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

  • No questions or responses regarding values or what something is worth -- see About Values. Also, no questions or replies selling or looking for items, parts or services. This includes offers. We reserve the right to remove responses that are discourteous, inappropriate, or violate our policies.

Email questions to qa@railroadiana.org. Most questions are actually posted within a day or so. While an image to go along with the question is optional, it is strongly recommended and will help others find an answer. Email the image(s) as an attachment, but it must be YOUR OWN IMAGE. Re-posting a photo from Ebay is a copyright violation. Also see our Frequently Asked Questions or FAQs page and our Contact Us page for questions that we cannot reply to.

Latest 50 Questions:

 Q3829 Keystone Casey Fuel Pot Burner  How do you add fuel to a Keystone Casey fuel pot burner?  Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2021 by Norman   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. See prior Q 1593 on this exact topic. It is really an excellent question; it is easy to unclip and twist off the entire fount assy (very similar to the Dietz Vesta procedure discussed in a nearby Q) but after that, it is not at all obvious how to separate the burner assy from the tank without destroying it. It ends up unthreading... Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2021 by RJMc

A. The two excellent photos in the Links show two different Casey founts with the burners unscrewed to enable filling the tanks. These are the same pix originally sent in to Q 1593 by W.M., just brought forwared here for convenience.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Thursday, January 7, 2021 by RJMc

 Q3828 Lantern Marking  Here is an Adlake 250 kero. I don't see a manufacturing date on the bottom. This lantern is clearly marked LVRR on top and has a red globe with LVRR etched on it. Your survey list does not currently show LVRR using this lantern. I am curious about a raised area on the top with the letters JRM stamped on it. Any idea what that means?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2021 by Eric   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. That seems to be a tag stamped with the initials and then soldered onto the lantern after it left the factory. Most likely the initials of the person assigned and/or owning the lantern. Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2021 by RJMc

A. Indeed, this is an authentic Lehigh Valley A&W #250 - if you can get Employee Roster lists, you may be able to find the man who belonged to JRM (RJMc is right on target). Also, why not update the survey list ? Report it to Key Lock & Lantern to update the survey (Link 1 below) They are always looking for genuine documented additions to the lantern list. Use the CONTACT US (Link 2) to get in touch and include your pictures. Legitimate information is always greatly appreciated. BTW this globe is reported in the "3-1/4" Marked Globes" list, so adding the the information to the "Lantern" survey would round out some LV history very nicely. Great find!! Link 1  Link 2  Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2021 by JMS

A. I also note that the workmanship of stamping and placing the tag seems to be excellent and the finish on the lantern does not look like it was used much, if at all, in regular service on the RR. (Have you refinished the lantern?) In modern times in regular use the RR company owned the lanterns so it wasn't appropriate for individuals to mark them. This causes me to suspect that this lantern was set up and given as a special gift to JRM, on retirement or possibly on a service anniversary such as 25 or more years of service, or other special occasion. Such occasions were often covered in employee and/or union magazines, often with photos, and you might get verification there of the actual history of this lantern. Posted Friday, January 8, 2021 by RJMc

 Q3827 B&O China - New Castle, PA  I have several pieces of the set - and some serving dishes as well. My question is: Some of the pieces are stamped in blue on the back; some have a gray stamp and then some have both over-lapping onto of each other or slightly offset. Does this have any significant meaning or reason they are stamped in such a way? Is one more valuable than the other or is this just an oversight in the production? Also, the small numbers printed on these... I am assuming they are the quality checkers Would appreciate any insight you may provide. Happy New Year!  [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, January 2, 2021 by Shawn    Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The number/letter combos under backstamps are date codings which you can look up here (Link 1) in the old RWCN IDwiki. They have an updated list and research material on their new site. The drifting numbers are just factory internals which are not significant...decorator marks, piecework idents, or whatever (not quality inspection codes). Link 1  Posted Sunday, January 3, 2021 by ShastaRoute

A. The middle piece with the G 26 date code was made 2nd half of 1968. I think the left piece is p 31 which would make it 1st half of 1973 Posted Monday, January 4, 2021 by COD

A. Bear in mind that B&O china is among the most reproduced of any RR (ever) because it continued to be made and sold for the gift shop at the B&O Museum. Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2021 by RJMc

A. Per both RR china books, pieces with the "Black Indian" stamp are NOT railroad ordered. "Official Guide to RR Dining Car China"(McIntyre) says "Beginning in 1968 the Shenango mark was overstamped with the black Indian. Pieces so marked never saw dining car service and were made strictly for gift shop sale." CENTER PICTURE: would like to see a photo of the top - this mark was not used on the blue Centenary china. It is Shenango, indeed but may be a fake depending on what the top looks like. RIGHT PICTURE: This mark was the last used by the B&O for dining car service. At the end, the RR sold all the remaining china through the museum. Worse for collectors, the museum continued to order it with the exact same bottom marking. The verdict is that a piece marked this way MAY have been ordered by the B&O for dining car use, but just as likely MAY NOT have been and there is no way to tell for certain without provenance on individual pieces. As for the small numbers off on the sides, as Shasta Route says, they are of no collector importance.  Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2021 by JMS

A. I meant to say that although these three pieces are at the low end of the scale for collector value (the black Indian stamp "technically" is a repro that never rode the rails; and we really need to see the top of the center dish before making a judgment) a positive note about them is that collectors often use them on the table! It is fun to fully enjoy the pattern while the older, valuable pieces are safe in a display cabinet. These later productions are perfect for that and it is great fun to know you can enjoy it without harming any actual antiques. (Same with California Poppy, which Syracuse China produced in a light, household version that RR china folks call "thinware.")  Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2021 by JMS

 Q3826 Dietz Vesta Disassembly  I have a deitz vesta lantern which has bee sitting unloved, indoors for many years. I am trying to remove what I will call the bottom cover. I note the two lugs, and the slots indicating that the base turns a bit in order to remove it. I also note that the wick adjuster dial has a slot directly below it, suggesting that it does NOT turn. So these have to be two separate pieces, and the bottom should be easily removed, revealing the lamp wick assembly, which should then just drop out. On mine the bottom will not turn without (trying) to turn the wick dial, so I assume the bottom and the lamp assembly are rusted together.. How is my logic, and do you have any suggestions for separating the two? Right now they are soaking in rust penetrant, but no joy as yet.. Regards and Merry Christmas!  Posted Thursday, December 24, 2020 by Mike   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. You have it sort of right, but not quite. The ENTIRE tank and burner drop out of the lantern TOGETHER as a single assy. See the Link for an excellent pic of a Vesta replacement oil tank outside of the lantern. NOTE that the burner assy (not installed in the pic) has a slip fit, not threads. It is not only OK, but necessary, that the burner assy turn somewhat compared to the tank while the tank is being removed or replaced into the base of the lantern, so that the wick raiser shaft amd knob drop thru the T slot in the lantern base and out. Note the two lugs, or 'ears', short pins sticking out from the tank sides. Those hold the tank assy in the base of the lantern by a very short 'twist-lock' maneuver. Again a slip fit. BUT check on your lantern just below the wick raiser knob for a horizontal heavy wire spring clip -- about 3 inches long -- with a 'V' bent into the end. That V drops over one of those ears to make sure the burner assy does not turn and is locked into the lantern base. That spring clip must be raised up to let the burner assy. turn to reach the vertical slot that lets it drop out of the lantern base. (I just found that the flat handle of a teaspoon makes an ideal lever to hold that cllp up while turning the tank to release it.) There are a lot of helpful images on the web just by searching on 'Dietz Vesta'. And some final hints: the penetrant is a good start; moderate heat may help you release the rusted parts. An electric heat gun, or even a hair dryer (commonly available very inexpensively at local re-use shops) may help. And a strap wrench, such as used for auto oil filters, may be of use in getting the tank to begin to turn (once the retaining clip is raised.) Link 1  Posted Saturday, December 26, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3825 Sconce  Could you please tell me what is supposed to be used inside a spring loaded lamp like this? A standard candle? Thank you!!!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, December 22, 2020 by John   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. In general, these are called 'Candle Lamps' and use a common plain paraffin candle. See prior Q 3582 for more details and a list of many other prior Q's on these, including where to get parts such as the Pyrex chimneys and mounting brackets. Posted Tuesday, December 22, 2020 by RJMc

A.  I have been collecting these RPO candle lamps for about 45 years and I have several that have original new candles in them. I am measuring one of those right now and it is 4&3/4 inches long and 1 & 1/4 inches in diameter. I used to buy the candles from A. J. Root Company in Medina, Ohio but I am not sure if they have them still. Some hardware stores used to have plumbers candles which also worked, but again I am not sure if they are still available.  Posted Friday, December 25, 2020 by KM

A. Your lamp is the older style one and the correct mounting bracket for it has the foot on it which slides into the shoe on the lamp. The newer style lamps are reversed, the lamp has the foot and the bracket has the shoe so if you order the brackets make sure that you get the right one! Posted Friday, December 25, 2020 by KM

 Q3824 Non-Sweating lamps  I look on Ebay everyday for some items I like. I look at railroad lanterns and switch lights. I often see the phrase 'non sweating' used with the lights. What does that mean? Thanks.  Posted Sunday, December 20, 2020 by Mike   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Air flow within the lamp keeps the outside from sweating as the lamp warms in cool or cold weather. Posted Sunday, December 20, 2020 by h v coll

A. When the kerosene burns in the lamp, it makes water vapor along with the light of the flame. If the lamp was just a metal cylinder, in cold weather the vapor would condense on the inside walls and fog the inside of the lenses. In really cold weather it would turn to ice (inside the lamp) and possibly completely blank the light. The 'non-sweating' design feature keeps the warm, wetter air coming off the flame away from the outside lamp parts and lenses so they don't fog up or ice up and the lamp continues to work well and do its job. The Link is to an Adlake catalog page in the Archives here on this site which explains this more fully.  Link 1  Posted Sunday, December 20, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3823 A Question of Two Pipers  Both of these switch lanterns were made my HL Piper of Montreal Canada. Neither have railroad markings. The newer one claims to have been sold by CP Bygones which sold RR artifacts for CP Rail directly. The other has a Patent date of 1909 but not 1920 as some some later lanterns have appended. The lenses are quite a bit smaller than the other lamp. I don’t have the book which might enlighten the background of these items. I’m wondering if the knowledgeable members of this website could offer any suggestions? Regards   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, December 17, 2020 by CEG   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3822 Info on Lamps?  I have recently come across these pair of gas lamps. I was just wondering if the experts could help identify them and possibly give me some information on them? Hope you can help. Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, December 17, 2020 by Chris   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  I may be way wrong here, but I wonder if these lamps are stage lighting? Here is a short description from Britannica about limelight theater lighting which is where the expression "in the limelight" came from. "Although Thomas Drummond, a British engineer, invented the limelight in 1816, it did not come into general use until some 30 years later. A limelight produces light by directing a sharp point of oxyhydrogen flame against a cylindrical block of lime. The tiny area of lime becomes incandescent and emits a brilliant white light that is soft and mellow. As the block of lime is slowly consumed by burning, it has to be slowly and constantly turned by an operator to supply the flame with a fresh surface. Since the brilliant area was very small, the addition of a mirrored reflector was necessary to give accurate control." Perhaps someone has direct knowledge about stage or theater lighting.  Posted Saturday, December 26, 2020 by KM

 Q3821 Baldwin Oval builders plate 1904?  I have a Baldwin oval builders plate from an SP consolidation (2-8-0) with 57-22/30 C cast into it. The Baldwin plates that I have prior to and since this year are the standard round 12 1/4 in Philadelphia plates. There is no location on this plate. What is the significance of the oval shaped plate?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, December 10, 2020 by MS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. We call these plates "Harriman" ovals. You will only see these for a few years, mostly on SP steam locomotives. You will find Class A, P, C, and S. These plates are simply loaded with data with the driver diameter and the bore and stroke of the cylinder. Baldwin was still using the standard 12" and 16" plates during this time period for other orders. You will also see these ovals by American Locomotive Co. as well. Posted Monday, December 14, 2020 by RJM

 Q3820 Authentic Lantern Marking?  Looking for input on whether or not the markings on this lantern are authentic – they are for the Baltimore and Annapolis Short Line, which was in operation from 1894 to about 1906. It's an A&W 'THE ADAMS' bell bottom model with the latest patent date being August 16, 1892. The globe, I assume, is incorrect (embossed DIETZ 39RR -next line- DIETZ VULCAN -next line- NEW YORK USA) as well as the bell, which is from a CT Ham (pat’d Dec 1893.) Flat verticals and double wire cage. I’ve looked it over and, following guidance on the railroadiana.org website, see no major (obvious) indicators of it being a fake. Pen cap in image is for size reference. Assuming it is real, what would the proper globe and bell look like??? Thanks for any input you can provide.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, December 10, 2020 by TP   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Baltimore & Annapolis Short Line is confirmed being made by Adams & Westlake, by the Key Lock & Lantern group (Link 1). However, there was no mention of the B&ASL in their GLOBE reports. Just a GUESS (if I am wrong and someone knows otherwise - please correct me!) but I do not believe an A&W lid belongs on a CT Ham bell frame. This sounds to me like a "mixed marriage," with the lid swapped onto a similar/interchangeable, but unrelated, frame. A Vulcan globe is 5-3/8" and was originally for a Dietz #39 lantern; but "The Adams" and the CT Ham also took 5-3/8" globes. The BA&SL is a fabulous find, I hope you can get better answers than this one.  Link 1  Posted Friday, December 18, 2020 by JMS

A. The lantern shown in the photo is a genuine 1892 Pat., no. 39 Steel Guard lantern made by A&W. No. 39 bases made by other manufacturers (in this case, stated C T Ham) will generally fit this frame. The correct base for this frame would be an A&W one piece, deep draw (fount and base are an integral deep draw stamping) with a plug soldered into the center underside of the base. Any no. 39 globe will fit this frame. The B&ASL marking is a factory embossed marking as would be expected. Posted Friday, January 8, 2021 by ASwoyer

A. The lantern shown in the photo is a genuine 1892 Pat., no. 39 Steel Guard lantern made by A&W. No. 39 bases made by other manufacturers (in this case, stated C T Ham) will generally fit this frame. The correct base for this frame would be an A&W one piece, deep draw (fount and base are an integral deep draw stamping) with a plug soldered into the center underside of the base. Any no. 39 globe will fit this frame. The B&ASL marking is a factory embossed marking as would be expected. Posted Friday, January 8, 2021 by ASwoyer

A. Thank you ASwoyer and JMS. Appreciate the insight and information. Posted Sunday, January 10, 2021 by TP

 Q3819 Armspear Switch Lantern  We are interested in possibly buying an Amspear switch lantern that is in an auction. The base is marked 121 and the font is marked Amspear manufacturing. I'm trying to find out what year it was made so I can try to be sure it is completely intact. It appears to be, as all of the glass is there and in good shape, the font appears to be intact, and overall it isn't in horrible shape. Thanks for any help you can give! I haven't been able to find anything about a 121, just the S120...  Posted Thursday, December 10, 2020 by GH   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hello GH, Those numbers that are cast onto the iron lamp tip mounting base are only to indicate how large a switch stand's lamp tip that base will accomodate.I have had both numbers 120 and 121 and the 121 was used on a larger lamp tip. Armspear used a lot of those style tip assemblies but they also used other various cast bases listed in the AAR standards diagrams.The more lamps you look at,the more you will see what I am telling you.Spend some time watching the various online auctions.AAR is the Association of American Railroads and they set design specs on many RR hardware items.Older items may have ARA which is the forerunner of AAR. DJB Posted Saturday, December 12, 2020 by DJB

 Q3818 Adlake Semaphore?  Can anyone help us identify this Adlake Semaphore? There is a marking we believe is 85/33 on the door. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, December 4, 2020 by George   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. looks very similar to a GRS lamp Posted Saturday, December 12, 2020 by DD

A. Since it has been 10 days with little response, I will give a basic response to your question. This is the shell for an electric lamp to illuminate a semaphore signal. It is missing the lamp parts and the clear lens. It does have the outside portion of the mounting bracket. This would have been mounted by another bracket to the mast , and located behind the semaphore arm, so as to illuminate only one signal aspect at a time. As most semaphore signals were placed when there was no, or little electric service available , many of these lamps were of a different style that were designed to use kerosene or lamp oil. You have the beginnings of a nice piece, but you are only half way there to a complete unit. Posted Tuesday, December 15, 2020 by h v coll

 Q3817 Switch Stand Fitting  My dad has an old train switch stand that he'd like to get the lamp/lantern for. He hasn't been able to find the right fit, so I've been trying to do some searching on my own. Here are some images of the top of the stand, where the lamp would sit. It's not a square/rectangle piece on the top. It's tapered and gets smaller toward the top. Could you point me in the right direction? Is there a specific type, model, or brand I need to be looking for in order to find a lamp/lantern for his railroad switch stand? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, November 29, 2020 by Andy    Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hello Andy, Can you tell me what railroad you suspect this switchstand is from.Not knowing what part of the country you are from ,I am just taking a wild guess it may from the CSTPM&ORR or Omaha RR or its a very old Milwaukee Road stand made before they added the locking pin hole to secure the switch lamp on the tip.I am from Wisconsin so that explains my 2 guesses.If you know for sure which RR this stand is from it will be much easier to find a lamp to fit it.A complete picture of your switchstand would help immensely. DJB Posted Wednesday, December 2, 2020 by DJB

 Q3816 CPR Lamp  Can anyone help to identify a CPR Railroad signal lamp I have? Details are as follows : HLP-CPR Piper Montreal. It has 4 orange lenses. This is the detail that is confusing. My understanding based on the reading I have done is that signal lamps generally have 2 colored lenses. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance  [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, November 29, 2020 by Dan   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. CPR stands for Canadian Pacific Railroad and you are on the right track, thinking that all four lenses almost certainly were not what this lamp came out of the factory with. Virtually all lamps of this type have replacement lenses for at least a few. Those who replaced them may not have known the original color to use. HLP is Hiram L. Piper, the company name between 1902 and 1995, per "Illustrated Encyclopedia of Railroad Lighting, Vol. Two The Railroad Signal Lamp" (Barrett and Gross). Does someone have time to look through this section and find info about this model lamp, Barrett may have listed original glass color(s). I do not have time right now, my apologies, and wishes for best of luck! This "should" be in the Barrett book, the section on Piper is extensive.  Posted Monday, November 30, 2020 by JMS

 Q3815 Lantern ID?  I have this great looking lantern with what looks to be a hand blown dark green glass front. The bottom has two tabs you squeeze to remove the stamped Simplex oil font. Not sure if this is an early train or a boat Lantern. The back looks to have a attachment to slide onto a piece of leather or metal to hold in place Any thoughts of what it is and how old? Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, November 29, 2020 by Dennis G   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Its shape, especially with a Fresnel globe, surely looks like a nautical/marine lamp to me. The dark green color is the same as marine use for warning lights on the "starboard" (right) side of a boat or side of a channel. The opposite - red color is used for "port" (left) side warning lamps. This might have been made for a bridge or canal or channel purpose, but I am just guessing.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Monday, November 30, 2020 by JMS

A. JMS, where do you see a Fresnel globe? Maybe it is reflection of table cover that appears as such. Posted Monday, November 30, 2020 by DC

A. DC, my apologies, it's not a Fresnel, I looked too quickly and saw the stripey reflection. Mea culpa.  Posted Thursday, December 3, 2020 by jms

 Q3814 More key IDs?  Here are the next 3 keys I'm hoping someone can identify The KCL Bohannon I can find nothing with these initials next the MRL the only possibility I can find on this site's data base is Midland Railway Limited in Canada does anyone know for sure? Last is an old A&W MRY There are many many railroads with just 'M' in their name possibly some one knows? Thanks for any help you can give me.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, November 25, 2020 by Jim   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Try Montana Rail Link, which took over operating a couple of hundred miles from BNSF. so a BN, GN, or GN pattern would make sense.  Posted Thursday, November 26, 2020 by RJMc

A. Correct that second 'GN' to 'NP'. Posted Thursday, November 26, 2020 by RJMc

A. MRY looks like the Monongahela Railway example in "American Railways Switch Key Directory" . From each side the bit cut looks like it should be that. HOWEVER, I would really want to see your key looking straight at the end and compare it with what is shown in the book, just to be sure. Monongahela is not the most common line to find artifacts from but it is far from the scarcest.  Posted Monday, November 30, 2020 by JMS

A. JMS, Here is an end view of the MRY switch key. Thanks for your input.  Link 1  Posted Friday, December 4, 2020 by Jim

A. Apologies for the delay responding. Your photo in Link 1 is different than what is shown in the AmRys directory - the dog leg is quite different. Of course it is possible the Monongahela had more than one cut; but unfortunately such a short marking with only "M" could be from any number of roads. With "RY" it is also perhaps more likely it may be a transit/trolley line, but that is not necessarily so, either. Sorry I wish I could have been of more help.  Posted Saturday, December 19, 2020 by JMS

A. WAIT WAIT - sorry, I just checked further in my Dave Stewart book and this DOES appear to be a Monongahela key! The end view in Stewart is the same as your Link 1 picture. Why the end view is different (but with the same side view as Stewart) in the AmRys book is beyond me, and probably a mistake(?). (There appears to be no way the end view in the "MRY" key in AmRys can go with the side view there.) Posted Saturday, December 19, 2020 by JMS

 Q3813 RR Shovel Use?  I recently got this shovel marked for the Pennsylvania Railroad. It is approximately 3ft 4in tall and one foot across. It is marked '4 7 7 4 Heat Treated 4 True Temper Corp' on the front, with the PRR keystone on the side.The True Temper Corporation has been around since 1808, so it is not out of the question for them to have made it for the railroad. I have seen similarly marked shovels, however those usually only include the keystone logo and size stamped on the front, while this one has multiple other markings. I believe it is legitimate from what the seller told me, but second opinions are always welcome. Mainly though, could it have been used as a coal shovel, or would it have been used for other things? Also, if you have any thoughts about what the numbers on the front might mean I would be happy to hear them. Thanks in advance for your help.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, November 12, 2020 by Charlie    Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Without seeing it in person I would suggest your shovel is legit! From the shape, it looks like it was made as a coal shovel. With its beautiful, split oak handle it definitely is not a new one, but it looks like there is metal on the ends of the handle(?) Link 1 is to Wikipedia history of the True Temper company, whose ancestry did in fact begin in 1808, but the name "TRUE TEMPER" began in 1949. No matter, plenty of time for this to have been made for the PRR! and it sounds like an early one of those. We have handled a few shovels and can say that Railroad marks often were made at the shops, so they varied. We have seen them branded/burned in, stamped in, painted on - shovels are not the highest things on fakers' lists because of limited markets and not enough profit to be made faking them. Your shovel looks fantastic! I hope you may think about conditioning the wood (which looks like it is in wonderful condition for its age with no cracks).  Link 1  Posted Saturday, November 14, 2020 by JMS

A. "Heat treating" is a procedure to harden steel and make it stronger - exactly what's needed for a shovel intended to take a lot of abuse scraping up coal over an iron floor. I can't help with the numbers on your shovel, but would bet they include a model number, and I am not sure what else. Tue Temper has a website with a contact function (Link 1) - with any luck they may be able to help. I wish I had more time to research, but I just do not.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, November 14, 2020 by JMS

A. Shovels had probably 100's of uses on RR's, and most of them loked pretty much alike. However, for firing steam locomotives -- particularly ones without stokers -- the shovels (scoops) usually had considerably longer handles than the others, maybe one foot longer. That was to be able to reach back to the front of the tender and then reach forward to the firebox door without having to step back and forth to do it. PRR kept many hand-fired locos around much longer than many other RR's but by 1947 the ICC required all bigger locos to have stokers and diesels were beginning to take the yard jobs. So its quite likely that your PRR shovel did one of those many other jobs.  Posted Sunday, November 15, 2020 by RJMc

A. Among other uses many old coal scoops were used to fry eggs and bacon in the fire box. Posted Sunday, November 15, 2020 by DC

 Q3812 L.I.R.R. Armspear Lantern   I recently acquired this Armspear 1925 lantern for the Long Island Rail Road, but I cannot figure out a date within a decade of when it was made. All I can tell is that it was made by Adlake after 1931. The copyright date on the bottom is barely legible but says Feb 2 26. The handle is covered with wood. Is there a way to tell what decade it is from?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, November 9, 2020 by Kyle S   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. First, Feb 2 26 is a patent date, not a copyright date - which as you know means that is the earliest possible date of manufacture. The "Illustrated Encyclopedia of Railroad Lighting Vol. 1" (Barrett and Gross) includes information and a number of pictures of 1925s, but nothing about when Armspear discontinued this model. Barret DOES state that the No. 25 was included in an undated Armspear catalog that "We would guess that it is probably circa 1948. It includes three pages on the 'No.25' hand lantern." I do not have a suggestion as to where else to look, to determine when this model was discontinued. Per Barrett, it was a popular alternative to the Vesta and several Adlake models. Good luck, I hope you can get your question answered, but it is a real challenge.  Posted Saturday, November 14, 2020 by JMS

 Q3811 Correct Tail Marker Lenses?  A few months back, the community helped me out on a question of whether or not a font/burner from an old Adlake lamp should have a long-time burning chimney or not. Through that conversation I was able to identify the lamp as likely a No. 168 Steel Marker/Tail Lamp (it's very heavy gauge steel). I romanticized a bit the possibility of it having ran on the PERy, but to be honest it has no markings whatsoever - not even manufacturer (the font has an Adams & Westlake circular stamp on it). Perhaps it had some ID on the mounting arm, but it is not present and if anything is buried in the paint/japanning. I won’t find out as I have no intention of stripping it. There were several other electric/interurban railways operating on the West Coast (I found the lamp in Seattle) and I was able to find images of the lamp in use on the Oregon Electric Railway and the Spokane and Inland Empire Railroad in addition to the PERy. The lamp has four lenses, but only three are present (2 lunar white and 1 red; all three are Corning 4D x 2-3/4 FSO 1935) and I'd like to complete the lamp as true to its 'in use' form as possible. I found this great article regarding the use of marker lamps on the old Chicago 'L' lines [see link] illustrating they were set to any combination of Red, Amber, Green, or Lunar White. Although these were mostly integrated into the clerestory, it seems the No. 168s could have been used in the same capacity? Qs 1464 and 2714 offered some good insight, but nothing on interurbans. Can anyone provide guidance on color combos of lenses and their orientations that would have been in use on any West Coast electric/interurban lines (assuming No. 168 is a positive ID)? Thanks!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, November 7, 2020 by Jake  Link 1     Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Link 1 from the Archives has a lamp very similar to yours from a Pennsylvania interurban, labelled as a Model 78 or 83. Link 1  Posted Saturday, November 7, 2020 by RJMc

A. Thanks RJMc. I had seen those models in the 1907 catalog from the articles & library page and considered them as well. Both models 78 and 83 seem to have a hinged top though and this particular lamp does not. All three of these models look very similar and I'd bet they were pressed from the same pattern. They're all marker / tail lamps so I suppose narrowing it down to that group of three is close enough. Still begs the question of lens color though. The catalog specifies red / green for one particular No. 83; would Red, Lunar, Green, Lunar be inappropriate on these lamps? Posted Saturday, November 7, 2020 by Jake

A. Link 1 with the original Q is very interesting. I had not recognized that rail transit lines and some interurbans use(d) the term 'markers' to refer to 'route designator lights' on the front of trains, not just to mark the rear ends. That Link shows the many combinations of lights that were used to indicate routings for trains in the Chicago elevated transit system; not only to inform prospective passengers but so that towermen knew how to route oncoming trains. The route designator use also explains why lunar white was included as a color choice on transit lines while seldom used for rear-end markers on RR's. Link 1 below shows the white, red, yellow and green combinations used fairly recently in the New York City subway system, with blue used only on PATH trains. Link 2 shows a PE car circa 1942 with what appears to be a lamp similar to yours; but with the prominent metal route sign, it does not appear that the lamp was serving as a route designator. Sorry that this does not shed light on your direct question, but maybe the discussion will trigger someone's memory about West Coast operations.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Tuesday, November 10, 2020 by RJMc

A. All railroads used signals to assist in controlling trains. There were different signal suppliers , with different types of signals, The railroads also had different meanings for these signals depending on which railroad you were operating on. There was little uniformity. The tail markers were also a signal , only for the end of the train. They also varied as to what railroad they were on, by both shape and colors used. If a railroad had joint use of a section of track with another railroad , the crews had to know the signals of both railroads.  Posted Sunday, November 15, 2020 by hv coll

 Q3810 Painting Railroad Lamps  Is it generally frowned upon to paint a railroad lamp any color other than the original color? I have seen some 4 way lamps where the outer ring (don't know correct term) is painted bronze or gold). I like how it adds color to an otherwise plain black lamp. Also, would it be considered 'acceptable' to repaint using semi glossy enamel? Or would that be tacky? Were these lamps painted originally in a flat black? Thank you.  Posted Friday, November 6, 2020 by Susan S   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hello. We can't tell what kind of lamp you may have. Take a look at the two Links below which are to the archives here on the RRiana site to see illustrations of several of the various kinds, and there are several other informative pages in the same area of the site. I found the first Link interesting because at the bottom of the page it shows a switch lamp with the lens retaining rings colored bronze or gold -- something I had never seen before. You may also be referring to the much larger switch lamp 'day targets' shown in a red color on the lower right of the second Link. The colors of those served particular purposes to signal oncoming trains so the colors were set by rule and matched to the lens colors (although not always identical; green lenses may have had white day targets, for example. As to painting, there really were no universal standards. Every RR was free to order lamps to whatever finish they desired and to repaint them later as they came in for maintenance. No doubt the vast majority were black, as indicated in Link 2 most probably started out with gloss and then weathered toward flat black. Some RR's did paint their four-sided marker lamps yellow. And when Handlan was in the final stages of kerosene light production, they sold bright brass lamps to the public for souvenir purposes.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Saturday, November 7, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3809 Torch Question  Does anyone know exactly what this is? Thanks in advance for your help.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, November 2, 2020 by Nate   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The Link shows a 'hand lighting torch' as part of the equipment for an asphalt paving machine. The 'lighting' here refers to 'igniting' rather than supplying light. The one in the link is being used to ignite (large) propane burners. Yours looks to be an older model, where the heaters might also have run on fuel oil rather than propane, and it might have been needed around any kind of equipment that required high-capacity heaters. On the RR, one such application might be pre-heating welded rail which is done if the outside temperature is to low.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, November 3, 2020 by RJMc

A. One reason though that a 'hand lighting torch' is/was less likely to be used on a RR: fusees (flares) were always around, commonly available, and very easy to use whenever anything needed to be ignited or heated. They would be used for everything from lighting steam locomotive fires to thawing pipes, so no extra hardware was required.  Posted Tuesday, November 3, 2020 by RJMc

A. I would have had no way of knowing how long the railway fuzees as we know them , had been around , except for the time when my grandfather passed in the late 50`s. In cleaning out an old cabinet in his garage, my dad and I came across dozens of them , some dating back to WW1. NO , we did not try to light them !  Posted Friday, November 13, 2020 by hv coll

 Q3808 Bumps on Keys  Can you tell me why brass railroad keys have bumps on the sides? Is it true that in the dark a railroad trainman can tell he has the right key for certain locks by the bumps? Thanks for any assistance.  Posted Monday, November 2, 2020 by Ed   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I am not aware of any railroad keys with bumps other than the Pennsylvania "Knobby" style keys that have a series of "bumps" along the edge of the bow on both sides(Links show two examples, please scroll ALL THE WAY DOWN for photos of them.) On these keys I have seen, the bumps are all identical size and placement, so there is no way to tell one key from the other using only feel. I am not sure if this is what you are referencing by "bumps," and these are the only examples I can think of. We may be talking about different things, if so, my apology.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Tuesday, November 3, 2020 by jms

A. I have and have seen other Cumberland Valley keys with a single "bump" on the flat of the hilt/bow near the lettering of CVRR Posted Tuesday, November 3, 2020 by COD

A. Pennsylvania Reading Seashore Lines used same exact knobby as PRR, key cut and all but marked PRSL. Posted Wednesday, November 4, 2020 by DC

A. Thank you for your replies. Yes I'm referring to a series of bumps all around the top of key. Was this just a certain look prr wanted on their keys or was there a purpose for the bumps. Thank you all, ed Posted Wednesday, November 4, 2020 by ed

A. Thank you for your replies. Yes I'm referring to a series of bumps all around the top of key. Was this just a certain look prr wanted on their keys or was there a purpose for the bumps. Thank you all, ed Posted Wednesday, November 4, 2020 by ed

A. I am only aware of the PRR doing this with their keys, but then, they often did things 'quite their own way.' Remember, the PRR was a huge system, Lines East, Lines West, and many subsidiary companies (such as Cumberland Valley) each bigger than many other RR's. There were different key cuts for the different segments, as well as for different purposes (switch key vs. rip track, for just one example.) There were places such as Pittsburgh where the various piece parts of the PRR system connected to each other, as well as needing keys for other RR's for trackage rights,etc, and it was places like that where they may have felt the need to be able to quickly identify the PRR keys and the ones for different purposes. I have seen employee key rings with as many as 10 keys, and picking the right one in the dark with blowing snow would be quite a challenge.  Posted Wednesday, November 4, 2020 by RJMc

A. The single bump CV keys apparently open the fancy castback locks, if I am not mistaken. Either is a hard find. Posted Thursday, November 5, 2020 by JMS

 Q3807 Inspector Lantern Globe Colors?  I have a question about inspector lanterns. Did they ever have blue, red, or amber globes, or did they only have clear ones? Thanks for your time. Hope someone can answer my question.  Posted Sunday, November 1, 2020 by Greg   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Clear for the inspection lantern , blue for marking the end of the train or string of cars they were inspecting , to mark it from being moved or connected onto.  Posted Monday, November 2, 2020 by h v coll

A. There was more than one kind of 'inspector lantern,' A 'car inspector lantern' has a reflector and hood assy; the whole purpose was to throw as much light as possible on the items to be inspected. That can only be accomplished with a clear globe. While all kinds of globes would probably fit, it would not make sense to block most of the light with a colored globe. The purpose of 'blue flagging' a track would be defeated by the limited viewing angle of the inspection light, not to mention the inspector would have no light to do his job while the lantern sat on the far end of the track to protect him. It raises the question of whether car inspectors carried more than one lantern. There are also 'Track Inspector' lanterns,some in North American practice and many in overseas RR practice. The track inspectors also had the need to flag trains if they found defects, so those lanterns often had changeable color provisions by switching lens covers or rotating part of the lantern.  Posted Monday, November 2, 2020 by RJMc

A. In order to get as much light as needed to inspect the inspectors lantern also had a mercury glass reflector behind the globe. Posted Monday, November 2, 2020 by DC

A. I did not clarify my previous answer as to "inspection". There were multiple jobs that were inspection of some sort but there were two "main" jobs on a railroad that were inspection. There were car inspectors , whose normal job was to inspect and prepare a cut of cars about to leave a yard , and there were track inspectors whose normal job was to inspect an area of track assigned to them , as to condition. Both used somewhat the same style of lantern , but with differences. The car inspector used two styles , a lantern for viewing the car for defects and to assist in attaching air hoses , etc. , plus two lanterns with blue globes, one for each end , for night work , to mark the cut of cars he was to be inspecting. The track inspector needed only an illumination lantern. Sometimes his lantern had a hole in the reflector to illuminate a small red lens in the back , for his safety. Almost all the inspection lanterns had a polished steel or mercury filled reflector in them to increase the light. The very early ones did not have any reflector. As to inspection, just some were locomotive , signal, structure, Book of Rules , and many others. Posted Wednesday, November 4, 2020 by hv coll

 Q3806 Embroidered Railroad Patches  What can you tell me about embroidered railroad patches (i.e. Nevada County Railroad; Pine Creek Railroad; Sante Fe Super Chief)? On what were they used? When were they used? Thank you.  Posted Wednesday, October 28, 2020 by Steven   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Genuine RR issues usually refer to divisions, districts, yards, plants, operating departments, promotional slogans, and safety programs. The other kind, railfan type patches tend to celebrate logos, route names, train identities, or locomotives. These have been around in varying qualities since the days of Lionel and American Flyer model railroad clubs (c.1940's). The best and greatest quantity was available through (William K.) Walther's, a model railroad distributor which used to list them in their annual catalogues (c.1960's-80's). Some foreign makers were good, others totally were skunky. Most rail enthusiasts, photographers, and modelers once collected at least some for their gear or decorating. It was kind of replaced by pins from firms like Sundance of Portland OR. The railfan types are interesting and collectable, but do usually exist in surviving numbers. Some are even dead-on copies of real uniform patches used in passenger operations (Pullman, S.P waiters, etc.). The genuine issues are far harder to obtain these days...often only in the hands of collectors who attend local "train shows" or in lost articles of clothing which held them (hats, coats, jackets). Direct embroidery did not ovewhelm patches until the 1990's. Posted Wednesday, October 28, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. BTW-Each Walther's patch had a stock number and an associated image in those catalog pages...makes for handy identification. Old copies turn up in thrift store book sections or at train shows. They were just being dumped up until recently, but may become valuable reference guides in time as has happened with old phone books. Posted Thursday, October 29, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. More-RR's did have additional ones for those "off duty" type things like ball teams or bands, and some small size versions may have gone to family members like "junior"...some would be hard to tell apart from the non kosher kuts which also came in large and small sizes. Posted Thursday, October 29, 2020 by ShastaRoute

 Q3805 Builder Plate Info?  I am looking for any information about the New Jersey Railroad and Transportation Works, Jersey City - circa 1865-1875. I have produced a complete CAD Model of the No.44 with 10 wheel tender built there sometime between 1868-1871 by Master Mechanic John Headden from the drawings by Mr. Weissenborn. I am looking for the following to complete this project to the degree of accuracy the model is at - which is almost 95% accurate to the drawings. Builder Plate Markings for Cab, Tender, and line the No.44 was used on. I know this is a tall order - but I haven't the resources to locate this information - and was hoping someone out there may have a builder plate example - and information on the New Jersey Railroad from this time period. Shown is a rendering of the CAD model. Best Regards   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, October 25, 2020 by Anthony   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I think I found a really good page of history on Wikipedia, see Link 1. The formal name was the New Jersey Rail Road, scroll down to the section about it and Jersey City. Best of luck !  Link 1  Posted Friday, October 30, 2020 by JMS

 Q3804 Vintage of Caboose Lamp?  I'm hoping you can tell me the approximate vintage of this unusual Adlake Caboose lamp. It has manual levers for changing the color of illuminated markers in the windows. All the patent dates are in the 00 to teens range, but that probably isn't accurate for a manufacture date. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, October 25, 2020 by Tim W   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Barrett and Gross's Encyclopedia of RR Lighting Vol. 2 shows this as a Model 187 Automatic Locomotive Classificaton Lamp. The 'automatic' refers to the quickly selectable color changing; the green lens filters confirm use as a classification lamp rather than a caboose marker. The lamp could also be used as a marker on the rear of the locomotive tender. They state that this model of lamp was first in Adlake catalogs in 1907. After 1916 or so most lamps were made with square tops and modified ventilation, but its possible the older style might still have been supplied if someone chose to order it. The Model 187 shipped with the standard ribbed glass lenses; your lamp looks to have been modified later to have the flat glass panes and the white targets -- much less effective than the lenses.  Posted Sunday, October 25, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3803 St Louis Iron Mountain & Southern RR Branch  I'm conducting some genealogy research on an ancestor of mine that lived briefly in the town of Williams Arkansas. It appears that Williams was a small town on the St Louis Iron Mountain & Southern Railroad, approx. 4 miles southwest of the present day town of Moark AR. I found a map from 1898 which shows a branch line coming west from Williams. On the map it’s identified as the 'W.C.R&W'. Searching your Railroad Names Database did not yield anything useful. Does anyone have any idea as to the name or history of this branch? A copy of the 1898 map can be found at the link below. Related maps from 1895 and 1915 don’t show this branch line. Posted Saturday, October 24, 2020 by Dave K  Link 1     Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Apparently Hix's Ferry crossing of the Current River at Pitman (the end of your alleged line) once made that area an important gateway toward the southwest, but is now lone forgotten. Perhaps "Williams, Current River & Western" might have made sense to some dreamers or boosters of a phantom road that never existed? What's on the map does not match up to any known logging, narrow guage, or standard lines between 1889 & 1921 from what I could check. [BTW-This was once serious Klan territory by the accounts.] Posted Saturday, October 24, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. The Link is to a Wikipedia listing of Arkansas railroads with basic info about each listed line, including a very robust listing of defunct lines as well as current lines. It has nothing that would fit this, either. (It seems they have a simliar listing for all states, very handy for future reference.) Many references only list interstate lines under ICC jurisdiction; there is a chance the Arkansas Railroad Commission might have some info but no luck so far. The 1890 and 1910 Guides do not list the indicated towns as having RR stations except Williams on the Iron Mtn./Missouri Pacific line. The Trolley and Interurban Directory does not show any interurban lines in this area. Link 1  Posted Sunday, October 25, 2020 by RJMc

A. The Link below is to the US Geological Survey's outstanding online collection of historical topo maps. The database underlying this website appears to have almost every ever-named location in the US in it. (!!!) Go to the link and enter and select 'Pitman, AR, US" or "Williams AR US" to see 1935 or 1941 very detailed topographic maps that you can zoom in on, or print and/or overlay with more recent maps. There are no earlier maps listed in this area. The landmarks named on these maps show where Williams station was, although it was no longer a named location by 1941. These don't show any signs of a prior RR right of way west from Williams toward Pitman, but they may assist you otherwise in your search.  Link 1  Posted Sunday, October 25, 2020 by RJMc

A. Not trying to go too far afield, but it occurs to me that the region became the West Clay Irrigation District having three subdistricts, somehow related to waterways/canals. Not sure how they built this or when, but "W.C. R.&W." could be West Clay Rail(?) & Water (?) of some sort...construction related? Temporary lines were used elsewhere to access and build dam sites. Might explain why it seems to apear and vanish so fast. Posted Monday, October 26, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. It was actually the West Clay Drainage District, first officially formed in 1909, covering the area between the Black River and the Current River but not beyond. However, the state had recognized the Clay drainage area as of 1887. It is not clear who may have done earlier work in those West Clay subdistricts before 1909, if any really was. There is a lot of general info. on clearing trees in sectors of the state, and sending the wood out to central towns for processing. It may be possible that wood harvests were used as part of the incentives for contractors in dealing with the drainage needs. If this ghost line or projection is tied-in to such work, then perhaps it was as a project of the Iron Mountain itself. Posted Tuesday, October 27, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. The Link is to the Library of Congress website which has several very detailed maps of Arkansas RR's. The cited one is a Rand McNally map from 1898; it shows all of the locations but no RR between Williams and Pitman. Another map in their file from 1895 also shows no RR. Vols. 2 and 3 (Link 2) of the Arkansas Railroad Commission's Annual Reports are available online from Google books. A thorough look thru Vol. 3 (1903) has no reference to anything close, and it specifically lists separate RR co's leased by the Iron Mtn. Link 1  Link 2  Posted Wednesday, October 28, 2020 by RJMc

A. There is a case where a projected line remained on maps for many years. The Southern Pacific extension from Eugene to Corvallis showed a grade or embankment to the west side of Eugene arcing northward. No rails were ever laid, but the feature was noted on maps with the associated name dropped over time. So W.C. R.&W. might just be West Clay Right & Way for a feature never completed. It may be the map company did not actually do a field check on a report, and then later just dropped it. One thing that did exist in that era was a "train" based on a steam tractor which pulled log cars on wheels with no rails...just needed a dirt roadway. These did see useage in Oregon (Josephine County), but I have no idea if they were employed in Arkansas logging. If a grade or lane existed, it could have disappeared in flooding of the area after abandonment..there might be no traces left. All said, something gave a cartographer reason enough to actually letter this ghost feature...that implies more than a print error. Posted Thursday, October 29, 2020 by ShastaRoute

 Q3802 Railroad Tooling Model?  I'm curious to hear what you think this wooden gear was used for. Measures 5-1/2-inches in diameter and 2-inches thick. Stamping seems to indicate that is came from the Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley RR, which was part of the Chicago & North Western (also appears on block). Thanks in advance for any help.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2020 by Tim W   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Casting mold for part of a hand brake assembly ?? Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2020 by hv coll

A. Most railroads operated their own foundries to cast parts for their various equipment. The foundries were usually located at the heavy-repair backshop facilities. For example at one time the Pennsylvania RR ran a huge foundry complex employing hundreds at Altoona. Sand casting used wooden patterns such as yours. The sand was hard-packed around the pattern in a mold box to create a void duplicating the pattern. The mold was then split apart to allow removal of the pattern. Passages were also molded into the sand so that molten metal (steel, cast iron, bronze, brass, or somemaking times aluminum alloys)could be poured into the cavity. When things cooled down the surrounding sand could be knocked away leaving the metal part. The pattern ID also showed on the part, becoming an inventory part number. "Coal crane 2547" probably refers to a crane used to fuel steam locomotives. That kind of crane was in constant heavy use; the gears probably wore out often and your pattern was used to make the replacement parts. Search "sand casting" on the web to see many, many interesting videos of people now doing sand casting in their basements and backyards, including gears, if you want to try out your pattern at home (but be CAREFUL!!)  Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2020 by RJMc

A. The railroad initials stamped into the pattern may indicate that an outside foundry, possibly the original crane mfr., was making the castings, not a shop belonging to the RR itself. Making the first wood pattern was a lot of very skilled work and relatively expensive compared to doing the actual castings. The wood patterns could be reused many times, so any of the foundries warehoused many patterns like this against future orders for the part.  Posted Friday, October 16, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3801 Pullman Vesta Lantern  I have a Dietz Vesta Pullman lantern that I found with a red globe. I swapped the red for a clear globe (the red was cracked) but was wondering if Pullman also would have used either amber, blue or green in their lanterns?  Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2020 by RA   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I am guessing your globes are not marked with the name Pullman. I do not know enough about Pullman to know if they used anything except clear in any of their lanterns. The reliable organization Key Lock & Lantern includes Pullman in their list of companies that are documented as having used 5-3/8 inch tall globes (this size of course doesn't fit a Vesta): Clear Cast and Clear Etched Pullman globes have been reported, but there is no mention of "Pullman" in any of the other sizes. See Link 1 to the lantern surveys on the KL&L site.  Link 1  Posted Friday, October 16, 2020 by JMS

 Q3800 Pere Marquette Lantern  I have acquired a Pere Marquette (P.M.R.R. stamped) N.L. Piper tall globe lantern. Unfortunately it's all intact except the globe. Could you please tell me if it would have just a plain clear globe or a globe embossed with Pere Marquette? Thanks, hoping this can answer some questions for me.  Posted Monday, October 12, 2020 by boxcarwingy   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. On the Home Page there is a Lantern Survey (left side, click on) which has Pere Marquette in the 5 3/8" (tall) globe listings with code explanations if that helps start you out on getting a solution. Posted Monday, October 12, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. Query # 1060 does have a sample marked globe if you have any interest. Posted Monday, October 12, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. And plugging "Piper lantern" into the phrase box will pull up four prior lines of query related this firm's history and products...quite a read there. Posted Monday, October 12, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. Whether the globe is marked or not makes absolutely no difference in how the lantern worked out on the RR, so there were no standards regarding any markings. The lantern survey mentioned above indicates that the PM RR at one time or another had cast clear, red, green and blue globes marked 'Pere Marquette.' But there is no way to know whether they also may have used unmarked globes, which would have been a little cheaper to purchase. For display purposes, its obviously more attractive to have a marked globe, but having an unmarked globe is hardly 'unauthentic.' And the lantern bodies that used the various colors were identical, so you have your choice of what color of globe to use in the lantern, whether marked or not.  Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3799 Lamp Enquiry  Just wondering if you might have an update on a lamp similar to this one? We've found one in my grandfathers things that he left to us but we don't know anything about it. Thanks in advance.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, October 11, 2020 by Michael O, Australia   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Common in the 40`s and 50`s. Some railroads did use them , but they were mostly sold out of hardware stores. They used a 6 volt battery which did not last long , and if left in the unit would eat out the bottom quickly, so you do not see as many of these in good condition, compared to flashlights. Posted Sunday, October 11, 2020 by h v coll

A. Basically an inspection lantern, designed to aid in looking under the rolling stock and could be set for angles allowing hands free when working on fixes. By the time Japan was kicking out lightweight knock-offs, people carried them for automobiles/trucks/trailers. Those ones often replace the big battery with a block of "D" or "C" cells. Posted Sunday, October 11, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. Another potential use for these lamps may have been aboard ships as focused lighting during wartime blackout conditions or emergencies. One can see a similar lamp used for a medical procedure in the 1943 film "Action in the North Atlantic"...Hollywood, yes..but they weren't always way off base. The grey paint might be consistent with such production. Posted Monday, October 12, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. I think this is a terrific piece of family history - it might be the start of a collection of this type of lantern, which is wide and varied. Early models can be a lot of fun! Please check out Link 1, I realize this is eBay U.S.A. but it shows some of the variety. Of course this type of lantern is not as "romantic" as its predecessors, but they are in fact a real collecting interest.  Link 1  Posted Friday, October 16, 2020 by JMS

A. This appears to be more heavy duty (?) than the Delta brand for which I could find an ad in Country Gentleman October 1940. That version, dubbed the POWERlite listed at $3.35 less battery (6v. dry). Adjusting for inflation in the post-war climb, that would have been almost about a day's wages for a starting worker in 1940! Here's the details: "Two lights on a double action switch. 800 ft. spot beam from front reflector; broad floodlight from top. Handle reverses. Unbreakable lens. 6 1/2" high. At sport, hardware, electrical dealers or write for literature. DELTA ELECTRIC COMPANY 250 W. 33rd St., Marion, Ind." They alleged 80-100 hours light on one battery. Posted Tuesday, October 20, 2020 by ShastaRoute

 Q3798 Kero Font Make?  I recently picked up an Adlake No. 250 marked for the Southern Pacific (S.P. Co.). It had a 300 burner in it and a fount with a red star on the bottom. I've not come across this star before and am curious if anyone knows the significance (if any at all). Is it possibly a replacement made by 'Star Lantern and Headlight Co'? I could not find any reference to it on the web or searching previous Qs on the site. Thanks for any info!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, October 9, 2020 by Jake   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Probably a previous owner or user painted the star on fount, for who knows what reason. The fount was made by Adlake.  Posted Saturday, October 10, 2020 by JEM

A. When it comes to Espee I don't think you can jump to any conclusions. It was by necessity a very independent organization from the get go. Stars have been used as designator marks on rolling stock, so this would not automatically be inconsistent. Shops can do all sorts of things. Maybe they just marked some new items in order to catch a thief at work and have a way to prove it. We'll probably never know, but I would leave it just as it was found. Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. Thank you both for the insightful perspectives! The star struck me as unique and given its weathered condition I would estimate its application sometime around the fonts original period of use. I enjoy most the old lamps and lanterns with character and will certainly keep it as is! Posted Friday, October 16, 2020 by Jake

 Q3797 Lamp IDs?  I have had these two lanterns/lamps for 45 years. I'm not sure what they are. One was converted to electric. It hung on our old summer cottage. The other was left original. Thank you for any help and time in identifying them.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, October 9, 2020 by DG   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. These are 'station lamps' used for interior lighting before electricity became available. Putting 'station lamp' in the 'By word or phrase' query box will bring up several prior Q's about these. Link 1 below is added again here for your convenience from Q 3781; its a page out of a 1902 RR supply company catalog showing several different kinds of station lamps. Identical or similar lamps were probably used in all kinds of businesses; similar lamps were made by all of the various lantern manufacturers.  Link 1  Posted Friday, October 9, 2020 by RJMc

A. I believe many sources of photo documentarianists have in the past refered to them as station "hurricane lamps". ( I pass no judgement on the accuracy of their chosen words.) Might help in finding images. Posted Saturday, October 10, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. "Storm lamp" might be an alternate name. Posted Saturday, October 10, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. I suspect many of these lamps got installed before electic lighting was available, and then just left in place as emergency ("hurricane, storm") lights for when the electricity went out. And that made perfect sense long before everyone was willing to put rechargeable batteries, chargers, and wire connections in every emergency light.  Posted Wednesday, October 14, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3796 Train Bell Drawing?  I am trying to restore a train bell to working order that has a Viloco BR 83 bell ringer in it. The internal piston of the bell ringer is missing, and all I have to go by are a few pictures. Are there any drawings that I could use to make the piston? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks. [Email to the website and we will post it - Ed.]  Posted Monday, October 5, 2020 by Rich   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Putting 'VILOCO' into the 'Word or Phrase' search box will take you to several prior questions dealing with exactly this subject. They mention Curran Castings as a great source of both info and parts to refurbish all kinds of bells; Link 1 below will take you to their website.  Link 1  Posted Monday, October 5, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3795 Dietz Acme Inspector Lamp  I am wondering about the age of a Dietz ACME INSPECTOR LAMP NEW YORK, USA that belonged to my great grandfather. In his death notice it mentioned that he’d been a railroad man almost from it's inception. The stamp on the air tube says 'patented JULY 11-99'. I think the last stamp is 1913. The reflector appears to be mercury glass. The globe says FITALL NEW YORK USA. On the top back of the globe is R15. I'm wondering if you can provide any information on the age of this lantern as his son (my grandfather) was also a railroad man. Any info would be helpful, thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, October 3, 2020 by Frannie   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Always remember, if it shows "Pat Appl for", that is an approximate date. If it shows a "patent" date , it has to be made after that date , as the maker would not know the date until approved. Then go by the last date shown for dating purposes . Posted Saturday, October 3, 2020 by hv coll

A. Barrett and Gross's Encyclopedia of RR Lighting Vol. 1 in the section on Dietz products says the Acme Inspector Lantern was sold by them from around 1900 to 1954. The term 'Fitall' on the globe indicates a lamp made earlier in the production; later it was modified to "Fitzall." The patent dates indicate no earlier than 1913. If there is a wire guard around the globe it would indicate manufacture "beginning late in the 1920's." There were some changes of materials and surface finishes later in the production which would not have affected your lamp. Otherwise the lamps of this series were remarkably identical for a very long time.  Posted Wednesday, October 7, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3794 Pink Globe Lantern  I'm new at this and bought this one because it was different. I was told this color was made during the color change from blue to red. The globe is marked with a K with a circle around it as well as a keystone Penn logo. Is this a fact? Real? Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, October 3, 2020 by Sam   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Just to start, the encircled "K" is for Kopp Glass...an authentic manufacturer of safety glass items used in traffic related industries. Still online. Posted Saturday, October 3, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. Try question 2712 in the lower left box and hit Go there...leave off the Q. It mentions "Kerosene Pink" being a Kopp color. Pink in the middle box will yield several threads. Lantern Survey on the home page left side may help. Posted Saturday, October 3, 2020 by ShastaRoute

 Q3793 Bracket Question  I believe these are a pair of old RR lamp mounting brackets but not sure. Heavy brass, about 3 1/2 across the top by 2 3/4 tall x 5/8 thick. I saw an illustration from a lantern catalog reprint showing a lamp which had strap iron mount that fit into a slotted bracket like these. Maybe some kind of a a station lamp or signal, etc? The most detailed answers here are usually about RR lamps, so I figured someone here would know.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, October 3, 2020 by DA   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Brackets such as these were/are used in RR dining cars and sleeping cars to hook portable tables and possibly other portable accessories such as ashtrays or cupholders to the walls. The sleeping car passenger could request that the porter bring such a portable table -- usually with a fold-down support foot at the outer end -- for activities such as playing cards or writing letters.  Posted Saturday, October 3, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3792 Mismatched PRR/B&O Globe/Lantern Set  I recently received an adlake lantern with B&O RR on the top rim. I'm not concerned about the lantern itself as being authentic but the globe. The globe is red with Pennsylvania Lines embossed on the glass. I have no idea if the globe is the original but it is a solid red and not painted or clear and red glass pressed together. My question is: did B&O RR sell to Pennsylvania lines or vice versa? Any info is appreciated and thank you so much. Posted Saturday, October 3, 2020 by Chuck   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. In short..no. What you've got is known in the collecting sphere as "Pieced together"....two distinct components brought together to work but not part of a created item which would be "hobbled together" from a variety of parts. There is no question of merger mania that far back, and both roads moved into separate groupings over time (ie Conrail versus Chessie/CSX) well after lanterns went electric. However, big roads and their subsidiaries often crossed territories...so, it would be easy for a person buying in the secondary markets (junking) to find two pieces that can work together. Also, "boomers" are employees who move on to the new opportunities with the shifting economy, often carrying items with them and presenting more opportunity for mix-and-match where they go. You can authenticate the globe here, but they are still of distinct origins. Posted Saturday, October 3, 2020 by ShastaRoute

 Q3791 Ticket Punch Manufacturer?  We just received a Twin City Rapid Transit Company streetcar ticket punch with green leather holster. It was donated by the family of the motorman who owned it. It dates from 1946 and maybe before. Embossed on the holster, with the lettering partially worn away, it reads MF ??? Forging, ??? Equipment, ??? (maybe Kenmare) North Dakota. Does that company sound familiar?  Posted Thursday, October 1, 2020 by Aaron I., Minnesota Streetcar Museum   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Kenmare is almost a historical black hole. However, you will find (Link 1) that Soo Line built the "Wheat Branch" to Kenmare in 1905. Now Kenmare was the location of a brink plant, and in one set of historical interviews on tapes there is the titled mention of "Brick Foundry" for some reason. I would think forging and foundry might relate, but was this something occuring at the old brick plant site? There was a lot of economic turmoil and a sudden drop in the population (which was never very high ti begin with), but plants for war production popped up in all sorts of places...and closed down just as fast. Ticket punches are specialized items with a rather short list of well documented makers (railroadiana books include such names with their examples...Baker 4th ed. was one but now dated). The holster might have been made for some other implement? Link 1  Posted Saturday, October 3, 2020 by ShastaRoute

 Q3790 Lock Initials?  I am an auctioneer and have a huge collection of railroadiana that we are getting ready to auction and have found your website helpful. I am stumped by one lock I have. I can not figure out 'R W D & S C RR'. The first letter is hard to read but when I look with a loupe we all believe it is a R not a P, B or D. Regardless, I have not been able to identify it. If you have an answer and know this line that would be great if you would share.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, September 30, 2020 by Kendra   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Quick looks thru Bill Edson's Railroad Names and Gross's Trolley and Interurban directory don't show anything likely, considering B, P, or R for the first letter. Other possibilities to consider: Canadian or 'overseas' foreign or a construction company building railroads. The most intriguing but unlikely possibility is that in India under British rule a unit of the Public Works Dept (PWD) ran the railroads. No accounting under this theory for the 'SC.' Posted Thursday, October 1, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3789 Key IDs Needed  My last 3 keys must have been quite rare as there were no comments on them so on to the next 3. The first GN key I know positively is not Great Northern so that leaves 2 GN keys on this site's data base I'm leaning toward Georgia Northern. Does anyone know for sure? Next is a Fraim LIRR that I'm assuming is Long Island but not the 2 known (by me) switch cut bits. Can it be RTor Car dept? Last is Bohannon K&O. there are 3 roads listed with those initials. Does anyone know for sure? Any help is appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, September 30, 2020 by Jim   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is not a dig on your keys , but something to remember , at Penn Central , there were 21 different cuts to the keys. A lot of different uses for various departments. Posted Wednesday, September 30, 2020 by h v coll

A. Barrett and Gross's "Railroad Locks and Keys" Vol 1 reference book about Adlake locks and keys might throw some confusion or light on the Adlake GNRR CO. key. Page 89 lists a GNRR CO. marked switch key with "Ordering Co. Unavailable" and Adlake key #1789 notes. The #1789 key picture seems to show the same cut as Jim's key. Page 78 lists two Georgia-Northern RY CO #2015 keys with company initials either G.N or GN. Moving on to locks, page 121 shows Georgia-Northern RY CO ordered locks with either GNRY or G.N.RY. stamps. The lock # is 48-2015 which corresponds to the #2015 key. Note - the #2015 key might be the same cut as the #1789 key but the photos are murky and show only one key side.  Posted Saturday, October 3, 2020 by JEM

 Q3788 Chicago Burlington and Northern Key  My Chicago Burlington and Northern key has the marking 'OS' stamped on it. I always thought this might be a switch key but Railroad Memories now has a CB&Q key marked with just an 'S' that is an entirely different cut. Does anyone know what the 'OS' marking means on my key? Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, September 24, 2020 by JEM   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Oops -typo above. Railroad Memories now has a CB&N key, not CB&Q key.  Posted Thursday, September 24, 2020 by JEM

A. This one needs a better key collector than me , but with what appears to be little to no wear on a taper shank key , with what looks to be a filled in cut , I would have second thoughts on any markings , not just the OS. Posted Thursday, September 24, 2020 by hv coll

A. Yeah - thanks hv coll. I looked at the key under some magnification and the cut looks filled in with solder (but well done) and the bit edges have some sharpness, so little if any use. The ampersand stamping isn't the best either. Fake? I don't know. I bought this key years ago when I was young and foolish, and now that I'm old and foolish.......  Posted Thursday, September 24, 2020 by JEM

A. Here are two CB&N keys that sold on Railroad Memories in past auctions. I can't help with the OS; all I can find are simply S. You might at least compare the cuts with yours.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Friday, September 25, 2020 by JMS

A. Here is a third one - REALLY good markings and probably the best example of the three ... Take a look at the letter style -- the font / typeface - that on yours looks more modern, and the points mentioned by hv coll do concern me as well. I would not feel impossibly bad if yours turns out to be not authentic. Anyone who claims they never have bought at least one fake is either not very deeply invested or a fibber. Link 1  Posted Friday, September 25, 2020 by JMS

A. Thanks everyone. The three "real" keys are stamped RR - mine as you can see is not stamped with RR. It does not appear the hilt has been shaved or filed in any way to remove other letters so it may have been a blank at one time. I now have a tag on it indicating a possible fake key. I have another key stamped D & NE for the Duluth & North Eastern Railroad, where if you look close you can see the E is overstamped on a P; the key is actually a Northern Pacific key. It isn't some sort of an interchange key because the two railroads didn't interchange. Another local long time key collector has the same type key and we both most likely have fakes. Well - back to the drawing board!  Posted Friday, September 25, 2020 by JEM

A. I'd like to comment regarding JEM's CB&N key. First just because a key is an old and tapered key that has no wear doesn't make it a fake. It could have be someone's spare and never used. It could have been in a desk drawer and never issued etc. Also I have seen and have old keys from the same road that have RR or RY on just the road name like JEM's CB&N. His key in my mind is an old Union Brass key. The solder for whatever reason in the bit could be easily remedied with a butane torch. The OS designation I have no idea what it could be but I will ask our resident CB&N expert next time I see him and see if I can find out and will post it.  Posted Wednesday, September 30, 2020 by Jim

 Q3787 Reed & Barton Holloware for the Bar or Table?  I have a holloware item that I would like to identify the form or how it was used on the train and where, i.e. a shot glass in the bar car or a toothpick holder in the dinning car etc. It is made by Reed & Barton. Also, is it silver-plate or silver, scarify, year of manufacture? It is made for the New York Central & Hudson River RR, 1869 - 1914, Vanderbilt. Capacity - 1 oz. Dimensions: diameter top - 1 1/2 inches; dia. bot. - 1 3/8 inches; height - 1 15/16 inches; weight - 2.14 oz. (empty). This item tested for 0.500 grade of silver with the silver testing kit. The acid turned green. Would that be the silver grade or the silver plating or the grade of a solid silver piece? Note that the centered incised dot on the 'B' of Barton is presumably for holding the piece during its manufacture. During which process or stage of manufacturing is unknown. Any help with the identification will be appreciated. Thank you for your time in considering my information request.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, September 22, 2020 by Jeff   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is a toothpick holder made for the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad, as you noted. It is silver-plated over a nickel silver base. The silver used for plating was usually 92.5% pure (.925 silver). The mark "Silver Soldered" indicated that silver solder was used to assemble the piece. This was harder and much more durable than cheaper soft solder and was a mark of quality used by the major producers of commercial silverware. The number 764S is a pattern number, indicating the style family of the piece. This particular piece is shown in a Reed & Barton catalog page on page 206 of "Silver in the Diner," the definitive guide to railroad silver hollowware (if I do say so myself!). The photo is dated 1909 and shows that the piece was part of the road's general dining car tableware. Information on the book can be found at www.silverinthediner.com.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, September 22, 2020 by pemigewasset

 Q3786 Penn Central Lamp or Torch?  Could you please tell Me what this is? It has a Penn Central stamp on the top and is marked Johnson Urbana. The spout is about 28 in. long. I thought that maybe this had something to do with inspecting journals, but this is really a guess. Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, September 17, 2020 by RG   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is more like a weed sprayer, or almost a flamethrower. In the winter it was filled with a flammable liquid which was then dispensed onto places like switch points and ignited, to melt out ice and snow so that the points could continue to be moved as needed to route trains. See Link where the man cetered in the pic is carrying one of these. The PRR also deployed thousands of rectangular metal burner cans, like smudge pots, under the rails at switch points in interlockings to keep the railroad open during snowstorms. They were manually lit or extinguished by track workers. This practice continued up thru PC, but has long since been replaced with propane or electric heaters and blowers to keep the points open, since there are no longer hundreds or thousands of employees to tend all this directly, and petroleum products are way too expensive to squirt on the ground and burn in the open.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, September 17, 2020 by RJMc

A. In the pic in the Link above, the man third from the left is actually using one.  Posted Thursday, September 17, 2020 by RJMc

A. Older style can than most of what I used , but I used them in the winter through the 80`s to thaw and clean out switches. Heaters were few and far between even on the main lines, except at major interlockings , and there were very few in the yards. I have heard of , but never seen , these used years ago to thaw out a frozen old style journal box. They were also used around lever operated towers.  Posted Friday, September 18, 2020 by hv coll

A. Glad to hear from somebody who has used one of these, I never have. It looks like the rod going up the handle is to operate the valve. But was there some kind of 'pilot light' function, so you didn't have to repeatedly keep lighting the liquid that came out? How long would a tankful last before having to go back for more? Posted Friday, September 18, 2020 by RJMc

A. From what I can remember , this style weighed about 3 times what a newer style weighed when empty. Both styles had a thumb style valve. They did not "throw " flame buy kept an asbestos torch lit on the end to unthaw areas , let it be a switch , or the rods of a mechanical plant. They were lit by match , cigarette lighter or fuzee , whatever you had near. Very concentrated heating to one area at a time. During the 77/78 blizzard , I sometimes used 5 or 6 on one side of one switch , just to get enough heat to clean each side. Posted Monday, September 21, 2020 by h v coll

A. The Link is to the Wikipedia article on 'Driptorches' used to set backfires in forest fire fighting. Looks to be much the same thing as the RR's used.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, November 17, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3785 Union Pacific Cast Globes  I have three different Union Pacific cast globes. (1)Overland shield; (2)Union Pacific in a straight line enclosed in rectangle; (3)Union over Pacific in square. What year was each one made? They are 5 3/8 inch globes and are not extended-base. Thanks,  Posted Saturday, September 12, 2020 by Troy   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Since no one has responded , and I have never seen a list of dates when certain globes were made, try " Union Pacific logos " on the internet. This will not give you certain dates , but it may give you an era when things changed . Posted Saturday, September 26, 2020 by h v coll

A. There are several reasons this question is extremely difficult to try to answer. I am guessing you would like to use the globe patterns to try to date lanterns. The suggestion to look at when different logos were used is a good one. But the markings on globes and lanterns were not for advertising to the public; they were to mark the RR's property to keep it from 'wandering off' to every barn and farm house in the region, where kerosene lanterns were also in common use. Looking at the info in the Archives and in other catalogs, lanterns cost as little as one or two dollars each and were bought in cases holding a dozen or more lanterns. So when kerosene lanterns and globes were in daily use on the railroads, they were "consumable" items, not "collectibles." I think globes got replaced sort of like flashlight batteries do today. Lanterns often got destroyed in use and quickly replaced, including globes getting broken and thrown away, replaced by new ones, often likely of a different pattern. And there were many different locations and departments of a big RR like UP that would order lanterns and replacement globes. There was little need for them to standardize the markings, and the manufacturers would put on any markings the customer(s) ordered. And a last layer of complexity: the glass suppliers who produced the globes were mostly separate from the lantern manufacturers and it wsa the glass suppliers who had the dies and molds for the globes. It is entirely possible that two different glass suppliers could be sending the UPRR globes, with or without lanterns, with different markings all at the same time. So the best hope for even a general answer to your question will be from someone who has a large collection of UPRR lanterns and has information about when each lantern and globe was in use. The UPRR Museum might be able to help (see link).  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, September 29, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3784 WPRR Pry Bar  Full size (~2.5 feet) appears to be Western Pacific Railroad stamped. Included on opposite side is word 'SEMINOLE' before number '5'. Additional mark on bar is '8'. Have not been able to find any maker or supplier with this name to date the item. Any help is welcome.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, September 10, 2020 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3783 Handlan 150 Switch Lamp  I just recently purchased what I believe to be a Handlan 150 Switch lamp, which I plan to restore. The burner/fuel pot assembly is missing, and I was wondering if anyone could give me the dimensions and possibly a photograph of the burner/tank so that I could pursue a replacement? I am also curious if it uses a chimney as do the Adlakes? I can find almost no information on the lamp (age, etc - believe made between 1920-1940). It looks like it would take a rectangular tank roughly 4 in. W x 6 in. L x 3 in. H. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, September 6, 2020 by Steve   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The Archives here on the RRiana website have a complete 1956 Handlan catalog, including the No. 150 Switch Lamp. Link 1 is to the page illustrating the various types of lamps available in 1956, and Link 2 has an exploded view of all the various replacement parts which rr's used to refurbish the lamps. It shows the rectangular font which was common in switchlamps and markers. It shows a burner and chimney, but as discussed in another recent Q, that may have been a 'long burning' option not used in all the lamps. There are many other earlier Q's here on the site; just put Handlan Switch Lamp in the 'by word or phrase' query box. Link 1  Link 2  Posted Sunday, September 6, 2020 by RJMc

A. Lantern Update 6 Layers of paint later, the lantern is down to bare metal. It was a New Haven Rail Road Lantern. Two of the reflectors were in white baked enamel (blue enamel back), and the other two were painted yellow. Discussion with Woody Kirkman of Kirkman lanterns informed me that I can use an Adlake No. 1221 & No. 1307 Marker Lamp Fount (#28), which he has both fuel fount and burner in stock. I will update fully restored. Thanks Steve Posted Wednesday, September 23, 2020 by Steve

 Q3782 Tool Check  I just acquired this C&O tool check. It is made from a plastic like material. The seller said it was probably made during WWI or WWII, when brass was restricted to military use. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, September 6, 2020 by JN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Its hard to tell the properties of the material from just the photo. Is it a ceramic, or a more flexible type of material? The reddish color of your tag is very similar to the insulating materials used in passenger car electrical cabinets and on diesel locomotives. It is interesting that the letters and numbers on your tag seem to have been stamped, just as they would be with a brass tag, implying the material was fairly soft at the time the tag was produced. Bakelite and other plastics were widely available shortly after the invention of Bakelite in 1907 and were certainly in wide use during WWII, including for direct substitutes for scarce metals (see Link) but the tags would have had to be cured after stamping. Bakelite and its cousins are fairly brittle under impacts -- and that would make sequential numbering of mass-produced tags somewhat awkward.  Link 1  Posted Sunday, September 6, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3781 1880-1890 Dressel Lamp  I have this triangle Dressel lamp, I would like some information on it as I am looking for a catalog pic of it or someone with one. I have been collecting railroad for a very long time. I have never seen one of these as no one else either I have been talking to online. I'm needing to see what the reflector and font looks like as I need to find them. I would like to know any info on this lamp. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, August 29, 2020 by JH   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. There is an excellent (huge -- over 1100 pages) well-illustrated 1902 catalog of RR-related stuff available online, having been scanned as part of the Google project to scan historical documents wherever they could find them. The company was Manning, Maxwell and Moore, a distributor supplying all kinds of equipment to the RR industry. The Link is to the entire catalog which is over 300 MB (!!) as a .pdf. I have pulled out and will send along part of page 1000 which shows lamps, including two 'Triangular Station Lamps' one of which is very similar to yours. Unfortunately the catalog does not list the original manufacturers of the small items being sold such as lamps and other hardware. The illustrations are clear enough to show that the burner and reflector in your lamp are likely how it was delivered.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, August 29, 2020 by RJMc

A. A copy of the 1894 Manning, Maxwell catalog (also 1118 pgs long) is available from the Internet Archive, a different source which is much more usable (see Link) to be connected directly to the lamp pages. The information seems to be the same for the 1894 and 1902 versions of the catalog.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, August 29, 2020 by RJMc

A. Here is the piece I clipped out of the 1902 Manning, Maxwell & Moore catalog (see above). Link 1  Posted Sunday, August 30, 2020 by RJMc

 Q3780 Lamp Oil Question  I have a 1930 Adams & Westlake S.P. railroad lantern and would like to light use it in the backyard during family gatherings. The oil reservoir says 'use long time burning oil only No 300'. My question is: can I use lamp oil in the lantern? Thank you for your time and assistance.  Posted Saturday, August 22, 2020 by Connie   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Yes you can use lamp oil or common kerosene. Not all gas stations/mini marts have a kero pump so you might have to search a little. The instruction to use a long time burning oil only, dates to the days when gasoline was first showing up as a fuel and people were not aware of the highly volatile danger of lighting it with an open flame. So, a long time burning oil at that time could be kerosene or modestly refined animal fat. I tried diesel fuel in a lamp once but the oily nature of that fuel clogged the wick and it crusted up quickly and went out. There was no danger from using it though. Recently, in an old barn lantern,I tried used cooking oil from a deli which I got for free. Same problem with the wick crusting up and going out in a hour or less. An internet discussion suggested soaking the wick in a heavily concentrated salt solution, as the salt wouldn't burn and thus keep the end of the wick in tact. That didn't work either. I think it would work if I could find a synthetic material that would still wick up the fuel but not burn. Or, I could just spend $4 A gallon for kerosene.  Posted Sunday, August 23, 2020 by TE

A. Using the "By Question No." search box: prior Q's 1390, 1350, and others that are listed in their answers address the questions about long burning oil and the general considerations about what to burn in an Adlake No.300 lantern (300 is the model no. of the lantern). Searching in the 'By Word or Phrase' box will turn up many more Q's and A's on this topic. Posted Tuesday, August 25, 2020 by RJMc

A. Been decades since I bought kerosene in cans from hardware stores. This got me to check Fred Meyer's (Kroger owned) where they have plastic containers of "1K" heater fuel kerosene which is supposedly good for lanterns (by the labeling). It indicates it is better than "2K" kero. Could not find any disclaimer about "long burning" on it. Comes in three different quantities. Anyone have more info on such products? Posted Monday, August 31, 2020 by ShastaRoute

A. Most of the kerosene sold today at hardware stores and fuel pumps at mini marts is pretty much k-1. It is a purer fuel and has far less sulfur content than K2 and thus is why it's used in portable heater and such. I don't even know if you could find K-2, unless someone out there can tell me where and how. K-2 would definitely burn well enough in a lamp or lantern but would have a stronger acidic odor.  Posted Monday, August 31, 2020 by TE