal base was added for display. What would the approximate time of use be? I'm really tempted to give it a good cleaning and nothing else?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, August 1, 2014 by JPH   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Update: Upon cleaning, the lenses are 4 1/2" Corning glass not plastic. Posted Friday, August 1, 2014 by JPH

A. Its a pretty common electric switch light which comes up for sale on Ebay just about every week. Your correct about the round bottom base.Clean it, paint it black, rig it with a 4 watt night light and enjoy it. Posted Friday, August 1, 2014 by LP

A.  This may be an Adlake model 1396 or 1406 electric lamp. They had shock absorbong springs built into the base rhat helprd cushion the bulb filament.Sorry I can't give you a timeline for the production of them. Is the paint really rust colored or is it sun bleached red paint? See Q2728 in the Archives which is about a Nevada Copper Belt RR switch lamp that is painted red. I would leave this lamp as is and not paint it. Posted Saturday, August 2, 2014 by KM

 Q2795 Armspear Marker Lamps  I have two pairs of Armspear marker or tail lamps. One pair is known to be N&W and is completely original and unrestored. The second pair has been repainted externally and is missing the founts, burners, and chimneys, but is otherwise identical to the original pair and probably also N&W. In both pairs, the two lamps are set up differently. Facing the red lens and calling this 6:00, the wick raiser on one lamp (on the right in the photo) is at 10:30, and is at 1:30 on the other. I assume this is to allow easy access to both wick raisers when they are mounted on the rear of a caboose. What is interesting, is that in both pairs, the 'right' lamps with the wick raiser at the 10:30 position, have two screws and nuts on the flange joining the top and bottom body halves at the 7:30 position, while the other three flanges on these lamps, and all four flanges on the 'left' lamps, have just one screw and nut. There is no evidence that there was once a centered hole on the two-screw flanges so it is likely they came from the factory this way. Was this perhaps the Armspear method of identifying the right and left lamps, rather than attaching 'right' and 'left' labels as on some Adlake lamps? Thanks for any information about this.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, July 31, 2014 by GQ   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. GQ; what size are those lenses? Are the red lenses the same size as the yellow? ; they look like they are all the same diameter. -- I have an extensive collection of lamp photos and have gone back through those. I can find no photos of switch lamps with the two screws arrangement. -- I can only find one example of a pair of markers with one having the same paired screws as yours. It too has smaller lenses like yours. On the Armspear Markers with 5 3/8 inch lenses, the flange space between the lenses is so small that there isn't enough flange for two screws; so I'm thinking this could have only been a feature on lamps with lenses of 4 1/2 inch dia. or smaller; and Armspear liked those 4 inch and 4 1/8 inch lenses; ..which is why I'd like to know the size lenses on your lamps. --- Let's focus on the hardware on the lamp, rather than the lens color, as lenses can be switched around, and it's now been over four decades since markers were used on American railroads; so lord only knows who's disassembled, mixed or replaced lenses on any given lamp by this time.. Look at the flip-open top on the lamps; there is a hinge on one side and a hasp on the other, to hold the lid closed. --- As you are describing the layout of the wick raisers, it seems that you are saying that on BOTH lamps, the wick raiser is on the side where the hinge is; that is to say, opposite the hasp. Is that correct? --- In the photos I have of the pair with the "two screw" arrangement on one lamp, the "Right" lamp (two screws) has the wick raiser on the hinge side but the "Left" lamp has the raiser on the hasp side. --- Positioning the raiser on the "inboard" side of the red lens when mounted on the caboose, either left or right, meant that the crew could reach it to adjust the lamp while standing on the platform of the caboose; a significant safety feature. ----- DON'T repaint those lamps! ----- The bright yellow original paint on those is IRREPLACEABLE !! - That deep yellow paint gets its color from Cadmium pigment, which is no longer available. You will not be able to duplicate that beautiful deep yellow color!! --- ---- .... Red Beard  Posted Thursday, August 7, 2014 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

 Q2794 Rail Car Light  Hi, I have this old lamp from a rail car and am trying to find information on it. Any help you can provide would be a great help. Thank you for your time and assistance,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, July 31, 2014 by RB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2793 A&W Lantern Latch  Hello, My question is: what year did the A&W company change their lantern lid latch from bent wire, to a flat latch?  Posted Thursday, July 31, 2014 by RDC   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hi, I don't know the answer myself, but Adlake is still in business. If you contact them they can probably help you with your question. JN Posted Thursday, July 31, 2014 by JN

 Q2792 PRR wax sealer  Similarly to Q2789, I have a Pennsy wax sealer that reads P.R.R.CO. K. The K is large and centered. Anybody have any idea what the K signifies or where this may have been used?  Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2014 by SB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  The PRR used an alphabetical system to denote the various railroad divisions and "K" stood for the Cleveland Division. By chance did this sealer come from Northern Ohio? See Q332 in the Archives for the complete list of the PRR Divisions with the letter that stands for each of them.  Posted Thursday, July 31, 2014 by KM

 Q2791 Time Period of Railroads  I have inherited my Father's railroad collection and I am building a database of the various items. My Dad kept immaculate records hence identification of the brass railroad keys to the railroad and key manufacturer has already been completed. I am attempting to identify when the railroad was in operation for the database that I am compiling. What is the best method for finding this information? Is the resource online?  Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2014 by LM   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hi, Have you Googled the name of the railroad? It might surprise you how much information you may find. Also, if the railroad was absorbed by another railroad you can search for that too. You don't mention the railroad, but many railroads have developed a "following" which results in associated historical societies. If you look up "xyz" Railroad Historical Society you might find that they have one out there somewhere. Many of these groups have archives containing documents, maps, photographs, etc. Simply start with Google and see where it takes you. Posted Wednesday, July 30, 2014 by JN

A. One of the best single sources for all the basic data you are seeking is the book "Railroad Names -- a Directory of Common Carrier Railroads in the U.S. 1826-1997" authored, compiled, and published by William D. Edson. The late Bill Edson spent a huge amount of time reviewing the official Interstate Commerce Commission records of railroad names, dates of operation, predecessor and successor companies. The "Railroad Names" book is usually found as an 8 1/2 x 11 softbound book about 1/2" thick and is primarily just the lists of RR info, arranged alphabeticially by RR name, although it does have some map illustrations and some info on interurban and electric RR's which were not required to report to the ICC. An important limitation is that only RR's operating in the U.S. are covered; Canadian and Mexican roads are not unless they reported to ICC. The book was produced in several update editions over time - the dates in the subtitle were updated - and is often available for sale used on the Web, but I am not aware that the info was ever made openly available on the Web. The link to Google Books will show you samples of the content if you search on any RR name, but is not showing any complete books, or all the content, available as the most recent copyright is 1999 or later.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, July 31, 2014 by RJMc

A. I have found IMMEASURABLE help from www.wikipedia.com - there is extensive information on a state by state basis of not only current rail operations but defunct ones. I don't know what state you might wish to start with, but try using http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohio_railroads (this one is for Ohio). All you have to do to view the list for another state is to change OHIO in the web address bar to the name of any other state and hit enter. I bookmark/favorite each of these listings for future use. In addition to the main list per state, within that list there will be links to further information about additional railroads. All you have to do is click on the name in the list. This is incredibly helpful information and it is all free.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, August 16, 2014 by JMS

 Q2790 Adlake AdamsTwist off founts  I have two Adlake 'The Adams' #11 steel guard lanterns. Both have twist off founts. But both are different. One is smaller like you normally see but the other is larger in diameter and looks more like a old Dietz style, though it is Adlake. The burners are both inside adjusting. They are in my Adlake catalog but no comments on differences. I do not think the Railroadiana website shows this earlier model. Can anyone comment on the two styles as to use, improvement in design and age etc? Thank you.  Posted Sunday, July 27, 2014 by Keith   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2789 AG&W Wax Sealer  Have a A&GW RR (Atlantic & Great Western) wax sealer with 102 on it. Is this a station number and if so would anyone know what station this was?  Posted Monday, July 21, 2014 by BH   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Could be an employee number, a clerk in the Accounting Dept etc. Station sealers usually had the station name on it. The A & GW went into the NYP&O in 1880, so unfortunately the information you need is probably long gone Posted Monday, July 21, 2014 by DA

 Q2788 Lamp/Lantern ID Needed  I have a lantern that I bought as a child in the early 60s in Albuquerque, NM. I can find no markings if any kind on it. An Antiques Roadshow Appraiser thought it was from the 1880-1890s. That the paint as original. It has three lenses. Clear, red and green. Can anyone tell me anything about it. Here are the photos. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, July 21, 2014 by DM   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is a ships bow marker lamp-Red=Port,Green = Starboard, White-Straiht ahead Posted Monday, July 21, 2014 by bk

A. See Q2124 in the Archives. It is a Boston Pattern marine lamp made by Perkins Marine Lamp Co. from 1916 to 1938. Is there a burner in it, if so could you send in a photo of that? There were two sizes of lamps depending on the size of the boat, a Class One boat was less than 26 feet long, a Class Two boat was 26 to 40 feet long. The Class One lamp was 9" high and had 2&1/4 inch lenses, and the Class Two lamp was 11" high and had 3" lenses. they were made in both brass and galvanized steel. If it does not have the Perkins name on it it may have been made in 1916 or 1917. But it might have a Jan. 21, 1913 patent date on it so look closely for that because the paint on it may be covering it up. I can't tell you where that patent date might be stamped into the lamp body, and I would not remove any paint in an attempt to find it, just take a close look for it. This information is from "Lanterns That Lit Our World, Book Two" by Anthony Hobson.  Posted Tuesday, July 22, 2014 by KM

A.  These links are for questions about other Perkins lamps that are psoted at The International Guild of Lamp Researchers Q&A Page. There is some good info about marine lamp regulations posted there.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Tuesday, July 22, 2014 by KM

 Q2787 To All RR Lantern and Globe Collectors  With permission of this website I would like to see the following addition(s): 'To all the professional long time railroad lantern and globe collectors.' Have a section that shows the cast lettered and cast logo globes in color. If we start with say, NYC, B&O, Erie, PRR, SP, UP, NP and show all the colors, clear, red, amber, green, cobalt, (purple ??) in cast letters and logos etc. This is not I books and what better place for a reference than this site. Thank you.  Posted Thursday, July 17, 2014 by Keith   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2786 Lamp Info Needed  We have this lamp, but know nothing about it. We think it may be from a railroad. One side has a tag with Adams & Westlake May 6,80 Chicago. The other side has a tag with Dayton Mfg. Co. Pat'd. Dec. 26, 1882. Any insight you may have is greatly appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2014 by Bergsbandit   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  This is a double chandelier railroad car lamp and it looks like some of the parts on it have been turned 180 degrees. the glass fuel bowls shoud be on the bottom of the assembly. The lamp hung from the ceiling of the car. See Q 570,758,764,1146,1223,1559,1640,2147,and 2759 in the Archives. Alos see Q 1,481,1086,3362,and 3822 at The International Guild of Lamp Researchers Q&A Archives. I am not sure why this lamp has both the Dayton and the A&W tags on it. Possibly some used parts were installed during a repair and it ended up with both tags on it.  Posted Thursday, July 17, 2014 by KM

A.  A small correction, see Question number one and Q481 at the Lampguild, not Q1481. The folks at the Lampguild have always laughed that their first question ever back in 1998 was about a railroad lamp. Posted Thursday, July 17, 2014 by KM

A. Thank you for the info and links for more info.  Posted Saturday, July 19, 2014 by Bergsbandit

 Q2785 Dietz Lantern Surveys?  In looking at your lantern and globe marking survey, I find no listings for the Dietz #39 railroad lanterns and short globe #999 style. Is there a list that shows what railroad markings were used on the Dietz #39 style railroad lanterns?? I have tried to look elsewhere but no listings. Thank you.  Posted Friday, July 11, 2014 by Keith   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Surveys on the Dietz #39 and #999 were never done. Some of the surveys on this site were started with lists printed in Key, Lock & Lantern and published (with permission) then augmented as new markings are sent in to the website. Those additions still go on -- I added some new markings a month or so ago. A few surveys started with this website exclusively. Some lantern models like the Dietz #39 and #999 have never been surveyed here or anywhere else to my knowledge -- certainly a worthwhile project should someone want to take it on. Posted Friday, July 11, 2014 by Web Editor

A. Thank you very much. Too bad, it is a much needed area. Thank you Keith Posted Friday, July 11, 2014 by Keith

A. Dietz 999's should be a quick study due to the later and shorter time of production. I've only seen NYCS, P&LE, B&O (plain and with loco base), DL&W and GM&O. You could detail it further by finish, blue paint or tin, and the lettering comes in larger or smaller founts. I'd be very interested to hear about any other markings that others may have discovered. Also, I've seen etched Dietz 999 globes in NYCS, B&O RR, and ERIE. Posted Sunday, July 13, 2014 by JFR

A. JFR, I have a 999 globe etched NP Northern Pacific, so I would assume they also made the lantern. Thank you Keith Posted Monday, July 14, 2014 by Keith

A. That could very well be, Keith, hopefully others have more info. On perhaps a related note, in 40+ years of collecting, I've come across at least 6 ERIE etched 999 red globes, but never a lantern. I'd love to find one as the Erie is a favorite of mine. I wonder if the Erie may have just ordered the globes from Corning and they etched 999 globes from an excess inventory that they may have had as the 999 wasn't a strong seller for Dietz. Perhaps those globes were offered at a discount to the frugal Erie. Another scenario, and a bit far fetched, I admit, might have been that the DL&W had a contract with Dietz that was being filled around the time of the EL merger with the Erie. Rather than scrap the already stamped DL&W lanterns, perhaps they etched ERIE globes for them to cover the bases and smooth the transition. As I said, maybe far fetched, but who knows? Posted Tuesday, July 15, 2014 by JFR

A. In 35+ years living in the Pacific Northwest, I can't recall ever seeing a Northern Pacific marked #999 lantern. If there are any out there I think they're pretty rare. Posted Tuesday, July 15, 2014 by PEK

A. JFR, I just picked up a Dietz Steel Clad marked for the Erie Railroad with a twist off fount. It came with no globe. PEK it could be that the NP ordered only globes from Dietz for some reason and a lantern was never made. This NP globe was on a Dressel lantern. Posted Tuesday, July 15, 2014 by Keith

A. Keith, I've also have picked up a few Erie Steelclads, they're not too common, but an Erie 999, if they exist, has always eluded me. I'd like an Erie Vesta too, but haven't had the opportunity to get one of those either. I just saw an Erie steelclad on ebay without the globe, fount and burner.  Posted Tuesday, July 15, 2014 by JFR

A. JFR, That's the one I bought. I have a fount with burner and a CC and RC Erie globe to go with it. Outside of NYC Ry, a lot of the Dietz are not easy to come by. This website probably has the most under Tall Dietz. Thank you Keith Posted Wednesday, July 16, 2014 by Keith

 Q2784 NP in Montana  I have access to an invitation , ticket and ribbon for NP 'Last Spike' in Gold Creek MT that was a event connecting the two lines. I am looking for a way to authenticate the items. Any help would be appreciated.  Posted Wednesday, July 9, 2014   Post a Reply  Email a reply