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

  • PULEEZE! No questions about what something is worth -- see About Values.
  • No questions about contemporary railroading. We focus on antiques and history.
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Email a question to us.. 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. Stealing it 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 25 Questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Q2783 Reading Conductor Uniforms  I am trying to do some research on conductor uniforms of the Reading Railroad. I have seen only a couple of color photos and some appear to be green. I know that most railroads used blue. Are these photos deceiving or did Reading use green or was it something that was used for a certain period and changed? Thanks for your help.  Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2014 by SG   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The Reading Railroad historical society (see the link) should be able to help you with this very quickly. Their email address to send them questions is: Link 1  Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2014 by RJMc

 Q2782 Milwaukee Road Photo  It was suggested I forward these digitals for you and your audience to help provide additional information on this image. I do know it is a hand colored large Milwaukee Road photograph titled 'The Source of the Missouri River'. The site is along the Missouri near Three Forks Montana. The image is about 42 in. x 52 in. plus the original frame in the original glass. I have been unable to find an image of this and wondered if there is information outside about the image including who took the photograph? Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, July 6, 2014 by Ron   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2781 Help in Identifying Railroad China  Any help or information you can furnish about these pieces of railroad china would be very much appreciated. We are not concerned about their value (unless we can find some to buy), but we would like to find out the name, origin and any other information about this China. We have a total of seven pieces, mostly medium and small bowls. None of the pieces, including the coffee server are marked or numbered in any way except for one small bowl that has 'Kroger' or 'Groger' on its bottom. These items were passed down from an uncle who used to work for a railroad, somewhere in Tennessee. Thanks in advance for any information you may have.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, July 4, 2014 by TR   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hi, This does not look like any railroad china that I am aware of. Is it heavy & thick? Railroad china is normally industrial/ restaurant grade china, rugged to stand day to day use in a moving, vibrating environment. A search of "Groger" or "Kroger" does not find any china manufacturers by that name. There is a retail chain called "Kroger" that dates back to 1883. While it is very beautiful china I personally do not think it is connected to any railroad use. JN Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 by JN

A. E-mail the picture to Please check their website. After e-mailing the picture you can even talk to them via phone. They are one of the largest carriers of China and China patterns in the world. They are located in North Carolina. Pattern almost looks Bavarian but glazing seems to have been done in the US. You also need to show a picture of the underside showing the makers mark(s). Thank you Keith Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 by Keith

 Q2780 Lanterns and their use with Camp Cars  I have been going thru a lot of information and research on camp cars and lantern globe colors used for camp cars. What I have found out so far is that Amber was used to mark the cars and Cobalt Blue was used on both ends of the track, back and front, along with marker signs for daylight use for not moving the cars. Inside of car information I found in the book 'Dining by Rail'. Can anyone with the railroad experience please add any other important or helpful information regarding camp cars, safety and lantern use. Thank you.  Posted Tuesday, July 1, 2014 by Keith   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. There will be no one answer to this, because practices will be/were different railroad-by-railroad, and probably changed over time on any given railroad, as well. In addition, this is the kind of thing some individual States regulated, also. So when you list the requirements, you need to also list which RR, when, and where they applied, and what document (Book of Rules, Special Instructions, etc.) imposed the requirement. Do you want to know about one railroad and time in particular? Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 by RJMc

A. Hi Keith,Regarding your question about lanterns and camp car protection,I can give you a little info on the former Soo Line procedures.We were required to have a yellow lantern and yellow flag on each end car of our 7 car outfit as we called them,plus the switches and derails on the siding or stub track were locked with signal department locks.Occupied outfits were listed in the general orders for the particular subdivision and that was a warning to the train crews that we were there and that they had to contact the foreman in charge to unlock the locks when setting out cars of material or sometimes cars of clean water.The lanterns were simply electrified hand lanterns or sometimes,old semaphore lamps with yellow lenses.A pair of metal track flags were also included for daytime protection.I hope this answers a few of your questions.DJB Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 by DJB

A. RJMc, Not really detailed by railroad, that would require a small book. But for instance the NYC, B&O, PRR, and the SP etc. Marker lantern globe colors would be most helpful. Thank you. DJB, Yes, general information, perfect.  Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2014 by Keith

A. RJMc, Railroads are listed, give me some examples, please, thank you, Keith Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 by Keith

A. My comment abut 'requirements' referred to the requirements imposed by the various rules; it was more aimed at anydody providing answers so that they specify wherever possible where and when those 'requirements' applied. I don't have access right now to a lot of historical Rulebooks, but one more-or less current example is the General Code of Operating Rules (GCOR); the whole 1991 book is available at the link. Rule 5.12, which is quite lengthy, is all about "Protection of Occupied Outfit Cars". It specifies a sign and a white light at night. I found a complete 1891 rulebook for the NYLE&W (predecessor to the Erie) downloadable on the web (link2). Its a fascinating reference for all kinds of info, but doesn't mention camp cars at all. (Caution if you start downloading it, its 56 MB (!!) covering over 127 pgs.) If you have any railroad museums in your area, they often have rulebooks in their libraries which you can consult on this type of question.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 by RJMc

A. The 2003 NORAC Rulebook, used by Amtrak and various other Northeast railroads, is available at the link. Its Rule 17 covers occupied camp cars, but just says 'An Occupied Camp Car Signal' must be placed"....I couldn't find any further description of what that consisted of, in the reference at the link. Link 1  Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 by RJMc

A. The current Uniform Code of Operating Rules (UCOR) used by Canadian National and allied US subsidiaries is available at the link. Its Special Instruction No. 20 says only "20. Before moving or coupling on to boarding outfit cars, snow plows, flangers, or other units of work equipment, and dead engines, stop must be made and persons in, on or about them must be warned, to avoid injury." I couldn't find any other reference to your question, but like all rule books, there may be one hidden in there..... Link 1  Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 by RJMc

A. It seems that most railroads seem to follow what the New York Central used. Placement of yellow lanterns at the ends of cars for night and green and white flags for daytime. I also read the use of cobalt blus and in very rare cases purple. The purple were not lanterns. Before I have one of my long research questions again , I wish to thank everyone for their time and help. I will have to do more on my own. Thank you Keith Posted Monday, July 7, 2014 by Keith

 Q2779 T.L. Moore Lanterns  I'm researching T.L. Moore who sold RR lanterns in San Antonio, TX. The lanterns are mentioned in a couple of articles on your site (thanks!). I've found out a bit about his story and will be happy to share if anyone interested, but I'd like to know about the connection he may have had with the Star Headlight and lantern Co. I have a lantern marked 'Sold Only By T.L. Moore San Antonio TEX', Pat June 19(?) 1906. Moore is listed in the city directory as a watchmen for the SP RR from 1901 (maybe earlier- still researching), till 1909 when there is no listing of his occupation. (perhaps this is when he was injured). In 1910 he is listed as a 'lantern mfg.'. By 1916 he is in the Business Directory- 'RR lantern mfr., best lanterns for RR men.' Ads for his lantern appear in 'The Journal of the Switchmen's Union of North America'. I'm trying to 'nail down' the story as it appears online: How was he injured? What and how was a relationship with the Star company? And so forth. Anyone with more information or any interest?  Posted Sunday, June 29, 2014 by Tom   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  This information is from "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Railroad Lighting,Volume 1-The Railroad Lantern". The original company name was Diegel-Moore Company, and sometime before 1918 Thomas L. Moore bought out Diegel and changed the name to T.L. Moore Company. The Selected Patent Listing shows only one patent issued on 6/19/1906, number 824053 issued to William A Wright. It is for a complete lantern which has a wick raising device that involves turning the font. I don't think it is relevant to this question but it is interesting so see Link 1. The list shows only one patent issued to T.L. Moore, number 1063055, from 5/27/1913 and that is for his lantern, see Link 2. I could not find any information about Diegel. Link 1  Link 2  Posted Monday, June 30, 2014 by KM

 Q2778 Railroad Bell?  I have an antique railroad bell. I believe it is brass and it has the name Kiowa inscribed. The story from my parents, who are deceased, is that this type of bell was used on trains traveling the northeast corridor during the late 1800s. Any input would be appreciated.  Posted Tuesday, June 24, 2014 by Magnolia   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. There were many types, sizes, and purposes of bells on railroads and in general use. We need more information, such as the size, metal type, how it was mounted, and a photo before we can begin to even speculate about what a bell might have been used for.  Posted Thursday, June 26, 2014 by RJMc

 Q2777 Mystery Switch  My name is Holly and I work at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. We have an item that we are referring to as the 'Mystery Switch.' We don't know what it is, but museum lore says that it turned on the lights at the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. However, during my research I have come across suggestions that it might have controlled heat on a rail car or was perhaps a railway controller or part of the machinery for railway signalling. Sadly, there is little information I can provide on it. I can tell you that one of the rotating cylinders has the following writing on it: No 1 CUT OUT No 2 L No 1 AUX No 2 CUT OUT No 1 L No 2 AUX There is some more writing around the cylinder, but I can't read it as the object is on display and I can't rotate it. For more pictures visit [link below]. I would be grateful for anything that you can tell me. Thanks,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, June 23, 2014 by Holly  Link 1     Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  Holly we are not ignoring this question, just having the same lack of success with any research. Can you tell us who was responsible for the lighting at the Columbian Exposition? I am thinking that if it was a company or individual like Westinghouse or Edison that a patent search might help, bot that will take some effort because of the number of patents that they held. How long has this item been at the Museum? There appears to be a substantial amount of paint on this, I can see it pealing in one photo. Was the lighting system in use for many years after the fair ended which would have required on going maintenance on this device? Also it appears to have some kind of fabric like canvas around the base, is that correct?  Posted Friday, July 4, 2014 by KM

A.  I happened to walk past an antique street light that is on display near Cleveland Public Square that was made by Charles Brush Company. Brush was a pioneer of electric arc streetlighting and his company did have a display at the Worlds Fair Columbian Exposition. The Fair Book has several pages devoted to the Brush display. Could this device be a part of a dynamo? Brush made dynamos in many different sizes. Does it have electro magnetic coils in it? Posted Friday, July 4, 2014 by KM

A. Don't worry about it, it's a hard thing to research. Different companies provided different parts of the lighting and many companies had displays at the fair. I don't think we know how long the object has been at the museum, but if it's from the fair it has likely been here the whole time. I don't think there is any paint, only dust and grime. The lighting would have been dismantled after the fair unless, possibly, it was in use for the building that now houses the Museum of Science and Industry. The fabric around the base is velvet I believe, but I'm not certain. I will look into those specific dynamos, but the ones I have seen before do not appear to match this switch. Thanks so much for your responses! Posted Thursday, July 10, 2014 by Holly

 Q2776 Dressel Mopac Switch Lamp Lens Colors  Hello. Received today my 2nd Dressel 1203 lamp that I will restore. This one is marked MoP and it came with 3 green and one yellow lenses. The lenses on the MoP are of the 5 3/8 in. size while my B&O is 4 1/2 in. size. Are the colors for these lenses on the MoP correct and can anyone tell me how it was used? My guess was in yard service. Also I have noticed that on my B&O lamp the part to lift the top is at the spring latch, two small tabs on either side of the latch, while on the MoP there is a lift tab on the top. Is this because of the different lens sizes? Thanks for the help!  Posted Monday, June 23, 2014 by Robdawg   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I love the fact that you called it the MoP! That's what railroad men actually referred to the Missouri Pacific as. I think "MoPac" is something their Public Relations department came up with to improve their image; ..never heard a railroad man call it that. -- What you have is a Switch Lamp. I saw hundreds of MoP switch lamps in service and they were all Yellow & Green (YGYG around the lamp) so you will need to get another Yellow lens; they show up on eBay frequently. Also: all the MoP lamps I saw had Day Targets, so you are going to want to find 2 Yellow and 2 Green of those too. Those show up on line as well. -- Those tabs on the lid varied through the years. They don't have anything to do with the lens size. Late model Dressels had none at all. ---- .... Red Beard  Posted Tuesday, June 24, 2014 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Thanks for the reply Red Beard. The MoP lamp came with visors on it and all look to be original. I think I will keep it as I got it, but the day targets sure do give them a better look. I just got in today's mail 2 more Dressel 1203 lamps but these are not drilled for any electrical hardware. Marked NYC on both, they are missing lenses. What should I get for these? The plastic ones that reflect or regular glass? What would be the correct colors or should I just go with red/green? Thanks for the help!  Posted Friday, June 27, 2014 by Robdawg

A. Robdawg: PLEASE, send in some photos of that B&O Dressel; I've never seen one of those with 4 1/2 inch lenses. (Only 5 3/8 in.) That would be a rare item I think! ---- .... Red Beard Posted Friday, June 27, 2014 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Robdawg: On the NYC ones; does the lid open? If there's no hole for an electrical cord and the lid doesn't open, they would be made specifically for reflector lenses; either glass or plastic. -- All the NYC lamps I've seen had Yellow & Lunar lenses -- I have never seen a Lunar reflector in either glass or plastic; BUT there are some Corning "Reflex" Clear / White / Colorless glass ones that show up on eBay from time to time, hmmm... -- DJB & RJMc; please chime in on this. -- Would a colorless reflector lens have been the same as a "Lunar" in a kerosene lamp?? -- There are occasionally some Clear / Colorless Stimsonite plastic lenses that show up as well, ??? ---- .... Red Beard Posted Friday, June 27, 2014 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Red Beard, Here are two shots I have of the B&O lamp. I removed the cast base in order for the local machine shop to press out the stem for the switch stand. The lid was off of it when I got it and needed welded up in two places. I did not want to take it all apart, but needed to, to get it all clean. It has the rubber type base for the bulb. The one photo of it in pieces is before I blasted it up. I have no photos of it assembled and lit yet. It is in my model train store and I have not been there in a spell as I am dealing with a kidney stone for the past 3 weeks. I will get a photo or two of it when I get back to the shop. The NYC lamps have a non opening lid and no step up for a lamp socket on the base, just all flat inside with one small hole in the center. Link 1  Link 2  Posted Friday, June 27, 2014 by Robsawg

A. Gentlemen,I really can't give you an opinion on whether a clear reflective lens is the equal of a lunar white lens.My suggestion is to look thru some NYC rulebooks or old special instructions /timetables issued to only the employees.Each RR had their own unique rules.My second observation would be the fact that the day targets used with the lunar lens were pure white and not pale blue/pastel tinted.In the daytime,the lens colors were immaterial.As the rules said,if the daytime indication can be clearly seen,it will govern.That would be the day target colors.You are also correct Red in saying that Corning only produced the glass reflectors in clear,red,green and yellow.That's what my old parts listings say and then only in the 5-3/8 inch size.DJB Posted Saturday, June 28, 2014 by DJB

 Q2775 Lamp Info Needed  I was given this lamp which I believe is a railroad lantern. Please provide me with any info. There were no markings and on the side is a loop so you could hang on your belt.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, June 23, 2014 by judee   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2774 Securing a Lamp  Folks, The Pegram (TN) Community Club owns a 1910 NC&StL train station and has been offered a donation of Tn Central switch lamp provided we secure it against theft. The station is a rental venue & is engaged almost weekly so the public has unsupervised access when rented. We would like to have a lockable wall mount for displaying the switch lamp inside the depot. Are you aware of such a mount or do you have an idea of how to fabricate a lockable wall mount? This might be an item RR museums would find handy since most switch lamps are displayed behind glass cabinets that take up a lot of space.  Posted Monday, June 23, 2014 by CN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Based on the situation you describe, there is just no way to secure an item like a Switch Lamp in a public venue. I hate to tell you this but if somebody wants it, they'll find a way to remove it; or at least parts of it will start to disappear, bit by bit. I wouldn't even have heavily secured glass cases in an environment like that; someone will get into those too!! -- This is based on years and years of experience. ---- .... Red Beard Posted Tuesday, June 24, 2014 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

 Q2773 Denver and Great Western?  Was there ever a railroad named Denver and Great Western? I am familiar with The Great Western and wondered if they are the same. I saw a lantern recently with this name attached to it and wondered about this.  Posted Sunday, June 22, 2014 by JPH   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Although Bill Edson's comprehensive all-time listing of US RR's shows no Denver & Great Western, the link is to steam locomotive builder info that uses that name, for locomotives that were used in the early 1900's on the Great Western sugar beet railroad. One possibility is that the railroad was not a common carrier when it operated under the name D&GW; in that status it would not be listed in the ICC records used to create Bill Edson's database.  Link 1  Posted Monday, June 23, 2014 by RJMc

A. Is it accurate to say that it appears the brass lantern currently for sale on our favorite electronic sales tool is a counterfeit? Posted Monday, June 23, 2014 by JPH

A. To me it looks new. Even the seller says he doesn't think it is an antique. Personally I think it is a fantasy piece. Posted Monday, June 23, 2014 by JN

A.  If the wick knobs or burners say "Duplex Made in England" then it may have been made by John Scott Lamp Co from around 1950 to 1980. They made fantasy oil lamps and lanterns and used made up railroad names on some of them. There is a question posted at The Lampguild Q&A about an oil fired chandelier which is probably another John Scott item and it has the Duplex Made In England burners in it. The responder at the Lampguild says that is a red flag for him. That red tag on the eBay lantern has similat leetering and looks a lot like the John Scott Co. tags that they used on other items. Cox, the railroad stock site does not show any Denver Great Western Railroad either, and his information is pretty complete and lists some fairly small short lived companies. Posted Monday, June 23, 2014 by KM

A. The lamp in question sold for under $50. To me that signals that no one out there thought it was a legitimate railroad item. It would make a nice decoration in someone's train room. Posted Tuesday, June 24, 2014 by JN

 Q2772 Armspear Lamp Type?  Hi, If you know, could you tell me what type lamp/lantern I have and how old it might be? It's labeled as Armspear Mfg. Co. All four lenses are orange. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, June 19, 2014 by DC   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. DC, Your lantern is a marker lamp. I cannot tell from the photo if it still has the hanging bracket arm that would allow it to be placed in a bracket and rotated to show different sinal aspects. The N&W and ACL among others used this lamp. I have seen N&W photos as far back as the 1920's showing this style lamp. The N&W used 3 amber lenses and one red lense. This lamp shows up in this site's library in the 1933 catalog. Switch lamps were similar except no bell bottom and had a fork base for the switch stand. I do not know when this style lamp first appeared. Hope this helps. GaryP Posted Sunday, June 22, 2014 by GaryP

A. DC, sorry for the typo....."sinal" should be signal. GaryP Posted Sunday, June 22, 2014 by GaryP

 Q2771 Help with Button  I was wondering if you have ever seen this button and perhaps know what brand it might signify or if it belongs to a certain railroad? The train itself has a very deco look. This set of buttons is on an old 30s or 40s blanket lined chore coat that has lost it label. Would love any info you might be able to provide. Thank you so much for any help. Regards,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, June 15, 2014 by Maureen   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I'm pretty sure that is a strap button from Headlight brand overalls.Many different brands had RR related buttons. Posted Sunday, June 15, 2014 by BK

A.  The image on the overall button is based on the streamlined diesel powered train sets that were made by the Budd Company in the mid 1930's. They were sold to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy and named the Zephyr, and also the Boston and Maine/Maine Central and named the Flying Yankee. So your button is likely from sometime after 1935. See the links for the Wikipedia article on the Zephyr and the Flying Yankee Restoration Group.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Sunday, June 15, 2014 by KM

A. Thank you both so much! I can't find an association with "Head Light" brand but the image certainly does look like the Zephyr or the Flying Yankee - fantastic. I greatly appreciate the input!  Posted Monday, June 16, 2014 by jauntyrooster

A. I was actually able to find what I think might be the inspiration for my button...THANK YOU! Link 1  Posted Monday, June 16, 2014 by jauntyrooster

A.  Can you check the back of the button and see if there is a manufacturer's name on it? The clothing manufacturer probably bought those buttons from a button manufacturer and sometimes the manufacturer's mark can help date the button. I also can't find any reference to Head Light coveralls having buttons like these. I sent a question to the Flying Yankee Restoration Group about it.  Posted Monday, June 16, 2014 by KM

A. Nothing at all on the back. No help there. I can only find vintage Head Light garments with buttons that say "Head Light." If you find out more, I would be thrilled. Again - cannot say thank you enough. I truly appreciate.  Posted Wednesday, June 18, 2014 by jauntyrooster

 Q2770 Adlake Short Globes  Would it be permissible to use a Adlake marked globe on the Armspear short globe lanterns made by Adlake? These lanterns looked like an Adlake, round wire supports etc. but were marked Armspear 1925. I am sure the railroads did this but.......... Thank you,  Posted Monday, June 9, 2014 by Keith   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hi Keith. I'm not sure what you mean when you ask if it would be "Permissible". -- Many collectors like to use their lanterns and lamps, lighting them frequently, and cobble together replacements for missing, broken or defective parts to get them into operating condition; much like the railroads did. Other collectors are very meticulous about finding exactly the right replacement part from the very same manufacturer so as to make the piece as close to original as possible. There are many facets, tastes and fads in this hobby. -- I've been collecting lamps and lanterns for a number of decades and got to see many while they were still in railroad service, where they were patched together from any part that would fit. The American Railroad Association (ARA) and later the Association of American Railroads (AAR) in fact mandated that lamps and lanterns be made to roughly standardized designs just so that parts from all manufacturers could be interchanged for easier repair and replacement. ...if it fit, they used it! -- When you see lamps and lanterns for sale on eBay where the body, the oil pot and the burner are all from different manufacturers, there's a good chance that the piece may be in the exact condition it was in when last used by the railroad. Railroads mixed parts from various manufacturers all the time when making repairs. In yards where switch lamps were closely spaced, it would be common to take all the pots out at the same time, fill them all, and put them back in lamps in no particular order. So if there were lamps from different manufacturers grouped together in a yard, chances were good that the oil pots got mixed up all the time. -- The same was true for lanterns. Kerosene was smelly and dirty. Depending on local custom, when a switching crew or a road crew started their shift, the lowest seniority switchman or brakeman often got the duty of filling everyone's hand lantern with fresh kerosene. In that process, pots and globes got mixed all the time; and yes, some men never let their personal lantern out of their sight. --- Where am I going with this? ..chances are that many, if not most, Armspear lanterns got marked "Adlake" Corning, plain Corning or KOPP replacement globes when the original "1925" globe broke (and many of them did). -- I'm more or less of an expert in lamp and lantern collecting and you have my complete permission to put any globe that fits in that 1925 lantern. So, consider it "permissible". *wink* Use what you have available and continue to search on line for an original "1925" globe if you want, ..or don't worry about it. Either is fine; ..up to you! ---- ....Red Beard Posted Monday, June 9, 2014 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Red Beard, I am sure things were all over the place at times. Since this lantern was made after the Adlake takeover with the aforementioned changes if........ and to be historically accurate, would Adlake have used globes marked Adlake Kero on there new production Armsphere lanterns at that time. I am sure they did not use 1925 marked globes but maybe I am wrong on what contracts called for. I want to try to be as accurate as possible. Keith Posted Tuesday, June 10, 2014 by Keith

A. Keith, hanks for the clarification. That's an area where I'm 'less of an expert'. Hopefully another contributor will chime in on this. ---- ....Red Beard  Posted Tuesday, June 10, 2014 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Just a couple thoughts here rather than hard info. I'm guessing from the catalog material and lanterns I've seen, Adlake began supplying frames to be assembled with Armspear tops and then eventually made the entire lantern. Sales and purchasing relationships can be based on many factors, but the bottom line was that there were reasons for maintaining the Armspear presence in the marketplace. Perhaps part of that marketing was to minimize the Adlake connection and the later "Armspear" lantern might not have been supplied with Adlake Kero globes from the factory. We'll speculate on the Adlake founts and burners another time, but the Adlake name is much less obvious there. Anyway, most, if not all, of the original "1925" cast globes I've seen were made by Kopp, perhaps making their globes the OEM, (original equipment manufacturer) for later Adlake style Armspear lanterns as well. Your guess is as good as mine. Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2014 by JFR

A. JFR, I think you are correct in the shipment of new lanterns in keeping with the Armspear name. Adlake has/had such a vast amount of equipment to manufacture short globe lanterns even after their retooling. From talking to the Adlake company today, they can still make anything with the most modern technology. I know things were changed in the field on what was available and Adlake was probably the most available as they seemed to monopolize the market. Studying this in a business sense can get very complicated and detailed an like you said ,"one can only guess". I at least wanted to try and even with field changes be historically correct in the reassembly of a lantern or any other antique. I like to do museum quality work when dealing with items of American Heritage. I want to thank everyone for all the help and information. Keith Posted Wednesday, June 11, 2014 by Keith

A. Regarding the globes supplied with Adlake and Armspear lamps,I agree fully with Red Beard.They most likely were supplied with Adlake Kero and 1925 globes when new but in practice,the railroad's used anything that would fit,was the correct color and kept the wind out.If you also look at the variations in the short globes themselves,you will find Corning with Adlake Kero molded in, and, just the Corning logo itself with nothing else molded in.The Armspear original globes would have the 1925 molded in and like we were told by other collector's,made only by Kopp to my knowledge.Lastly,Adlake and Armspear may have been supplied in their later years with only globes marked with the Kopp or Corning logos,and nothing else molded in,which would have been acceptable and not discriminating against either trademark.Other variations in short globes were Corning Macbeth,Corning Libby,and MEGCO,that I have seen.Corning also made globes for Dietz marked Corning and Dietz 999.Purists want an exact match and the railroads settled for whatever fit.What was supplied by the factories when new is lost in history.These observations are from my years working for a major railroad when they still used kero lanterns.DJB Posted Thursday, June 12, 2014 by DJB

A. One more globe to add to the mix is GLASBAKE. They were made by McKee Glass and are usually seen with a cast PRR logo and the GLASBAKE logo on the opposite side. I've only seen one GLASBAKE without the PRR logo. I've also observed short globes with no markings at all in some Piper and E.T. Wright shorties. Posted Thursday, June 12, 2014 by JFR

 Q2769 Authentic Lantern?  In the mid 1960's my Father (who worked nearly 50 years for the Chicago Northwestern Railroad) gave me a railroad lantern. The lantern is a Adams and Westlake with a UP stamp on the dome. It has a red glass shade and etched in the glass are the initials UPRR. The base of the lantern is stamped 1-42 which I believe means the first quarter in 1942. It also includes a USA and Canada stamp followed by numerous numbers. Perhaps these are patent numbers. Do you know if this would be an authentic railroad lantern? My reason for questioning it is that I've not read anything about etched glasses. Thank you,  Posted Sunday, June 8, 2014 by DCK   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Sounds like the real deal. Most UP globes were "etched" like that; ..actually the initials were finely sandblasted through a stencil. "UPRR" would indicate an older globe as many later ones had just "UP"; though I can't tell you how old or dates for either version. -- What did your father do for the Northwestern and what town did he work in? I was a clerk on the UP in Council Bluffs in the 1970s. ---- ....Red Beard Posted Sunday, June 8, 2014 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

 Q2768 MKT Match Safe  Hi, can you tell me if a cast iron match safe marked M K and T has been reported as fake? I bought one at a flea market and see there are two others on eBay right now. Both listings say they are genuine and all appear to be, including mine. I have not been able to find any reference to them or to the individuals whose names are cast into the bottom. Thank you for any information or leads!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, June 6, 2014 by CK   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This piece is illustrated in Sue Knous' "Railroadiana The Official Price Guide for 2011 and Beyond" (page 32). She warns of reproductions saying "watch for fakes with sharp edges and in exceptionally clean condition." She also confirms they were made in brass, as well. From what I can tell yours looks pretty good but what name(s) are cast into the bottom ? "Railroadiana" makes no mention of any maker or cast names, so I would be somewhat concerned.  Posted Friday, June 20, 2014 by JS

 Q2767 Train Order Lamp?  Have you seen this lamp before? It has two lenses, the clear lens is 51/4 in. and the red is 5 in. It would have a round oil font with a 3 5/8 in. diameter. It has a hand bail and a round flat base. Brass wick raiser and a clear sight glass on the side. On the hood is a brass plaque with: The Adams & Westlake Company Pat June 8&29,1886 Oct.30, 1883 Oct.1.1895 --- Nov.5.1895 Chicago. Ill. Other patents Pending'. Im leaning to a Rail Order Lamp or perhaps a Semaphore light, circa 1895-1900.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, June 6, 2014 by DS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This lamp is a No. 43 marker lamp, depicted in the 1901 Adams & Westlake catalog on page 625. The lamp in question is missing its adjustable, hinged, malleable-iron bracket arm. On this page are two other marker lamps, the No. 44 with three and the No. 45 with four lenses. All three lamps were called "'Bessemer' Sheet Steel Coach and Caboose 'Tornado' Tail Lamps." All three lamps used 5 3/8" diameter lenses. "The ruby lens on these lamps is mounted in a hinged frame and the lamp is lighted or oil pot removed through the opening provided when the lens is thrown back. An outside wick raiser and peep hole is provided for adjusting the flame. The adjustable bracket permits of changing the position of the lenses as desired. . . ." This is a rare lamp that did not survive to be included in the 1907 Adams & Westlake catlog No. 120. Posted Thursday, June 12, 2014 by S. H.

A. Is there any chance the responder could post or email me a copy of the specific page noted (pdf or jpeg). I am unable to find a copy of the 1901 catalogue on line. I am interested in the missing bracket arm. Posted Sunday, June 15, 2014 by Dave

 Q2766 What is it?  I found this tool at a flea market several years ago. Does anyone know what it is? It is 39 in. long. The blade is marked 'True Temper Kelly Works B&O RR'. It looks like a commercially made blade that the B&O modified to put on an axe handle. What is 'Kelly Works'? Someone said it might be a tie splitter and it could be a one of type of tool. Does anyone have a clue? Thanks for any help you can give me.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, June 4, 2014 by JN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. We always referred to these as a brush ax. Posted Wednesday, June 4, 2014 by DA

A.  I would also call this a brush ax. A similar tool is still available from Railroad Tools and Solutions and they call it a Ditch Bank Blade. They note that it is used for cutting brush, see Link 1. Link 1  Posted Thursday, June 5, 2014 by KM

A.  The Norfolk Southern built a modern version of a brush cutter in their own Charlotte,NC shops. See Link 1 for a YouTube video of it in action.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, June 5, 2014 by KM

A.  This link is from Yesteryears Tools website and it has the history of Kelley Ax Company. Kelley was bought by American Hoe and then the company name became True Temper. True Temper sold the Kelley Division in 1987. Link 1  Posted Thursday, June 5, 2014 by KM

A. Looks like a Swing Blade, some folks call it a Kaiser Blade, but I call it a Swing Blade, Emmm Hmmmm. Posted Saturday, June 7, 2014 by Karl

 Q2765 Steam loco headlight ID/background?  We have a Pyle National Locomotive headlight, found in Orange County (lower Catskill region) of New York. There is a metal maker tag on the top. The serial # is 20 F 125 DLWA (it may be an E rather than an F, it's bumped). The numbers are larger than the letters, and it looks like the numbers were machine made with room allowed to hand stamp in the letters per individual order. There is an engine number 3244 placard built on each side. Can anyone help with more information about this light? We are especially hoping to ID the locomotive and are wondering if DLW refers to the Delaware Lackawanna & Western which is in the region. Thanks in advance!  Posted Monday, June 2, 2014 by J&H   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Well, a quick check turned up the link, which is to a website with a good photo (scroll down on the site) of New Haven locomotive 3244. This is a possibility, if the numberboards on your headlight are parallel to the sides, and not angled out as on some headlights. A photo would help a lot to eliminate possibilities, since many RR's may have had a number 3244 (Canadian National also did, for example.) Link 1  Posted Monday, June 2, 2014 by RJMc

A. Thank you for the reply. We found the NH photo already and think we already ruled out this one; however, I can't find any better photo(s). This one is just not clear enough to really tell much. The locale is very close so that may be it, but really need a better picture. There seems to be a number going across directly below the lens - if this is on the engine. The number boards on the headlight are on each side, parallel to the sides. Just looking by number is likely impossible - engines were numbered, renumbered, sold and renumbered, etc. etc. I was hoping maybe someone would know about the serial number. It definitely is not CN3244. We found SP3244 in just the most terrific Buster Keaton film "The Goat" ( see link). It blew by so fast we tried to stop it but too blurry..... likely not SP anyway, we're in New York. Check out these old movies the SP provided locomotives and trains for - they are fantastic.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, June 4, 2014 by JS

A. Have you also ruled out EL electric MU (former DL&W) 3244? These also had steam engine-style highmounted headlights. The link shows the disposition of E-L 3244 as unknown; and it was E-L 3244 much more recently than the 1923 of the New Haven photo. Again, a photo of the headlight here would help a lot.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, June 5, 2014 by RJMc

A. Hi-Just because SP is on the other side of the country doesn't mean it can't be from them. Railroad items can float around all over the country, especially if they have been in circulation for a while. I got a NJ train station sign in PA. I have a friend who collects PRR items. He lives in Australia. You can't take too much for granted these days, especially since the internet connects the world together. Posted Thursday, June 5, 2014 by JN

A. I was able finally to get photos. I hope this will help - ?  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Friday, June 20, 2014 by JS

A. The Link is to an excellent photo of EL MU car 3244 which shows the headlight very clearly, and it certainly looks like a match (based on the general configuration and the numbering style in the numberboard.) The angle-iron brackets shown in your pic look like they were probably added later by somebody to be able to display the light; they do not look to me to be typical of any steam loco mounts which generally had full, very solid shelves to withstand all the shock and vibration of steam loco service.  Link 1  Posted Sunday, June 22, 2014 by RJMc