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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:

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Latest 50 Questions:

 Q3665 RR Marker/Signal?  Would you please tell me what kind of a railroad marker/signal this is and perhaps how it was used? Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, August 21, 2019 by Shanna   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3664 OPCo Syracuse Ardsley pattern  Was OPCo Syracuse Ardsley pattern a Hudson RR exclusive pattern???   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, August 17, 2019 by Marc   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I am sorry but Ardsley was not used as a railroad pattern. You are thinking of "Violet Border" which includes some similar flowers. Violet Border was a stock pattern (sold to all comers) and was not an exclusive pattern. The design was used by the New York Central & Hudson River RR as the basis for their "Poughkeepsie" pattern, and also in the "Ravinia Park" pattern. Both of these were customized by adding a name/logo to the stock floral decoration. "Violet Border" cannot be railroad without a railroad marking on it.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, August 20, 2019 by JMS

A. I meant to note that Link 1 is to a website that shows a Violet Border platter. Scroll down when the page opens. Link 1  Posted Tuesday, August 20, 2019 by jms

 Q3663 Willamette Shay-types?  From a small cache w/two background colors, the best sample based on richness of blue and lack of stains. They did built war-export locos later, but does his look like strictly 1922-29?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, August 12, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3662 Shovels : Western Pacific RailRoad  Small capitol 'A' proceeds the '2'. Does this point to Ames or other? A light water-only wipedown of the pan brought off the fine top rust layer first, then again the pure fine black below with no soil or cement colors. Could it be an indication of coal usage in the Eastern District or is the shovel too late for this? Found in lower Willamette Valley far from WP lines.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, August 12, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. What terrific condition! Today, the find location seems to have far less importance then in the past. I am not a hardware expert, but I would guess A2 may relate to the type or size or shape of the shovel (?). Ames is so important it should have a name or logo, at least I would think. Another possibility is a company other than Western Pacific that also had WP initials... but regardless, what a great find !  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, August 20, 2019 by JMS

A. Just to cover a few "letters concerns"..the original Western Pacific Railroad (1865-) was absorbed into Central Pacific (later S.P. Co.), but perhaps retained legal rights to "W.P.R.R." forcing Western Pacific Railway (later Railroad) to keep the "WP" spaced away. Western Pennsylvania Railroad Company was absorbed into Pennsy in 1903, the same year Western Pacific Railway was born. Either way, the shovel is probably too young for these earlier roads. 1911 brings about the Willamette Pacific Railroad Company (coincidentally extending from here to the coast) which becomes an Espee branch before it gets kicked out of the house to join the new shortlines. I have no examples of markings used by this road. 1916 sees WP Ry. reorganized into WP RR Co. (there are both Corporation and Company, and Company sometimes includes a following state name like California). "Railroad Company" may be subordinated to the Western Pacific identity...a pass sample shows the words placed below and smaller than the name. The stampings are clean so we should be able to rule out faulty marks for things like A&WP or WP&Y. While non-rail ventures are always possible, "RR" with no ampersand tends to cut down the possibles. For search reasons, I'll call this a suspected track shovel having pan dimensions of 11 1/2"(L) x 9 3/4"(W). Posted Wednesday, August 21, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3661 Handlan Light  I recently attended an auction which included both railroad & nautical items from the same estate. One of the items was this unused Handlan cast aluminum light that was factory set up with a flashing mode red bulb. Has anyone ever seen a similar light? or have any information on this item? Thank You!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, August 7, 2019 by Dave F.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Some kind of size reference would help in identifying the intended uses of this - this kind of thing came in a very wide variety of sizes. Also, what working voltage is the bulb set up for? Was there a plug or connector on the cord, or just a 'pigtail' end? Posted Thursday, August 8, 2019 by RJMc

A. The overall diameter is 12", The voltage is 110 & it has a connection for 3/4" electrical conduit. Someone installed a short cord but this is not original to this light Posted Thursday, August 8, 2019 by Dave F.

A. This kind of fixture was often used as the backup light on the rear of steam locomotive tenders as well as early diesel units. See prior Q 3395 (also see Link), including a light that seems to have the same kind of open back as yours, but on a clear white light. The flashing red bulb implies use as a marker, but the 110 V bulb makes me think somebody wanted this for a ground-based application since most steam locos were 32 VDC and most diesels were in the range of 64 to 72 VDC.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, August 8, 2019 by RJMc

A. The Link is to a similar light (but clear, not red, for lighting backup moves) on the rear of a newly-delivered B unit diesel in 1954. Note the conduit connection.  Link 1  Posted Friday, August 9, 2019 by RJMc

A. Could they be used on the back of a passenger car where those scissor type gates closed off the open vestibule? Hung on the gate, the clear lens outward for tail marker, with the red spot forward for crew to monitor operation without casting excess light into the car. Maybe a photo can be found? Seem to recall last run of a city train (Los Angeles?) with a simple marker hung out? (Not by any of my resources right now.) Posted Saturday, August 10, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. I am still puzzled by the 'red spot' as to whether it is a lens allowing light out the backside, or an image of the red bulb in a mirror-type reflector. While the light could be hung on a gate, I don't see any signs of hooks or clamps needed to use it that way -- just the usual cast feet which would be used to bolt it to a flat surface. Also its my impression that flashing type markers came into fashion much later than when this type of fixture was popular. (Not to be confused with oscillating tail end lights such as Mars and Gyralight, which were popular much earlier and usually used with constantly-lit marker lamps.) That said, it would make sense for this light to be used on the front of a locomotive to indicate when the train was in emergency, the way current Amtrak units have red flashing strobes to indicate emergency. That would have been something that SP might have done.  Posted Monday, August 12, 2019 by RJMc

A. The Link shows a DL&W electric MU car with a single red marker lamp mounted under the regular headlight. The red light on the MU car is similar in style but not identical to yours, snd apparently was constantly lit when in use and not flashing. Some of the steam locomotives from that same area abd era also had a single red light on the front, but I haven't been able to come up with a good enough pic to see what kind of lamp was used.  Link 1  Posted Monday, August 12, 2019 by RJMc

A. The Link below shows a Lackawanna steam locomotive with the single red marker light beneath the regular headlight. Although the lamp fixture is somewhat different, the size is very similar to yours when compared with the approx. 14" headlight diameter.  Link 1  Posted Monday, August 12, 2019 by RJMc

A. I'd be inclined to 5"-6" red lens, possible rings seen upper right, sun passing through bulb on right and drowned out on the thick glass to left. If it was a mounted reflector, would you really need an adjustable lens ring? Also, the depth looks somewhat flat rather than a "deep can" for a permanent fixture out front. Reminds me of the Highway Patrol problem of red light in back window that drunks would drive straight into. A red flash out back would separate the source from all those other solid reds encroaching around rail lines. Posted Tuesday, August 13, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3660 Switch Key  Does anyone have a similar key with these markings?? It appears to be original. FT WAYNE,JACKSON & SAGINAW. Made by DETROIT BRASS WORKS. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, August 7, 2019 by DS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Nice pocket wear  Posted Wednesday, August 7, 2019 by Ex Sou Ry

A. What a terrific key - congratulations! I haven't run across one, but Link 1 is a fabulous old tapered barrel key made by Ritchie & Boyden, that was sold in 2008 - long enough ago that the prices realized list isn't published on the website.  Link 1  Posted Friday, August 9, 2019 by JMS

 Q3659 BN Lock  I recently acquired this lock and key set and Iíam wondering if you could tell me more about it like how old it is and what it would have been used for. Thanks,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, August 1, 2019 by JH   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is from the Burlington Northern (See Link 1). I believe it is a Telephone Box lock - I'm not well versed in those but have had several of the keys (other railroads, not BN). The conversation forum in Link 2 discusses telephone boxes - check out the links "Mudchicken" provided.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Thursday, August 1, 2019 by JMS

A. Burlington Northern was created in 1970. The oldest your lock can be is 49 years old. Posted Friday, August 2, 2019 by JN

A. Thank you JN. I dont know much about the BN. I have had numerous of these keys, but they are not of much interest to collectors without the locks! JH - WHAT A NICE SET!!  Posted Friday, August 2, 2019 by JMS

 Q3658 Adlake Font Lens Holder  Has anyone ever seen one of these before? This lens holder (?) soldered to the top of an Adlake font is a first for me. This came out of a recently purchased Adlake square top semaphore lamp with one clear lens. When the font is correctly installed the lens holder sits directly between the flame and the semaphore 5-3/8 inch lens. I assume that the semaphore color can be quickly changed by installing a colored lens in this holder, rather than changing out the semaphore lens itself, a slower process. A 3 to 3-1/2 inch lens will fit this holder. Any information greatly appreciated. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2019 by JEM   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hello JEM, This holder that is soldered to your oil fount out of your semaphore lamp is actually there to hold a polished glass reflector.This was an option and did help to intensify/concentrate the light from the flame.There are illustrations of this piece in the various railroad lamp books so you will soon see how this piece worked.I don't have this info to share at this time. DJB Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2019 by DJB

A. DJB- thanks for the info. In the one lens semaphore lamp this apparatus came in, a reflector (mirror) would block the light from the flame to the lens. Given how stuff like fonts and burners moved around, this is probably not original to the semaphore. In my quick look through the "Encyclopedia of RR Lighting" and Hobson's "Lanterns That Lit Our World", I did not see anything like this lens / mirror holder.  Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2019 by JEM

A. Hello again,These oil founts had the slip collar arrangement so the burner could be rotated as needed to get the reflector behind the flame yet in line with the lense.The long burner shaft had to be rotated so as to pass out the slot near the inspection door as well.Many of Adlake's signal lamps took the large rectangular 31 ounce fount like yours and those founts could be rotated 180 or 90 degrees as needed and once in placwe,the slip collar on the burner bottom could be rotated so the shaft lined up with the slot in the body.The other possibility is that your lamp originally came with what was referred to as a "tall" semaphore oil fount,which was like a marker lamp fount only twice as high and held about 22 ounces of oil and these had a cage/holder so they could only slide in one way.Railroads were great for modifying lamps/parts to increase oil capacity and reduce trips by the signal maintainer having to fill the founts.I have 2 or 3 signal lamps that have been modified over their life and I was in fact a 40 year signal employee and saw much of this signal equipment modified as well to electric or put on a shelf only to be saved later or scrapped.When the old oil lamps were converted to electric,parts such as the oil fount,burners,reflectors,vents and baffles were discarded.DJB  Posted Wednesday, July 31, 2019 by DJB

A. Hi again- DJB. You are correct - I had the tank installed backwards; what was I thinking! But it was that way when I got it - a feeble excuse. But without a reflector either way works and when "backwards" the fill cap access is right there when the access panel is up. The burner / tank has the slip collar arrangement and the burner shaft lines up with the body slot when the reflector holder is towards the lift access panel. The only issue I see with this arrangement is the tank has to be pulled completely out in order to get to the tank fill cap, so there is a little extra maintenance time needed there. Thanks so much for your insight, DJB.  Posted Wednesday, July 31, 2019 by JEM

A. Hello DJB! Your answer above is perfect timing to raise a lamp-related question which came up while looking for the answer to #3663. You mention 'larger founts' and the catalogs show some signal and grade crossing lamps with huge 1-gallon (!!) or 31-day (!!)founts. My question: I understand not needing to refill the tank for 30 days, but how did the WICKS run lit for a whole month with no attention?? (Maybe they were asbestos rope?) Regards, RJMc Posted Wednesday, July 31, 2019 by RJMc

A. Hi RJMc. I have a Northern Pacific large tank semaphore lamp made for hard to access places, that supposedly will burn for 28 days on a tank full of kerosene. My understanding is that the wick's function is to wick up (pun intended) or transport fuel to the flame and if properly set up, will itself burn very little, and last at least 28 days. But they do slowly burn, so need adjustment and trimming periodically. A web site selling wicks says that an eight inch wick will last through 15 gallons of oil. JEM  Posted Thursday, August 1, 2019 by JEM

A. Hi RJMc and JEM,Re those distant signal lamps with the large 28-30 day oil founts and the wick maintenance needed,I had occasion to talk to one of our oldest retired signal maintainers and also an older retired section foreman about the subject of maintenance needed to the lamp wicks,burners and oil supply for these distant lamps as well as the switchlamps that were still in use when I started in the signal dept in 1971.They both said that the purity and standards for the oil used in these lamps was very high and the biggest warning re the wick maintenance was never to let the lamp flame run out of oil which caused it to burn and build up charred material on its end and in the burner/wick guide.If this was not allowed to happen,only minimal wick trimming was required during a year's time.When I speak of a distant signal lamp,that was signal speak for an approach signal to an interlocking,that was located about 1-2 miles out from the actual interlocking and since electricity wasn't available until later times,these lamps burned oil,had high capacity founts and later were converted to low voltage electric lamp lighting when electricity became available. DJB Posted Sunday, August 4, 2019 by DJB

 Q3657 What andWhere was This?  I picked up a lantern/headlamp on my travels and I was wondering if you knew anything about it. I can't find anything similar in my online searches and was curious what type of engine this was on and what years? It's a heavy lantern at 20lbs, and I was told it was once kerosene. The front glass measures 9 in. My goal is to try and find any missing parts or recreate them. Any help would be appreciated!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2019 by Eric   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Two immediate thoughts: (1) this is probably not of North American origin. The ID tag should provide some clues on that. (2) There doesn't seem to be any provision for the ventilation needed to burn kerosene -- either for inlet air or outlet exhaust air. Other possibilities: incandescent lamp -- no ventilation needed. Or electric arc? or acetylene gas? But both of those require SOME ventilation. The pix don't seem to show any carbon residue from any of the combustion processes.  Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2019 by RJMc

A. Also the very top comes off exposing a vent type system again it was mentioned it was from France. Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2019 by Eric

A. Here is a pic of the top vent. Link 1  Posted Wednesday, July 31, 2019 by Eric

A. This lamp reminds me of an auction I attended years ago. The auctioneer had called me to tell me of a lamp like he had never seen before. He was correct. On arrival, the lamp turned out to be a put together from four different makers. While your main body is original, I believe the top is from something else. I think I see a space for a font and a chimney, but without any exhaust draft. You need to start looking at photos of European locos , if you want to restore it.  Posted Saturday, August 3, 2019 by HVColl

A. Thank you Hvcoll. Can you help me understand exhaust draft? To me looking at the top it is a double walled ventilation it has a heat break or wind plate at bottom of copper stack then at the top bulbous part inner holes at the top that appear to vent out bottom edge.aka the bulb on top. I will move to looking at locoís In Europe I did find that the BRC could Stand for Boas, Rodrigues& co. A lamp maker out of Europe. Thanks again. Posted Monday, August 5, 2019 by HVcoll

A. It's a French locomotive headlamp from the Chemin de Fer de l'Est (Eastern Railway) which ran between Paris and the German border until the company was nationalised in 1938. Posted Wednesday, August 7, 2019 by JAJ

A. Thank you JAJ for the info! Itís great to finally have a locomotive and a time in history to help appreciate this lamp even more! Thanks to all that helped in search! Posted Saturday, August 10, 2019 by JAJ

 Q3656  SP CO with 'EH'  A handle-marked Southern Pacific Walworth 'Genuine Stillson' 18-inch pipe wrench. Marked on head back 'EH'. Would this certify this tool was assigned to the Engine House? (Surfaced in Eugene Oregon where all 'E's present a natural problem.)   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Wanted to note...Western Pacific Headlight Issue 23 Spring 2004 had an article on Diesel Servicing reprinting BLW Magazine v.4 n.3 1948 with a photo on page 16 of a mechanic wielding a similar wrench. Obviously they remained in use beyond steam and Walworth continued to be listed as a military supplier into WWII era. Apparently they exist in the valve business. Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3655 CNJ Plaque  Can anyone identify this CNJ plaque? The small plate below it says 6 - 24 - 13. Someone suggested it may be from a passenger car water cooler. Any information. Would be helpful. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, July 27, 2019 by JN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Almost seems like an early version of a retirement plaque. All I could find of any significance in 1913 was a claim that their initial steel coach came that year. But other reports indicate a first major order of steel cars occurred only in 1914. No other reported events would seem to call for a special commemoration of a specific day. Posted Monday, July 29, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Looks like the brass plate from an old water cooler similar to what I have. The NJC logo is exactly the same. The car cleaners polished the heck out of it so that the writing at the top has disappeared. Other than the logo I can hardly make out the writing on mine. They have trimmed it at the sides and under the logo (mine is 5 x 6 square). My guess would be a shop made retirement gift showing the date that the person started work. Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2019 by DA

 Q3654 Button ID Needed  I found this button in Richmond, Virginia and was hoping someone could help me date it. A magnet picks it up if that helps and it is approximately 3/4 in. diameter. The front reads TEN WHEELER and has the image of the train   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, July 27, 2019 by LYS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. It is a work clothes button, not of a uniform. Posted Sunday, July 28, 2019 by DC

A. Appreciate knowing the button came from work clothes but I'm trying to determine an approximate age. Posted Monday, July 29, 2019 by SL

A. The 4-6-0, or "Ten Wheeler", locomotive came about well before 1900 and would have held serious significance from c.1890-1910. The depiction is often known as an "old timer" earlier version of engines before they were modernized. We wouldn't expect that design to last, but cutesy stuff is pretty hard to kill. So 1885-1915 would be a conservative range, but it can't pre-date the development of this wheel arrangement and that is something that can be looked up. Posted Monday, July 29, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. BTW...just type button in the search box for words and you'll find numerous versions of these buttons have been discussed. Posted Monday, July 29, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Thank you all very much... I wish the back of the button wasnít in such horrible condition 😔 Posted Wednesday, July 31, 2019 by SL

 Q3653 Lamp ID Needed  I recently acquired this Adlake Caboose lamp from eBay. I've been trying to figure out what model this lamp is with a hinged door to access the fount.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, July 27, 2019 by JL   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Barrett and Gross's Illustrated Encyc. of RR Lighting, Vol. II, on RR Signal Lamps, has nothing under Adlake like yours. But it shows two essentially identical lamps by Dressel, with hinged doors but no model numbers. Both were markers for the PRR, one painted black and one yellow (which was a sometime PRR practice) and they note in the text that New Haven also used them. By coincidence, our favorite (??) online auction site just this morning lists one by Handlan, from the New Haven, also with the hinged door and no model number. As with many other things, the PRR considered themselves (modestly) 'The Standard RR of the World' and went their own way on almost everything. So this design of lamp was probably a PRR standard and ordered in sufficient quantities that all the mfgrs. ended up getting to make some of them. And they didn't NEED to assign their own model numbers, other than the specs tha PRR used to order them. And the mfgrs. were happy to supply the lamps to that design, to anybody else who wanted to order them, such as NH. [In retrospect, I am kind of surprised that the PRR used the same track gauge as everyone else, but then again, there were very compelling reasons that they couldn't go their own way on that!!]  Posted Tuesday, July 30, 2019 by RJMc

A. Another reason that the New Haven might have shared a PRR design: Since 1917 the New Haven operated many passenger trains over the Hell Gate Bridge line (see Link) into PRR's New York Penn Station and freights as well. So NH would have needed to follow PRR (or jointly agreed) practices to do that. That operating arrangement lasted until both NH and PRR were absorbed into Penn Central and survives today under Amtrak and Metro North and the freight RR's serving NY City.  Link 1  Posted Friday, August 2, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3652 Double Contact Strap Key  I recently acquired a strap signal key, apparently used on the railroads. Could you tell me what role this strap key played in the past as a railroad signalling tool and how? Thank you and regards,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, July 23, 2019 by HW, Australia   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Some thoughts: This very basic type of key is obviously not designed for routine high speed sending of telegraph messages. I suspect it was used on some form of test board or panel where only occasional use was required. I note with some interest the number '440' on the tag on the front. 440 AC was the voltage used on North American RR pole lines to transmit power out to remote signals and grade crossing protection systems, so this key might have been at a test point for checking those circuits. Other possibilities crop up, along with Western Union whose systems were very similar to the RR's, and others involving the much more basic telegraph circuits such as the Gamewell Fire Alarm system, or the American District Telegragh (that's where the ADT security co. started) systems, where circuit continuity was an issue that sometimes needed to be tested but complex long messages were not being sent.  Posted Wednesday, July 24, 2019 by RJMc

A. Didn't those "old timers" in telegraphy have some conventions where they all sat around banging out electrical pulses in the dining room of big hotels? Maybe they numbered each key to match the participant seated there? Posted Monday, July 29, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3651 Key IDs?  These keys belonged to my great-grandfather and while I know what the large key is for, I am wondering if anyone knows what the smaller keys are for, and also what the two metal rings with the pattern on them are for? Thank you!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, July 23, 2019 by Nicole    Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. My father had the same exact type of small keys for a cash box he kept. It wasn't exactly a high security container as it was made of thin sheet metal. Posted Friday, July 26, 2019 by LC

A.  Several of us have been discussing this question and we cannot come up with an answer for the use of the two metal rings. A clue that might help us is knowing what job your Great Grandfather did on the railroad. Was he in the Operating Department like an Engineer or Conductor, the Maintenance of Way Department, did he work in a Roundhouse or car shop, or did he work on signals or maybe he worked in a depot as a clerk or dispatcher? Let us know what he did and maybe we can help identify those rings. Posted Sunday, August 4, 2019 by KM

A. Hi, he worked in Plummer, Idaho and my grandma says he was a station agent. I appreciate any help you can provide! Thanks! Posted Friday, August 9, 2019 by Nicole

 Q3650 RR Seal?  Are you able to identify this? I enjoy metal detecting here in Transfer PA. Which got its name from the railroad transfer station.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, July 22, 2019 by DB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. "P. Co." was a fairly common abbreviation for the Pennsylvania Railroad Co. Usually there would be more identifying info: is there any lettering or numbering on the other side of the seal? See prior Q 3601 for more info on how these were used in various functions around a RR. The Link goes to a separate page in the archives here on this website, all about RR lead seals and sealers.  Link 1  Posted Monday, July 22, 2019 by RJM

A. Yes on the back are the numbers 315. Thanks, I was hoping it stood for Pennsylvania Railroad. Posted Tuesday, July 23, 2019 by db

A. Just as a general note, the Pennsylvania Company was the holding corporation for the various rail components. Its' use as a mark was gradually supplanted by PRR, the Keystone logo, etc. Posted Wednesday, August 21, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3649 Dietz 39 Brass Lantern  I recently picked up this all brass (except for the bail which is steel) Dietz 39 lantern. The only markings on this are on the bottom: RE DIETZ COMPANY US NEW YORK with the number '39' in the middle. Overall the metal seems rather thin to me. The bail attach point seems lower than that of some other lanterns Iíve seen in pics. Globe and baffle plates missing, along with the fount and the wick raiser. I wonder what other company's fount might be compatible with this model? Anybody know of the approximate age of this lantern? If it's railroad or a specific Fireman's lantern on a railroad, or just a city fire department lantern? Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, July 20, 2019 by James L.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hobson's "Lanterns That Lit Our World" shows both the Conductor's #39 and Fireman's #39 lanterns as being identical except the fireman's lantern has a ring or loop attached to the top. Hobson says the lanterns were made from 1888 to 1905. He states the "fireman" refers to a locomotive fireman. Kirkman (Link 1) says the ring or loop was for use with a truck hook - presumably a fire truck. Hobson's lantern picture shows the bail attached to the lantern top at the vent area, while pictures in the Encyclopedia of Railroad Lighting show the bail attached at the top wire of the globe cage. The bail attachment point surely move around during the years this lantern was manufactured. A brass Dietz #39 I once owned had the bail attached to the lantern top, and the top was smooth. Your lantern appears to have had the ring or loop attached to the top at one time, so maybe it is a fireman's lantern.  Link 1  Posted Monday, July 22, 2019 by JEM

 Q3648 PB Blaster Okay to Use on Lantern?  I want to clean a Dressel switch lantern and am having a difficult time getting the panel to slide up so I can take out the kerosene pot (see pic). I have used WD-40 with limited success. Would PB Blaster be okay to try, to unfreeze it? I donít want to immerse it with the pot inside. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, July 20, 2019 by Vicki   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. WD-40 isn't really designed to be a lubricant (WD = water displacement). Any kind of lubricating oil should help here, including silicon lube spray, 3 in 1, or motor oil. Sometimes I have had to turn to my trusty plastic "persuader" hammer to tap the bottom of the panel lip to get it to move.  Posted Monday, July 22, 2019 by JEM

A. On second thought, don't use a silicon spray, because it is very difficult to remove properly and paint doesn't stick to it. Use an oil based lubricant.  Posted Monday, July 22, 2019 by JEM

A. Thanks! I was able to get the slide panel up to get the pot out. Just one more question, I need to replace the 5 3/8Ē O-rings that were mounted behind the lenses. Does anyone know where I could find replacements? I tried contacting JerrysRR but get no reply. Posted Thursday, July 25, 2019 by Vicki

A. Try Larry and Doris Krise, they have a lot of lamp parts - Link 1! Good luck!  Link 1  Posted Thursday, July 25, 2019 by JMS

A. The seals behind the lenses were not O rings, but flat gaskets. You can easily cut your own out of bulk rubber or cork flat gasket material available at any auto parts store or Big Box lumber/home supply place. See the Link to one of the pages in the Archives on this site with an 'exploded view' of all the parts it took / you need to re-assemble your lamp. This kind of view is available many different places from the various mfrs., and most were very similar since the lamps were made to RR industry standards to be interchangeable. Adlake may still be selling some of these parts.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, July 25, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3647 Silverware: M.P.R. on Towle  Could it be an early Missouri Pacific pattern? Towle's an oddball for railroads, but it wouldn't be a first time for unexpected makers.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, July 20, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3646 Lake & River Lantern  I hate to sound ignorant, but what does 'Lake and River' mean when referring to a railroad lantern? In the 1907 Adlake catalog shown on this site (see link) there is a reference Ė but I canít find any explanation. Is it as simple as a lantern/globe made for use on lake and river vessels ? Thanks! Posted Friday, July 12, 2019 by JMS  Link 1     Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Yes. If you note in the Link, the globe is for the "No. 7 Steamboat Lantern" obviously for use on lakes and rivers and canals. Waterways were a big market for lanterns, both for use on the vessels and at the land facilities. For just one example, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal between Washington, DC and Cumberland, MD, about 150 miles, in its heyday had 500 (five hundred!) mule-powered canal boats operating on it and 18 or more locks and dams, each with a locktender and each needing more than one lantern. So definitely a significant market for the lantern manufacturers. Often lanterns targeted at the marine market were made of brass, because salt water rapidly corroded the usual tin plate. But 'Lakes and Rivers' probably implied freshwater, so more steel could be used than for Navy equipment.  Posted Sunday, July 14, 2019 by RJMc

A. RJMc - thank you for a terrific and informative answer! Posted Tuesday, July 16, 2019 by JMS

 Q3645 Square Key Barrel  I found a brass square open barrel Bohannan key. I can't seem to find it online. Can you help? Thanks   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, July 8, 2019 by Mark K.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I think I may have seen the same key. It looks to me as though someone made it into a clock key (?). If you are talking about it disappearing from eBay, railroad keys are prohibited on ebay. They have been since the Bush administration after 9/11 demanded eBay stop allowing auctions that could be used by terrorists against transportation infrastructure. Although it appeared last fall that they were being allowed again (after years of prohibition) all of a sudden several weeks ago, eBay began killing listings in droves. This after even adding a "Railroad Key" and "Railroad Lock" attribute you could add to a listing to help bidders home in on it. (See Link 1). RR Locks ("switch" is specifically mentioned in the list of prohibited items) were/are also prohibited, but those have gradually returned and they have let those listings slide. See Link 2 for the full prohibitions/restrictions policy, RR items are in the "Government Transit and shipping" subhead. There is no way to second guess what eBay will do.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Monday, July 8, 2019 by JMS

A. See prior Q 3631 and the other Q's listed there about hollow square gas valve keys. The rough outside surface on the square end of your key is how things look after somebody modified an existing key to have the square end by adding more metal and machining it down. Although like many suppliers, the key and lock manufacturers would deliver almost anything a customer would pay for. So there is still the possibility it left the factory that way. Posted Monday, July 8, 2019 by RJMc

A. Thanks, RJMc, for the defining answer.  Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2019 by JMS

 Q3644 C&O Greenbrier Flatwares  Found as odd man out among a group of very early Hotel del Coronado ornate patterns. This is Raphael (1896-on) by Rogers & Hamilton which joined International Silver in 1898. The firm continues to 1920, well after the new Greenbrier opens. This matches the old style 'G'. Could it be from there?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, July 6, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3643 Adlake Lamp  I just bought this brass Adlake lamp on Ebay. Could you please help me determine its history? It stands just 8.5 inches high, 5 inches wide and has three-3 inches diameter glass lenses (2 red and 1 green). For purposes of scale, I have it resting next to a traditional black inspector lamp. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, July 5, 2019 by Jerry H   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Does it have any kind of (or any signs of having had) a side mounting bracket or socket for mounting on the base? Is there any evidence it was refinished (maybe such as originally painted black?) Posted Saturday, July 6, 2019 by RJMc

A. I am including a few more photos. It is original brass and has never been painted. Also, the only defect that I can see is there is no clasp to keep the door containing the green lens shut properly. Hope someone can help. Link 1  Posted Saturday, July 6, 2019 by Jerry H.

A. THe 'socket' question refers (not to hacked electrical parts) but to the female rectangular socket used to mount many switch lamps. The red and green lenses would work either for a marker (which would need a side bracket) or for a switch light. Does it have a burner? I am wondering now if it might have been produced for decorative use only, the way the now-defunct Victoria Station chain restaurants were decorated.  Posted Saturday, July 6, 2019 by RJMc

A. The side mount and size really reminds me of a buggy or wagon lamp. These weren't usually made of brass but maybe this was a fancy example. Posted Saturday, July 6, 2019 by PEK

A. More guesses - a horse drawn fire pumper? a tug or some other navigation related railroad owned use ?  Posted Saturday, July 6, 2019 by JMS

A. Adlake is still in business and has a website. Perhaps if you asked them, they could give you an idea of its intended use. Posted Sunday, July 7, 2019 by LC

A.  It is a side marker or tail lamp for an automobile, that is the mounting bracket that they used. The electric socket is factory original, note that the mounting bracket is shaped to go around the socket. The socket should have a rubber insert in it which has holes for two wire in it. Now for give me for asking, have you put a magnet on the lamp, is it solid brass or just brass plated? see the link for the Model T Ford Forum which shows an identical lamp which is nickel plated. The fact that the lamp came from the factory with an electric bulb in it and not a kerosene burner gives a clue to the age. Some trucks used kerosene lamps up into the 1920's.  Link 1  Posted Sunday, July 7, 2019 by KM

A.  This item is a great candidate for Nice, but not really railroad! Posted Sunday, July 7, 2019 by KM

A. I checked the lamp with a strong magnet. It is definitely brass. The only attraction to the magnet is the spring steel wire that holds the glass in place. Even though it says itís a Adlake non sweating lamp, I believe it never had any oil burner inside. It looks like it was electrically lighted. It is rather small, about half the size of a switch light. It is very attractive wherever it was used.  Posted Sunday, July 7, 2019 by JPH

A. Hereís a close up view of the missing door clasp. Anyone know what it once looked like? I would like to repair this. Link 1  Posted Monday, July 8, 2019 by Jerry H.

A. An Adlake "Trade Show" sample Carriage Lamp. Period photos show their trade displays had many polished brass lamps on exhibit. This one is not "Railroad" as even the smallest of switch lamps; those of the accepted "Spherical" designs were considerably larger than this. The reason is an interesting one: on very hot summer days with continuously lit lamps (as switch lamps were)small-sized examples as this one with confined ventilation, raised the internal lamp temperature and therefore that of the oil in the fount to the point necessary for ignition. The entire lamp would often go up in flames! Posted Sunday, July 28, 2019 by PKL

 Q3642 China ID?  'Dinner On Train En Route To Bremerhaven Ger. June 47'. From a small set of photos showing these guys were in service in 1946-7. Probably heading for the embarkation port for a ship home. Can anyone identify the topmarked china? The first post-war German service (Mitropa, DSG), or US Army issues?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, June 23, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Looks like Mitropa continued operating both eastern & western services until 1949 when withdrawn to Reichsbahn only (Bundesbahn gets DSG to cover those services). Mitropa's prewar eagle logo and postwar headless version don't seem to quite match here...searching "Freunde der Mitropa" yields some good photos of china. During the era of this snapshot, Life magazine ran an article on military wives arriving through Bremerhaven and had a shot in one of the dining cars...not the same service?? Posted Friday, July 12, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. The only photo of a train, third down in Link 1, is from 1958. But the text seems to imply that little change occured from 1945-on and BPOE was established formally in 1947. The cars might be olive drab Transportation Corps, running trains while Military Transport Service is still in charge of ships...note two port buildings in first photo. As to Bundesbahn, one source indicates it was basically cobbled together from three separate existing rail networks but does not give any odd comment given that the wartime DR (D-eagle-R logo) seemed to have absorbed all rail lines into a singular entity (?). Link 1  Posted Saturday, July 13, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. A short history of "Duty Trains" started in 1945 (Link 1). Dining car services seem to be left out, but the site in prior link has an entire section on duty trains from 1949-on and dining cars were in regular use (mentions of later discontinuance, DSG staff, etc.)...some tap links don't seem to function, but what do you expect from a military site? Link 1  Posted Saturday, July 13, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3641 Wagner P.C.Co. Sugar  Apparently list by Maffet (Silver Banquet II 1990 Page 223) as Wagner Palace Car. Example with lid having correct finial (no numbers inside) and name not ground out of backstamp. What is known of the possible usage? Did Wagner build broiler/sleepers, diners, etc.? Or might this be company service for dining facilities?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, June 21, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Looks like NY Public Library collection has an 1896 W.P.C.Co. Dining Car Service menu for the McKinley League. Found 172 plans (Link 1) kept by Pullman referencing Wagner Sleeping or Parlor cars...a scattered check shows the occassional presence of a Buffet on-board. No diners among those plans. Link 1  Posted Saturday, June 22, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. The Wagner Palace Car Company was the largest competitor to Pullman until it was acquired by Pullman in 1900. Formed in 1886 from the New York Central Sleeping Car Company, Wagner operated 725 sleeping and restaurant cars on 30 railroads in the late 1890s. The sugar bowl by Reed & Barton dates from the 1886-1899 period and used on those cars.  Posted Saturday, June 22, 2019 by pemigewasset

A. Check out these two links for further information. Link 1 is about Wagner himself, Link 2 is a really terrific, introspective history of Wagner Palace Car and its interactions with Pullman.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Tuesday, June 25, 2019 by JMS

A. When Boston & Albany used this pattern, it carried the number 1315 rather than 315...over at rrcommissary silverplate listings. Guess the Central just didn't want to dump a good design. Posted Sunday, June 30, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3640 Tag ID?  I have a RR tag, I think it is brass/bronze. Where I found it and the patina, makes me think it is quite old, maybe CW era. I would appreciate any info you may have on the age/era it may be. And if it is a tool or luggage type tag. Thank you,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, June 21, 2019 by Alan P   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. See Q2987...just the numbers in the box. Posted Saturday, June 22, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Lets try jumping out on that best guess tree and wonder if a passenger was to board that had a large trunk that was to be held in the baggage car , and the term PASS was to separate general small freight parcels from passenger parcels upon arrival ?? Posted Saturday, June 22, 2019 by HVC

A. Might also look at Q2524 for another round tag with round hole. Over at Tag Town (Link 1) checklist item 4 references round holes in regard to identifying "baggage" tags, which usually have slots for straps. If the proposed out-on-limb theory is that this is a temporary claim check to be held by a passenger (presumably the hole is for hanging in the baggage car when not in use), then what would be the corresponding identifier used in the car to ensure the correct article was matched? Link 1  Posted Sunday, June 23, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. The wear pattern, around the small hole, doesn't look as if the tag was hung up very often. Another in a (now) continuing series of guesses: Illinois Central RR always served downtown Chicago and had headquarters there. They have always had extensive commuter train service in the Chicago metro area (still continues under Chicago METRA). Maybe these tags served as employee passes to ride commuter trains, so the RR didn't have to keep issuing paper ones to each of many employees, and the train crews didn't have to keep examining paper ones -- in cars packed with people -- when a quick glance at a tag would suffice. That kind of use would more likely justify the fancy 'coined' stamping of the tag in earlier Q 2524.  Posted Sunday, June 23, 2019 by RJMc

A. For example, a digital copy of an 1870 Official Guide shows 6 trains per day one way, and 7 the other, between Chicago, Hyde Park, and Oakwood on ICRR. And several other IC routes converged on Chicago which also would have carried employees in to work each day.  Posted Sunday, June 23, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3639 Switch Stand Restoration  I have a couple switch stands that I would like to clean up and paint or sandblast to bring them back to their original color. Can you please advise if old switch stands were painted and, if so, where I could find more information about paint colors? Thanks,  Posted Friday, June 7, 2019 by Paul   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Traditionally I do not recall seeing the body of switch stands in any color but black, and probably renewed very occasionally with black paint. That said, when it comes to painting almost anything, every RR was/is a law unto itself and so almost anything was/is possible. (Part of the traditional concept of 'being qualified on the physical characteristics of the territory you are operating on' is to know beforehand where every switch stand is located; you are not supposed to have to spot them visually on each trip, so presumably bright colors weren't needed.) It is only more recently when 'ergonomics' (meaning injury reduction) has become more of an objective that switch stand handles have become much larger, triangle shaped, and usually painted yellow.  Posted Saturday, June 8, 2019 by RJMc

A. Like the model T Ford, switch stands came in all colors as long as it was Black. Link 1 Link 1  Posted Sunday, June 9, 2019 by LC

 Q3638 Baggage Tags/Checks  Iím writing a book on the history of Union Station in Washington and want to convey all the work that went on behind the scenes to make the terminal succeed, especially in the first half of the 20th century. Right now Iím working on baggage handling, in particularly what happened in the stationís basement sorting room. I realize that my question isnít exactly what your list normally covers, but I was hoping one of the group would either know about the topic or be able to direct me to someone who does. Iíve been trying to understand the process after a transfer company delivered luggage to the stationís basement freight entrance. From what I know now, the hustlers inspected, sorted and weighed luggage after it arrived, then a foreman filled out what Iíve seen referred to as a 'train check,' which was sent via pneumatic tube up to the ground floor baggage counter. My understanding is that at Union Station, these were paper. A counterman matched the train check to the passengerís claim check from the transfer company, gave the passenger half the train check (on which the counterman had written train number and destination), and sent the other half back to the basement to be attached to the bag. However, that process doesnít seem quite right to me ó it seems, for example, that something must have been left on the bag as it sat in the basement. I was hoping that the people on your list could help me explain the details of this routine ó in part because they collect train check ó or suggest somewhere I can learn more. Thanks for any help you can provide.  Posted Friday, June 7, 2019 by Bill W   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Yes, interesting questions. We all need to work to locate some actual employees from these operations and document how things really worked. But for the baggage process to work, for the transfer company to have the bag at all, it was already checked in somewhere else (say a hotel) and would therefore already have some ID attached with the patron holding a matching document/tag in some form. One part of what you describe seems unlikely: it would apparently require the passenger to check in both at a ticket counter AND a separate visit to a baggage counter -- thereby losing any benefit from the earlier checkin process. Not clear how the passenger's ticket got linked to the baggage tracking. The baggage counter did NOT have a computer file to look in for the destination info....  Posted Saturday, June 8, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3637 Heater ID?  This heater was found in Northern Ont. Canada in an abandoned rail town. I believe it burned coal, and I canít seem to find it anywhere on the internet. Maybe someone on this site has seen one?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, June 6, 2019 by PC   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Heaters similar to this were used in the ends of insulated cars which got iced in summer and heated in winter, in the days before each car got equipped with a diesel generator. Many of those heaters were fueled with alcohol, which allowed some control for how much heat was generated and when according to conditions. But coal could also have been used. The handle is also a clue: the heavy handle with the 'V' notch allowed the heater to be lifted out of the compartment with a hook to be serviced, so the person did not have to climb in and out of the compartment.  Posted Thursday, June 6, 2019 by RJMc

A. The insulated cars were used to ship perishable foods such as meats and produce. Burning coal in the heaters would have caused problems with soot and smells; if solid fuel was used it was probably charcoal which could be set to burn very slowly, lasting a long time between servicings, without the problems from coal. The objective was to keep the car interior just barely above freezing, so large amounts of heat or hot air were not required if the car was well insulated.  Posted Thursday, June 6, 2019 by RJMc

A. See Prior Q 564 for a very similar heater that was owned/used by a brewery (its not good to freeze beer, either.) It was clearly labelled "Charcoal Car Heater." Posted Thursday, June 6, 2019 by RJMc

A. Sorry, the correct prior Q is # 569. Posted Thursday, June 6, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3636 Button ID Needed  Please, can anyone identify the uniform button pictured? I found a few of these buttons within a railroad collection and have been trying to identify what company/railroad they belong to. The person whose collection it came from was a retired conductor/engineer and an avid railroad collector, so I'm reasonably certain they are railroad, but he has passed away and I'm trying to assist his wife. I've done a Google image search, but no luck. Thank you for any assistance you can provide.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, June 4, 2019 by Jody   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Are there manufacturer ID marks on the back of the buttons? Some possibilities: Joseph Gross' Trolley and Interurban Directory lists rwo 'Union Depot' rr's in Missouri; one in St. Louis and one whose full name was Union Depot Bridge and Terminal Co. im Kansas City, MO. There were 'Union Depot' Co's in many other cities as well. The term Union DEPOT was popular in the early 20th Century. Thereafter Union STATION (as in Chicago and Washington DC US.) or Union TERMINAL (as in Cleveland, Cinci, Los Angeles UT's) became more common. Passenger train crews operating into those places likely wore the uniforms of the RR Co's that employed them. But the Union Depot Co. would still have uniformed employees, possibly selling tickets and as ushers and porters, who would have needed uniform buttons.  Posted Tuesday, June 4, 2019 by RJMc

A. Further checking at the Waterbury Button Co. site (see Link and search on UD) states they made (and may still make) identical buttons for the Union Depot Co., in a very wide range of sizes and finishes. Unfortunately, there are no other details about WHICH UD Co.(s) they made them for....But a visit to the Waterbury site is always fascinating because of the sheer numbers and varieties they have made and still make for the military, shipping lines, airlines, and many others.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, June 4, 2019 by RJMc

A. The back of the button is imprinted only with Superior Quality, with stars in-between words. I have three different styles of button all with this on the front & Superior Quality on the back. This gold tone, a silver tone just like it and then a different style. It's brass and has a domed front surface, but still has the same raised lettering on front & back. If it would help I can email photos of the rest, doesn't look like I can post it here. The different depot options help. Although it sounds like pinpointing exactly what depot they are from will likely be impossible. I'll check out Waterbury's site. I actually found information on a couple other buttons through their site, but it never came up in Google searches for this one. Weird. Guess I'll make sure to go to the site for the rest of the buttons in the collection. Thank you for your help, gives me a direction to go in anyway. Posted Wednesday, June 5, 2019 by Jody

A. According to Van Court's RR button book, this is listed as Union Depot Co COLUMBUS OHIO w. a date code in the 40's. Posted Wednesday, June 5, 2019 by DA

A. Thank you DA for finding that! Thanks to you both for the help.  Posted Wednesday, June 5, 2019 by Jody

A. That would certainly fit. The Wikipedia article (see Link) says the several different RR's serving Columbus, OH, formed the Union Depot Co. in 1868 to work on jointly solving massive downtown traffic problems for both the trains and everybody else, and to build new facilities. As happened in many cities, the RR companies banded together to take joint action at depots at terminals, altho they competed hotly everywhere else. So although the building and associated facilities were later called the "Union Station" the Union Depot Company continued to be the operating corporate entity, probably until the passenger service ended in the 1970's. And on reflection there were many uniformed employees in any facility such as this; station masters, baggage masters and clerks, policemen, and maybe even lunchroom employees, as well as the ticket takers, ushers, and porters. They would have gone thru a LOT of buttons....  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, June 5, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3635 To Clean or Not to Clean?  I am taking pictures of railroad, civil war and petroleum memorabilia so I can sell. The question is: should I clean the items? For example, auction sites show some padlocks, luggage tags & other items that are cleaned/polished while others aren't. Does it add value or does it sell faster if it's been cleaned/polished? Thank you in advance for your expertise and consideration.  Posted Saturday, June 1, 2019 by JH   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. It really depends on the item. Things used by John Q Public,like china, silverware,etc should be cleaned. Lantern, tools, locks, etc are better left alone. It is called patina. I myself would rather buy a grungy, well used lantern than a shiny new one. Most of these items have been through a lot. Let them tell their own story.  Posted Sunday, June 2, 2019 by JN

A. For me it also depends on the item as to whether to clean. I think brass locks, keys, luggage tags, etc. should be left alone and not cleaned. I have a fancy back brass lock that has a beautiful dark brown patina that looks very nice, and I would never polish the lock. I also have a large steel/ iron car lock with an oily rusty look that is nice. However, when it comes to lanterns I like to clean them. Soot, kerosene, oily dirt, crud and rust on a lantern are not "patina" to me. For those lanterns that have a brass top, I polish that up and apply a clear lacquer finish so the brass stays shiny and doesn't oxidize. The vast majority of lanterns I have seen at railroad shows have been cleaned in some fashion, and I see nothing wrong with the practice.  Posted Sunday, June 2, 2019 by JEM

A. To add my two cents worth, some mild soap and warm water will hurt few items and can remove dust and dirt. What I don't like to see are folks that over clean items with very coarse utensils like a wire brush on a brass item or even a tin lantern. Please don't do damage to the item in the name of cleaning it. Leave it alone and let the next caretaker of the item decide. He may also want to leave it in as found condition.  Posted Sunday, June 2, 2019 by COD

A. Also, reproduction and fantasy railroad items have descriptions like "New looking"...."shiny"...."polished", etc. You don't want a 150 year old lantern or padlock to be described the same way. Posted Tuesday, June 4, 2019 by DA

A. All of the above posts are right on! you do not want an antique or older collectible looking like a new fake. I think you will have better luck presenting most items "as found." Collectors who DO want them polished will be able to do it themselves; Collectors who DO NOT will appreciate your leaving them alone. Personally, I WILL remove rust/dirt/crud but JUDICIOUSLY. (NEVER use Goo-Gone type cleaners on brass - it will turn it ORANGE.) A cleaning exception might be silver tableware - give it a GENTLE polish because tarnish can hide problems and deter possible buyers. Wash china and glassware by hand with dish detergent. It's OK to use grease remover/GooGone on china and glass, but DO NOT bleach it or try to remove stains. Bleaching china can cause long term damage. New fakes often are artificially/chemically aged and have a harsh, too uniform finish. "Patina" is a "surface appearance" that ONLY develops over years, and new items simply do not have it. It's a richness of the finish - old metal that gradually darkened, with a rich, "soft" look rather than harsh and shiny. Bumps and dings acquired over many years add to character. Good luck to you - you're on the right track, coming to this forum first.  Posted Tuesday, June 4, 2019 by JMS

 Q3634 Numbered Nails  Can I get some information on these numbered nails please? Not pictured: 33, 35, 41. Thank you,  Posted Thursday, May 30, 2019 by Jennifer H   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. 'Date Nails' were used by RR's to indicate the last two digits of the year when a wooden tie or bridge timber was inserted in the track. Factors such as moisture, service conditions, type of wood, and type of anti-rot presrvative, anti-termite treatment could make a tie's working lifetime between 20 and 50 years. Acquiring and installing wood ties was/is a major part of track maintenance expense and therefore justified the added expense of marking them individually with the nails to be able to track later factors such as longevity and compare performance. Computer database techniques have made all that tracking much simpler and comprehensive so that using date nails is no longer needed. New ties are often 'branded' during the almost-universal treatment processes so they may still be marked, but no nail is required. See prior Q's 0014 and 2608 for more discussion and a pic of some date nails. Posted Thursday, May 30, 2019 by RJMc

A. Unfortunately, they were also used in telephone poles of the past making it hard to claim a specific origin unless you actually pulled them out yourself. The kind seen in Q. 0014 were commonly seen on old poles in Southern California into the 1970's. I can't vouch for other parts of the country. Posted Thursday, May 30, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. My husbandsí grandmother pulled these out of railroad ties she used for fencing in Deming NM in the 70ís. I read an online post in another forum that the # 28ís are from the Santa Fe Railroad that ran through western NM so that makes a little bit of sense. Are they worth anything? Posted Sunday, June 2, 2019 by JH

A. They have mostly sentimental value. There are about 3,000 wood ties in a typical mile of main line track. Except when building a new track, wood ties usually wear out and get replaced a (relative) few at a time. A lot of modern research has shown that one good tie out of three in a row is enough to keep track safely strong, and RR's usually don't replace stuff that really doesn't need it.....Even a major main track rehab now consists of replacing maybe 10% of the ties, on a 6 to 7 year basis. So there is a wide variety of original years in any track which has been in service a while. That means no way to say for sure that a '28'nail came from a particular place, unless you found it there yourself.  Posted Monday, June 3, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3633 Plate ID?  I found an ALCO, American Locomotive Company, builders plate today. The builder number is 40655, August 1906. Can anyone help me to find what the locomotive would have been that this plate went to?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, May 27, 2019 by Railfanner   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Alabama Consolidated Coal & Iron Co 0-6-0 # 12  Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2019 by COD

 Q3632 Mounting a Circa-1895 A&W Wall Sconce  I have an Adams & Westlake wall sconce that I want to mount and be as period correct as possible in what it would have looked like in the 1890's. I'm hoping you can help me. (1) Indicate if it's for a passenger train or an office, and(2) indicate how it would have been mounted (chimney holder, reflector vs canopy, etc). Thank you very much for any assistance.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, May 27, 2019 by David M   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Maybe begin search with "bunk car lamp" (no quotes) and see where that leads? Posted Thursday, May 30, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. See prior Q 2024 for a mostly-assembled similar lamp. Lamps like this were used in so many places (and RR cars) and over so many decades that there is no 'right' answer to your questions. The good news in that: any respectable way you asswmble it and mount it will probably have been used in 'revenue service' somewhere at some time. Also enter 'caboose lamp' (without the quotes) in the word or phrase search box to see many prior Q's about these and similar lamps. One note: the one I have of these mounted as an emergency light in my house appears to have been painted at one time (green) and subsequently stripped to the bare metal. So that would be another option if you chose to do that. Posted Tuesday, June 4, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3631 Question about a Key  I have a collection of train and railroad keys and locks and need help identifying this specific key. Seems to be iron with a very detailed handle. Can anyone provide some information? Cheers,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, May 27, 2019 by Eric   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The hollow square tip on this type of key usually fit over the stem of a gas valve. Many passenger cars were lit with gas lights, supplied from an onboard pressurized tank, until electric lighting became universal. (Note that the transition occurred over several decades...). The removable key was used to hopefully prevent unauthorized meddling with the valve settings. The same idea was applied in many other places -- for example on gas lights in buildings and on some building steam radiator control valves. So the key type is fairly common, and almost impossible to specify how this exact key might have been used. Enter 'gas light' (no quotes) in the word or phrase search box to see prior discussions on the topic.  Posted Monday, May 27, 2019 by RJMc

A. Gas floor furnaces (a metal grid sat over) and older gas fire place burners also used this kind of key. Ornate designs were simplified to the basic Mickey Mouse ear look. Posted Thursday, May 30, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3630 UPRR Caster in Cruet Stand   International Silver frame 05050B made 1951. With no lift handle, casters would sit higher than finial of stand. So far, I believe these can be spotted on tables of upstairs seating in dome diners. (You must look real hard among other items.) Has anyone seen them deployed elsewhere? The tarnish pattern indicates the other caster has been missing for a long time, but does the surviving one appear original to known specimens? Any thoughts on dates/styles? TIA   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, May 27, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Considering the date oddity, if these were ordered strictly for dome diner use (as a stabilizing measure for the salt & pepper), and given the introduction period of 1955 for the new fleet this earlier stand could have been meant for the Train of Tommorrow which UP purchased from GM in 1950 to use on the Portland-Seattle services. Re-equipping would have been a normal practice along with repainting or refurbishing. Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. For the frame, the tab handles and smooth acorn finial match a 1954 issued covered sugar (Link 1) which oddly still carried the Overland Route shield logo topmark (side of bowl). This is the 05050 1/2 item. Another sample simply had the UPRR script letters on the base like this cruet stand. These do not include "Winged Streamliner" logos found on other items, so far. Link 1  Posted Wednesday, May 29, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Your caster set was made in 1951 by International Silver indicated by the digits 51 in the little square box.They used this code system beginning around 1913. DJB Posted Saturday, June 1, 2019 by DJB

A. Correct...noted at the top. That's why it would seem out of place for dome diner useage (if that was the intent) except for the re-fitting of the GM train, which did in fact occur after the 1950 purchase by UPRR. Just as a note, the plans for that first dome diner show a silverwares rack within the dome space..eliminating the need to send that up in the dumbwaiter for each order. Posted Tuesday, June 4, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3629 Unknown Key Marking  I came across a couple of keys yesterday in Kansas and I recognize the one on the left as Chicago and Alton railway, but the WNW on the right has stumped me. On the back it has an S upside down on the bottom right of the loop and then also has a stamp ? & W Co Chicago. Any help would be greatly appreciated. The only WNW I found was in England - I think West Norwood. I did find an old link about a WNW train in Kansas but I canít find anything else. Thanks so much.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, May 27, 2019 by Mike   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Wichita Northwestern RR 1919 - 1940.  Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2019 by DA

A. The A&W Chicago mark is that of the Adams & Westlake Company, and the oval shape was used around 1900 - 1920. "S" stands for switch. The larger than usual ADLAKE with a curve was produced around 1920-1940. (Adlake is Adams+Westlake names combined).  Posted Wednesday, May 29, 2019 by JMS

 Q3628 Fake Badge?  I am conducting an estate sale of a former antique dealer and I am suspicious of the authenticity of a railroad badge I found at the house. It measures 2 1/2 in. across and 3 in. tall. It is a 6 point star with the words stamped on the front, 'SPECIAL, C.B.& Q., POLICE'. The back is a safety pin soldered to the center with no other marks. It is rusty and scratched but I think it could be part of the process somebody used to make it look old. Thank you very much for any help or information you can give me.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, May 18, 2019 by Amy S   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. For my part, there are problems with this badge. The letters are uneven, as though they had been stamped one at a time, and the ampersand appears to be slightly tilted. So the lettering does not appear to be factory stamped with a die. That being said, the railroad may have had badge blanks and stamped them out as needed. I have some SPECIAL OFFICER and SPECIAL POLICE Duluth Missabe star badges of this type with the pin and some rust in back,no makers mark, and the lettering is curved to fit within the badge. Each has a badge number, missing from this one, so another red flag.  Posted Thursday, May 23, 2019 by JEM

A. Stamped letters on flat sheet metal, scuzzy soldering job with a safety pin. I'd give the Burlington Route more credit than using a badge like that.  Posted Tuesday, May 28, 2019 by DA

A. Also, the safey pin is oriented across two points of the star. The badge would hang with the lettering at a weird angle if pinned on a jacket in the usual manner. Outside possibilities: a prop for a play or making a movie(?) Or an in-the-cereal-box promotion (?).  Posted Thursday, May 30, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3627 Boston Elevated Ry Lantern  I am a relatively new collector of oil lamps. I have always loved the rail (great grandfather worked on the Boston/Albany Line) and have recently started collecting railroad memorabilia. I came across this lamp that I was trying to identify the maker. It has a Dietz FITZALL globe, but I think it's a replacement. I was hoping that someone could help me identify this lamp and it's former life! It reads: No. 0. TUBULAR on the tank. It is missing the filler cap. I would like to identify the proper globe it would have originally had. Thanks in advance.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by Lucy   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Without a manufacturer's name on it, your lantern might be hard to identify. According to "Lanterns That Lit Our World", Dietz made a No. 0 Tubular lantern from 1870 to 1884, but it doesn't look like yours. Dietz also made a Monarch lantern model which was a large font version of the No. 0 Tubular lantern. This web site has information about tubular lanterns that are marked for traction companies, inter-urbans, and even railroads. See Link 1, which has information about lanterns associated with Boston Elevated Railways. From the information on the Link 1 page, a red globe was most likely original to your lantern.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, May 16, 2019 by JEM

A. Here is a Link 1 to detailed descriptions of Dietz lantern models - scroll around to find drawings and examples and descriptions. Link 2 is to Wikipedia information about the Boston Elevated. Good luck !  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Thursday, May 16, 2019 by JMS

A. You might check out listings on eBay for tubular lanterns (try the links) - you will have to look to find any No.0 in the list - look for an identical lantern frame. Also try searching on Etsy. Without the maker mark the placement on yours of No.0 TUBULAR is important ... I hope you should be able to find a replacement cap at a hardware store, if I'm not mistaken these are pretty standard. Or try a flea market or antique shop - this is a wonderful lantern, it is so difficult to find them in this condition AND with railroad markings.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Saturday, May 18, 2019 by JMS

 Q3626 Lantern?Lamp Info?  I was given this lantern and would like more information on what it was used for. I was told (not sure) it was a train bridge lantern. When the bridge was up the train engineer would see red and the boats would see white. There is NO markings anywhere on the lantern. Any help would be greatly appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by Brian   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3625 Railroad Pick  Help! Have an old railroad pick with handle stamped with initials 'S U'. Any info available for this??  Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2019 by enrietta   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Can you post a picture of the stamping ? It does not sound like a railroad tool as if so it should have RR or RY in the mark. More likely, the owner's initials.  Posted Tuesday, May 14, 2019 by JMS

 Q3624 Grandfather's Lanterns  I'm hoping I could get some assistance identifying these oil lanterns. I do not know what type of lamps these are, or if they were actually railroad or other vintage. Thank You.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, May 12, 2019 by Ronnie   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. These lanterns are not railroad related in any way. They appear to be decorative type lamps.  Posted Sunday, May 12, 2019 by JEM

 Q3623 Key Initials?  I have this key and was told it was for Buffalo & St Lawrence Railroad but the initials B.S.S.L are coming up on the Internet as Barber Steam Ship Lines, which is a ship company and not a train? Was hoping you might be able to help. Thanks!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, May 11, 2019 by Patrick   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. It seems the information you were given has to be incorrect - to be Buffalo and St. Lawrence, the stamping correctly should be B&StL - of course I can't say "never," but there should be an ampersand, and "St Anywhere" almost always includes the small t. Also, the location of the stamping at the bottom of the bow where it meets the barrel is "different," railroad keys I've seen are almost always stamped around the top of the bow. This key appears a bit larger than the usual railroad key and indeed may be from a steamship (sorry I have no knowledge whatsoever about those).  Posted Saturday, May 11, 2019 by JMS

A. See prior Q 3544, which is about a key with a blank very similar to yours. In addition to JMS's comments above, I note that the letter stamping on your key is a very modern font, very commonly available in steel stamp sets even today. Also, this type of key and key blank, particularly with the straight bit, was widely used by many industries for many different functions in addition to padlocks -- for example police and fire callboxes and for electrical switch controls. At least for state room doors, most ship keys are much longer and of the 'skeleton' type, rather than the shorted barrel keys such as this one. All that said, this doesn't rule out that maybe some railroad(er) used it somewhere, but I would not think that likely.  Posted Monday, May 13, 2019 by RJMc

 Q3622 Found RR Light  This light was found in a junkyard. Can you help me identify it?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, May 8, 2019 by Ron   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The raised PRR in a keystone is the Pennsylvania Railroad mark. Posted Saturday, May 11, 2019 by JMS

 Q3621 CPR Morton-Parker Silver  A prior record of one of these Morton-Parker Marlboro Plate #624 Creamers for Canadian Pacific has quickly been deleted from access now. The item carried the additional marks 'CANADA' (top), '68' or '89' (bottom), and a very large 'B.S.H.' (center, overstamped). These would seem to suggest possible production for Banff Springs Hotel, and maybe as late as 1968 or 1989. None of the other listed pieces in this line/pattern seem to have the B.S.H., but might these all be specific to the giant hostlery instead of dining car useage? Anyone know?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, May 6, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3620 Topmarked 'F.H.' Flatware  All pieces in the photo are International Silver XII. Some include the 'Triple' stamp. A single piece also has an oddball large 'C' stamped on the back, which may or may not suggest the word commissary. There are two versions of the 'F.H.', but all were in the one group. Can anyone confirm a Fred Harvey connection to these pieces?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, April 22, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I would be very suspicious that these pieces are actually Fred Harvey - International sold to a bazillion customers, and FH could mean "anyone" and "C" could mean anything. The railroad dining car flatware book "Silver At Your Service" (Dominy and Morgenfruh)shows this pattern, which is named "Zephyr." Nine different railroads (ACL, FEC, Frisco, PENN STA REST, SCL, UPRR, The Union News Co, Lackawanna and Monon)are listed as having used this pattern, with two more (IC and RI)and Grand Central Terminal included as "Markings Not Reported." No mention is made of Fred Harvey as using "Zephyr." The book includes 15 patterns used by Fred Harvey - all but one of which used the full name spelled out. The one pattern for which initials may have been used is "Plaza," where "FH" is listed under "Markings Not Reported." With that many actual Fred Harvey patterns reported, and so many railroad companies reported for using "Zephyr," it would seem as though Zephyr with FH would have been included. On a related note, I have also seen Fred Harvey flatware marked with only the last name HARVEY. Rudy Morgenfruh would be the expert on this, or a strong collector.  Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by JMS

A. Thanks JMS. We definitely know (from china) of "FH" logos outside of Harvey. The FEC connection also had me thinking a possible "Flagler Hotel" or some gap between "Flagler System" and "Florida East Coast Hotel Company"..nothing so far. The Zephyr pattern, created for the streamlined or moderne era, seems rarely found with added user markings beyond transportation companies, and in such cases, bottom marks more often than top. Hotels and hospitals are possible, but there's usually more to the marks than this, and low-end users don't often order higher-end wares for their table. Two distinct versions would suggest not likely to be for an individual in household use. Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3619 Empire Pattern Stainless Flatware  Seen in the top half of the group photo are samples of International Silver Company's Empire flatware known to have been used by Illinois Central, Rock Island, and Southern Pacific. Even though a large selection of items were made, including cocktail forks, I had doubts about the possibility of dining car usage as there seemed to be no demi spoons. However, a replacements site indicates a Five O'Clock teaspoon was available. Most railroad-marked pieces seem to be standard knives, spoons, and forks. The second meat-serving fork down is marked Southern Pacific in script/cursive. Unlike other pieces marked Silco or Insico, this one has the word SERVET...a name that I have tracked back to a single Utah advertisement for stainless hollowares prior to WWII. It was located many years ago in a thrift store in Grants Pass Oregon where, as far as I know, there has never been any commissary services close by and no rail passenger operations (Siskyou Line) since the early 1950's. Is there any other evidence to place where the railroads used these wares...diners, grill cars, commissaries, work trains, etc.?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, April 22, 2019 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. What a fabulous group! Congratulations!! My "Silver at Your Service" book shows this pattern as "Empire(C)" [Empire(B) is shown as another International pattern dated 1921 and apparently also made by Rogers, and the design is very different; Empire(A) is shown as Gorham (1880) and again a very different design). About Empire(C), the book confirms International as the maker and says "This is a stainless steel pattern and one of the final flatware orders for several railroads. Some of their pieces may have added silver plating." Unfortunately, there is no mention of how or where this flatware was used. I couldn't find a replacement site you cited - was the 5-o'clock spoon actually RR marked? Certainly International sold this pattern to non-RR customers (Link 1), so pieces without railroad marks are no help determining how the SP actually used their flatware. I hope a good collector will see this and offer some thoughts.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by JMS

A. Way down the listings in your link...5 1/2" left section for not in stock but made for this pattern, before you get to made to order customs. If any RR marked ones do turn up, it would be pretty amazing. Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by ShastaRoute

 Q3618 Caboose Lamp  Great web site and very informative. I bought a caboose lamp marked PRR Urbana. I'm pretty sure it's not a repo but it did not come with a mantle or globe. I was wondering if there is a certain style globe that I need and how tall is the globe? I don't have any pictures to provide but can if needed. Any info would be appreciated. Keep up the great job.  Posted Thursday, April 18, 2019 by splumber   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. See prior Q 2560 for a pic of an assembled caboose lamp, including the clear (when new, anyway) glass chimney, the clip that kept the chimney in place, and the soot-catcher guard cap above the top opening of the chimney. The chimney on my similar lamp is about 10" tall and about 4" at the widest part. Urbana Industries stamped out (literally) many thousands of these. This type of lamp used a burner and wick, but no mantle. Many were used assembled just as you see the one in Q 2560, screwed to the wall of the caboose or other car, but some fancier installations had lamp shades also. Enter 'caboose lamp' in the word or phrase search box (without the quotes) to see a lot more discussion of this topic.  Posted Thursday, April 18, 2019 by RJMc

A. The maker was Johnson, located in Urbana Ohio. While the structure is still there, the company closed a few years back. HVC Posted Thursday, April 18, 2019 by HVC

 Q3617 CB&Q China  Iím wondering if you can help me. I have some pieces of China collected by a friend's (now in her late 70's) grandmother with a daisy and violet pattern. The pieces fall into 2 categories: Syracuse China from the 1950's and earlier pieces(late 1800's to early 1900's). All the china has the same pattern. I've found that the Syracuse pieces were from the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad in the 1950's, I believe used on trains named the Chicago Zephyr and prior to that, the Twin Zephyr. According to research I did on the Internet the Syracuse pieces are 'similar to 'Violet Spray', a pattern that had been used by the CB&Q since the turn of the century.' My question, then, is about the other pieces. They were made in Austria for export to the US. Their mark is the Vienna Austria mark with the double shield and crown associated with the PH Leonard Co, circa 1890-1908, an importer from NYC. So, would I be correct in assuming that they are earlier pieces from the CB&Q RR? The attached photos are of one of the pieces that I have questions about. I just need some confirmation this may be an 1890 - 1908 piece of Railroad China. Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, April 18, 2019 by Susan W   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Sorry, no on your older pieces. But yes, the Syracuse china is indeed "Violets & Daisies" used by the CB&Q. Some Syracuse China pieces carried the railroad mark, but many did not, but because Syracuse made this pattern ONLY for the CB&Q, any unmarked Syracuse pieces definitely are authentic railroad-ordered. HOWEVER, almost certainly the Vienna Austria pieces are not. As you found, "Violet Spray" (only violets, no daisies) was the "original" CB&Q-used pattern, ordered by the RR president. It was French Limoges made by Haviland & Co. and dates to the 1800s. After "Violet Spray," the CB&Q ordered the "true" violets and daisies china from Haviland (Haviland's Schleiger No.453, which they called "Violet & Gray Daisy" and was made in about 5 different decoration variations - of which the railroad used two). I believe most of this early Haviland china was railroad marked ("Burlington Route" is what I've seen). After discontinuing Haviland orders, the CB&Q ordered from Syracuse China and Buffalo China and possibly some other American companies but records are sparse. All that said, Haviland ALSO sold a tremendous lot of Violet & Gray Daisy china to any kind of customer; the public loved it and it became a hugely prolific "stock pattern." Because there was such a demand, many companies began to copy the pattern, and it became one of the most copied patterns in the world. Because it was so widely sold to anyone and everyone, European chinaware without RR markings must be considered non-railroad pieces.  Posted Thursday, April 18, 2019 by JMS

A. Here is a Syracuse China date code chart if you want to date your Syracuse pieces. See Link 1. Example: For 1950 there is a letter code EE, combined with numbers 1-12 representing the months. January 1950 would be EE-1.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, April 18, 2019 by JMS

A. To clarify Q3617 (and other places), the 'Violet Spray' pattern is distinctly different than 'Violets & Daisies' china. Using the word 'similar' can be misleading, because while they do resemble each other, they are not alike. The pattern names are clear : 'Violet Spray' contains NO DAISIES (and it was this pattern, made by Haviland, that was discovered by the CB&Q President, who used it in his home before it became a railroad pattern). 'Violets & Daises' contains BOTH flowers! The photos are of two 'Violet Spray' butter pats. Both were made by Haviland (Limoges, France) and both are marked BURLINGTON ROUTE. The round plate is decorated with transfers, and back markings date it to between 1894 and 1931. The square pat is hand painted, and dates from between 1888 and 1896. BOTH railroad china 'bibles'(McIntyre and Luckin) show an example of each pattern and describe the differences. McIntyre says Bauscher also made Violets & Daisies for the CB&Q. Luckin includes Shenango as a manufacturer of Violets & Daisies. Thank you for this opportunity to clarify. Link 1  Posted Sunday, April 21, 2019 by JMS

A. Wasn't searching for it, but came across some useful sample photos on a site (Link 1). Link 1  Posted Monday, April 22, 2019 by ShastaRoute

A. Shasta Route, I found the same website and noticed it used the same word "similar" to describe Violet Spray and Violets & Daisies, which I personally feel is confusing, because the two designs are dramatically different (daisies in one, and not in the other). The pictures are excellent - (the gravy boat is either Buffalo or Syracuse and is going to have a daisy on the side that doesn't show) but I wish I could contact "Lolli" (does anyone know how?) because the "Drain" they show is from a 3-piece butter dish. There is an underplate the "INSERT" (the correct term) sits in and then a cover top. See Link 1 for an example. I do not know of any of these butter dishes made for railroad use - they have always been strictly Haviland backmarked with no RR markings, so not "railroad china" (but this doesn't mean there never were - I just may not have seen any RR marked, and they would be incredibly rare).  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by JMS

A. Here is an actual "Violets & Daisies" 3-piece butter dish set (at least I hope THIS link works): an underplate; an insert and a cover. Technically, since it is Haviland, it is their Schleiger No. 453 design for which the Haviland name was "Violet & Gray Daisy."  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, April 23, 2019 by JMS

 Q3616 Odd Tubular Lantern  I recently bought an oddball tubular lantern. Although it may not be railroad, perhaps someone might have some knowledge about it. It takes a standard tubular 'barn' size globe, and has unusual tapered vent fins that fit into the tubes. Also unusual is the way the lid hinges on one of the tubes. The smoke dome is marked 'A W PAULL / PATENTED', and I think the brass lid latch is marked 'J.P.S. SON & Co' with the 'J' being questionable. Online I found a reference to Joseph Paull Senior, brother of A.W.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, April 16, 2019 by MP92   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Try Link 1 for a google search that hopefully offers a whole bunch of leads. It appears Kirkman may sell workable parts for Paull lanterns too. Good luck !  Link 1  Posted Thursday, April 18, 2019 by JMS