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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:

 Q3557 Dietz No 3 globes  I recently acquired 2 large lantern globes. I was looking for any additional information that anyone may be able to provide for these 2 pieces. I did find some information on the one that is marked. Dietz No 3 New York USA. This one seems to have a purple tint to it. The other one is the same style but is not marked and it is clear. Any Idea how to authenticate this as I did notice on your site that fakes exist out there? Any help would be greatly appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, December 11, 2018 by Chuck D   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3556 ESRR Lantern  I recently acquired an old railroad lantern marked Dietz #6 on top and the letters ESRR on the rim. It also has a cast clear globe marked B&A. I cannot find any reference to what railroad this might be. Since Dietz #6 lanterns usually are associated with northeastern US lines, I thought it might be somewhere in that area. Thanks for your assistance.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, December 9, 2018 by BS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Are there any patent dates on the lantern? Joseph Gross's 'Trolley and Interurban Directory' shows ESRR for 'East Side RR' of Elmira, NY in 1896, merging with the West Side RR to have about 9 miles of track (see Link 1), ending up in the Elmira Water, Light, and Ry. Co. in 1900 with about 14 miles of track. The link makes it look as if the East Side RR in Elmira was not really an operating company, but only a shell for the West Side Co. The dates are not quite consistent with the 'Encyclopiedia of RR Lighting' which shows the No.6 lantern being introduced by Steam Gage and Lantern Co. ca. 1895 and not being a Dietz lantern model until they bought out SG&L in 1898, but its close. And it is certainly the territory where a Boston and Albany globe would have been available to replace whatever came with the lantern, which was the 'New York Central standard' and was sold until about 1920. There is also an East Side Street Railway in Brocton, MA, in 1896 but the initials don't quite match.  Link 1  Posted Monday, December 10, 2018 by RJMc

A. Empire State RR. This was a traction line in upper New York with a line from Syracuse to Oswego, and another disconnected line from Port Byron to Auburn. It folded for good in 1931 after control was acquired in 1922 by the Rochester & Syracuse Ry in 1922. Your lantern would fit in quite nicely in that time frame as it is a later #6 version. My information came from Hilton's "The Electric Interurban Railways in America", 1960. Posted Tuesday, December 11, 2018 by BobF

A. Yes, Empire State is a much better fit, and was an operating company likely to have lanterns for more mileage and more years. Gross' directory lists its initials as ES RRCO but that would have ended up as ESRR, as on your lantern. Posted Tuesday, December 11, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3555 Builder's Plate  I was wondering if anyone had any information this item I have? My father had recently given me this Builder's plate from his old timer farmer friend. He was using it as a base for tractor jack; that's why there are 4 extra holes in it. It's cast iron and measures 7 inches x 11 inches. Any information would be appreciated and thank you for your time.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, December 9, 2018 by Cory   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3554 St. Louis Southwestern Late Buckle  No maker mark was added to the reserve (blank rectangle). Sundance Portland might have carried railfan stock similar to such items, but I do have a bagged Campbell 66 truckers buckle with this kind of urethane (?) fill material which might date back to '70's-'80's period (assuming it's not another forced fan-collectible). The enameled central badge may have been used on other items. Safety award? Corporate catalogue? Authentic? Anyone seen another one surface?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, December 8, 2018 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3553 Fake PRR Keys  Does anyone know the story behind these keys? They are obviously fakes, and appear to be crudely made and stamped. Were they some sort of mass produced novelty with this particular division and number?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2018 by Joseph C.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Looks like these are recent castings, including the bits. The holes look so narrow I doubt they'd fit an actual lock. Posted Friday, December 7, 2018 by da

A. Turns out I picked up one of these the other day -- essentially identical to the ones you show (where did so many turn up at once?) DA is correct; the center hole is bored too narrow and off-center to work the relatively modern locks which use the same pattern which continued in use up thru Penn Central and Conrail and continue in use today in some places. This pattern has been in use for a very long time, beginning on PRR probably in the early 20th Century or even earlier; keys from that era are somewhat smaller. The earlier locks had to have a smaller pin.  Posted Friday, December 7, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3552 Double Stamped RR Key?  I'm new to collecting and purchased a few RR keys to get started. Can you tell me about this key in general and why is it double stamped? Thank you!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, December 4, 2018 by Jeff B   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. SP Co. is for the Southern Pacific railroad. CS 45 refers to the lock series the key opens. See prior Q 2840 on this site, which explains "CS" stood for 'Common Standard' when many of the RR's in the West were all under one ownership, which decided to standardize all the various locks and keys bought by all of them to get quantity price reductions in buying all that stuff. The Link may get you directly to that question, otherwise put the Q number in the box at the left. Link 1  Posted Tuesday, December 4, 2018 by RJMc

A. Thank you for this helpful information. What can you tell me about the double stamp? Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2018 by JB

A. Looks like it may have been stamped same marking previously but ever so lightly that it was done over. Earlier stamping is so light it is hard to say. Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2018 by DC

 Q3551 Urbana Tin Table or Wall Lamp  I have a couple of Urbana flat bottomed tin with screw in P&A burner lamp. One has a greenish color. Does anyone know what that color is? I would like to restore these. Does anyone know if they were cab wall mount lamps? if so what kind of bracket and globe? Thanks.  Posted Monday, December 3, 2018 by David   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. A photo(s) would be a huge help. P&A (See the link) was Plume & Atwood - this company wasn't a major railroad supplier. Sorry I can't find more info about "Urbana" mark, apparently a stove works in Ohio (?). With no railroad markings on them, almost certainly these lamps are not railroad relics.  Link 1  Posted Monday, December 3, 2018 by jms

A. "Urbana" was a trademark of the Johnson Co., very prolific tinware manufacturer located in Urbana, OH. (See Link) They made tens of thousands of tinware items over decades, many for RR's as well as a wide variety of other industries. A picture is essential to even begin to sort out what kind of item you may have. The exact color of green (which was a common color for caboose interiors, among other places) may depend on what railroad used the lamps, if they are indeed of railroad origin.  Link 1  Posted Monday, December 3, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3550 Dietz Vesta Reproduction?  I have a lantern stamped DIETZ VESTA NEW YORK U.S.A. on the top. The glass is clear with the raised letters U.S.A. On the opposite side at the top of the glass is a very faint small round circle. I cannot make out what it says because the lettering is small and faint. The frame I think is aluminum. Also there are letters and numbers stamped: Patented NOV 8'27,APR-3 '28, DEC 25'28, MAY 4-20, S-10-42. Does this mean it's a reproduction? Thank you  Posted Saturday, December 1, 2018 by FB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The first three are patent dates, but the S-10-42 means it was manufactured at Dietz's Syracuse NY plant in October of 1942. Hope this helps. Sounds OK to me. Posted Saturday, December 1, 2018 by BobF

A. The USA on your globe probably stands for US Army. See prior Q 2690 about U.S. Army lanterns. The Vesta was a Government-wide standard lantern for decades, and probably hundreds of thousands would have been produced in 1942 in the middle of World War II. Vestas were used not only for RR service but for a general lantern in tents, etc.,in the US as well as shipped to many overseas countries with US forces and exported as military aid to their governments. Check the lantern frame with a magnet; most were plated steel which might appear to be aluminum. The Link is to an article elsewhere on this RRiana site, all about Dietz Vestas. Link 1  Posted Saturday, December 1, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3549 Utica & Black RIver Baggage Tag  Thanks in advance for your help. I’m looking for input as to the authenticity of this U&BRRR baggage tag. It was found in or near Syracuse NY on a key ring with the other tag pictured. These were part of an estate. Any input on the tag, positive or negative, would be greatly appreciated. I can take bad news. :-)   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, November 29, 2018 by JW   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Note that the back of the U&BRRR tag has a disclaimer that limits the railroad's responsibility to $100 in case of loss. Posted Thursday, November 29, 2018 by JW

 Q3548 RR Item?  Is this from a railroad?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, November 29, 2018 by RW   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Looking closely at the pic. there seem to be directional arrows, pointing to the right behind the top yellow lens and pointing down behind the bottom lens which looks blue -- but might display more greenish. How do those arrows display if you put a light bulb behind the lenses? To the front, thru the lenses, or to the rear of the unit? Some transit lines, such as the 'heavy rail' lines in Washington, Boston, Chicago, BART etc or the 'light rail' streetcar lines in Boston might use a signal like this to indicate routing but most main line RR's do not use arrows.  Posted Friday, November 30, 2018 by RJMc

A. Possibly a coincidence, but there is a General Railway Signal dwarf signal for sale on an auction site (try the Link); it appears to have the same color pattern of yellow on top, red in the middle, and blue below as your light, at least for the right-side three lights of the six in the signal. Offhand, I have never seen that pattern anywhere else, but the blue light indicates it might have been a special arrangement for a shop or yard area.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, December 4, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3547 Armspear Lantern   I recently got an Armspear steel guard lantern from my grandmother and had a couple of hopefully simple questions: First it's missing the globe; does it take the 5 3/8 tall lantern globe? I am hoping it's this one and not a super rare globe. Secondly, it has some larger holes in the fount, I haven't seen any listed online. I was thinking about soldering repair plates over them, but I'm worried about the fibrous material inside the fount. Is it cotton or something else safe or asbestos fibers? Thank you for any help,  Posted Tuesday, November 27, 2018 by Mike    Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Since the RR's standardized almost everything, it may not be the exact globe you mention, but it won't be super-rare. The material inside the founts was usually cotton waste material or batting, definitely flammable. Although hotly debated (including on this site) removing the wadding creates no problem unless you planned to swing the lantern a lot (as in signalling to a distant locomotive). In that case the sloshing of the liquid fuel was a problem that the wadding helped to eliminate. But otherwisee the lantern will operate just fine without it.  Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2018 by RJMc

A. If you don't intend to use it just display it, why bother closing the holes. Is it railroad marked with a name, if not it is just a railroad type lantern used by many others. A picture would have helped. Posted Wednesday, November 28, 2018 by DC

A. Thank you both for the replies, as for the fiber, I imagine the subject of keeping it original or not is debated quite a bit. Honestly, I will probably put it back in after repairing it. I am glad to hear it sounds like the globe is the "standard" size, I figured it was but wanted some confirmation. As for the repairs, I never said I didn't intend to use it, in fact that is the reason i'm asking about a new globe and fixing the holes. I would love to be able to light it up on occasion and think about my grandparents, they use to loan this lantern out to schools and scouts for displays and the like but never had it operational, I'm sure they would have loved to see it lit again. Also it is marked for the C&O railroad, and sorry for no images, I didn't really think about taking the time to add them. Thanks again Mike Posted Friday, November 30, 2018 by mike

 Q3546 DM&I Ry Marking  I have an Adlake Non-sweating Marker Lantern with D.M. & I RY. tag on it. Who is this? Duluth Missabe does not show this combination. Thanks  Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by CN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Duluth Missabe and Ironton Ry Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by DC

A. The above answer is incorrect; there never was a Duluth Missabe and Ironton Railway.  Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by JEM

A. Please provide a picture of this Adlake marker lamp tag; it would help in trying to determine what exactly is going on here. Thanks.  Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by JEM

A. Send a photo to this email address and we'll post it. Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by Web Editor

A. Here's a photo of the marking. Link 1  Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by CN

A. Thanks for the photo. The tag looks real, so no problem there. I have a similar Adlake marker lamp with a tag reading D.M.&I.R.Ry.(also has a "LEFT" tag on the other side). My guess is that the tag you have is a production "mistake", perhaps done when the tag producer misread the name of the railroad and left out an "R". Or the tag department got a production list with this error on it. Anyway, you have a great Duluth Missabe & Iron Range Railway marker lamp!  Posted Monday, November 26, 2018 by JEM

A. In the pic, it looks to me that the tag would not have fit on the lamp if that final 'R', period, and extra space were in there, making the tag considerably longer, unless they went to a smaller lettering font. So the 'R' for Railway did double duty, so to speak, and anybody from the DM&IR looking to recover their lamp would not have had a problem proving ownership.  Posted Monday, November 26, 2018 by RJMc

A. RJMc: The D.M.&I.R.Ry. tag on my lamp looks like it is the same length as the pictured tag and has the same size font, but the "D" on mine is more to the left; the left tag margin is closer to the "D". Also mine does not have a large capital "Y", it has the half size capital "Railway Y" so often seen on lanterns, and so takes up less room.  Posted Monday, November 26, 2018 by JEM

 Q3545 RR Use?  I'm wondering if this large item is related to railroading? I'm not familiar with lanterns with one side red glass and the other side green glass.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by No Name   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Almost certainly a marine navigation marker light -- used in harbors, rivers, canals, etc, but also used on railroad bridges over navigable waterways.  Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3544 Utah Ry Key  I recently acquired this key and am having second thoughts about authenticity. While barrel and bit shows wear, lettering is sharp and clear. There are no markings on reverse. Any help would be appreciated   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, November 18, 2018 by TML   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. "Authenticity" is a very difficult to define concept in RR keys. As to this particular key, I note that this type of blank was commonly sold in lock shops, often with or without having been cut or marked. The joint where the ring joins the barrel is notoriously weak on this type of blank, causing the ring to break away if stressed (such as when used on a rusty, frozen switch lock!) Also, as you note, altho the barrel and bit 'show wear' that effect can be created very quickly with agressive wire brushing. The inner chamfer of the hole in the ring shows no wear from having been on a key ring. Although all of these points raise questions, none of them are definitive as to whether some RR, or railroader, might still have used the key.  Posted Sunday, November 18, 2018 by RJMc

A. In regard to your Utah key, a quick google search reveals the company was organized in 1912. Your key post [pre] dates the company by many years, being tapered. I imagine someone had a blank tapered key and decided to mark it UTAH RY and pass it off to some unsuspecting customer. Here's a photo [link] of a known authentic UTAH RY key, front and back to compare. Hope this helps. If a guy can do any research before buying any somewhat rare/pricey item it sure would help. Possibly you can return the key for a refund?  Link 1  Posted Thursday, November 22, 2018 by Jim G

A. The tapered blanks/keys were being sold in lock shops many decades after 1912 (I bought some as late as the 1970's; I haven;t looked lately. And most RR's used more than one bit pattern; one for switches, one for shop 'rip' tracks, one for signal, etc., so the different bit pattern isn't conclusive, either. So the answer remains the same: all that makes RR use much less likely, but can never completely rule it out, either.  Posted Friday, November 23, 2018 by RJMc

A. Thank you for the info. I guess I'll chalk this one up to a learning experience. Posted Saturday, November 24, 2018 by TML

A. An additional note for info: looking closely at the pic, the key surface has a somewhat 'satiny' look to it. That is a result of using a power wire brush on the brass or bronze, which leaves a very fine pattern of scratches, and is an indicator (as already mentioned) that what looks like 'wear' on the corners isn't really wear from use but material removed by the wirebrushing. Polishing (NOT being recommended for older items with patina) with any kind of liquid or paste, such as Brasso, doesn't leave this kind of finish.  Posted Sunday, November 25, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3543 Possible Logo for c. 1890's Iron Mountain Route?  I've covered everyone of their lettering styles I could find on-line. This has no exact match but seems to fit the road, which relied heavily on their nickname for advertising. An extra-wide 'R' is occasionally used symbolically to replace the word Route. Notice it is shifted upwards from the center point where 'I' and 'M' cross, as though to set it out. Anyone want to give it a shot at proving my guess?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, November 16, 2018 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The RR Flatware guide doesn't show any marked pieces for the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway. While this line was known by the nickname "Iron Mountain Route" I don't think they would have used anything with just "I M R" monogram. It probably would have been spelled out so folks knew what the marking actually was. The odds are probably 5% in favor of a RR marking, but 95% in favor of it just being a person's initials, or maybe some kind of institution (Rectory, etc) Posted Saturday, November 17, 2018 by DA

A. This is Royal pattern a twin sister to Cecil used by both SP and Chicago & Alton (two roads connected to Iron Mountain by a short lived service). The monogram is stamped (commercial ware) not engraved by a jeweler for personal (household) useage. Those other lines also used initials on their flatware, not always spelled out names. Royal was also used by Palace Hotel, at the extreme end of the run of this Pacific line. It might all seem coincidental, but neither pattern seems to be heavily used in commercial ware applications. "Iron Mountain Route" was the name under which china was ordered and marked, not the St. Louis Iron Mountain & Southern name nor initials. Their nickname was essentially their official identity. The three letters are often exploded in size (compared to the other letters) in their paper items, so it would not be odd to use IMR for a monogram. They had china and thus had to have silverware, so where is it? Have we simply been searching for the wrong thing in the past? And then again, it could be something like the law firm of Dewey, Cheatem, & Howe! Posted Saturday, November 17, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. BTW..MoPac was essentially weilding power here. During this era, the growth of holding companies and consolidation of minor roads often led to terms like Route, Lines, or System being used to subjugate the actual legal identities of component lines. The ultimate goal was make everything a branch of a single tree through a gradual process of sublimation that could avoid the wrath of the anti-monopoly forces. Replacing formal names with imagery of routes etc. was good psychological marketing. Thus, Santa Fe Route, Ogden Route, Shasta Route, Sunset Route, Aransas Pass Route, New York Central Lines, Pennsylvania Lines, Northwestern Lines, on and on. In short, plenty of reason to keep the Route in Iron Mountain while dumping the alphabet soup (preferably not on the passengers). Posted Saturday, November 17, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. "Santa Fe Route, Ogden Route, Shasta Route, Sunset Route, Aransas Pass Route"....but none of these roads used anything marked SFR, OR, SR, APR....etc etc...................I've never heard of one "Route" line using the "R" as an initial for marking their property. Posted Saturday, November 17, 2018 by DA

A. Correction - There is one line that uses the initials - Salt Lake Route has buttons marked S L R. But not a monogram. Posted Saturday, November 17, 2018 by DA

A. Full words like System and Route that we see on china, glassware or hollowares might be too big for the blank reserve on flatware.Try that modernized "BR" for Burlington Route as put on flatware. You are correct...not a single monogram form, but they were only working with two letters and had the space for side-by-side. Just looking at the 1893 map (OG pg. 585) one might see the long full name and try to find a way to save the big I & M while dispensing with the rest. Since they already long called themselves Route, the solution would have been simple...IMR. The monogram form would just be more appealing to the eye and appropriate in that era. The problem is that when we get used to expecting things to follow a format that has been identified, we tend to overlook the fact that railroads (and other transportation companies) were also very internally creative prior to Madison Avenue. And even though there were many partnership arrangements, numerous roads were still somewhat independent in making decisions before things became highly centralized going forth into the 20th century. Expect the unexpected applies greatly the further you look back. Posted Sunday, November 18, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. And just to harp on the odd "R" a bit more, try to view it not as a letter but rather as a pictogram. Set out in the background, it appears like map lines with a circuitous loop and branches, sort of like a route. (Might also think about Santa Fe's much later idea for boxcar decoration.) Would the IMR people see things this way. Of course. They had already used an oval panel in printed literature showing a mountain in the background to convey the idea of Iron Mountain. Little doubt they were very image oriented in their perception even back then. The Romans were pulling these tricks long before us. Posted Sunday, November 18, 2018 by Al Donnelly

A. Might also consider this from china...the Stagecoach design on Shenango supplied by Marshall Field & Co. for the Dan Healy diner #5143 that was identified from photos in a ticket agent publication concerning the new dining car for the Pioneer Limited c.1926-7-8. On the stage is an element that may look like decorative scrolls, but is in fact a fancy "MR" monogram for Milwaukee Road, not seen anywhere else. [I'm certain as there is a clean sample platter in front of me.] So "R" was once used for "Road" and in monogram form. The collector who made the ID was well known to the people writing the china books. Posted Sunday, November 18, 2018 by ShastaRoute

 Q3542 Jacket Badge American Expeditionary Forces  What I know so far is that an American railroad executive was sent over in WWI to straighten out the transport mess. Though successful, many complaints came in that the railroad people he brought over were in less-than-military (civilian) attire. Could this be the type of badge issued during the period before they had to go more GI looking?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, November 16, 2018 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3541 Wagons-Lit Oval Dish  Mostorod is a region. Not clear who maker is. Wagons-Lit took over Cook's Nile Boat operations in the late '20's. Are we looking at ship china, or did this come as supplies for their railroad operations? (Richards-Ginori of Italy was one of the late era makers.)   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, November 16, 2018 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3540 Golden Spike Special Train Glass Trays  The one-shot special train used existing cars and was behind steam only over parts of the entire routing. Could these smoked glass commemoratives have been used as ashtrays on the train, or were they give-aways?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, November 16, 2018 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3539 SP Red Shovel  Made by SturdE Steel. Will try to get those model & patent numbers later. 'SP Co.' embedded in wood handle. Additionally, 'SP LINES' stamped in metal neck. White worn lettering seems to read for 'SHOP' or 'SHOPS' at second word, but not definite. First word could be 'EUGENE', but something like 'COMPANY' or 'MACHINE' might center this better. Surfaced in Eugene Oregon very close to neighborhood north of main yards (old & new). Any take on possible use or equipment, particular shop, car equipment? Red paint from head to toe is a bit unusual.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, November 16, 2018 by ShastaRoute   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I have recently been told red shovels were used on Southern Pacific fire trucks. Checking a copy of the Mechanical Department yearbook & shop history, "A Moment In Time" 1986 Southern Pacific/Jostens, there is at least one old photograph of company fire trucks based at a system shop...Sacramento 1956. The West Oakland fire brigade is also pictured around 1920 with fire axes in hand. Posted Friday, December 7, 2018 by ShastaRoute

 Q3538 Monon Service Pins  Does anyone have any information concerning 25 year service medals for the Monon railroad? You can see on the top where a ribbon was attached but seems to have broken off. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2018 by Joe   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Did not find his name on the known employees list (c.1901-on) at You might contact them at the site. Did see mention of a 25 year "loyalty" pin, but this looks like 25 in engine (?) service, starting some 14 years after his original hire date...a long climb up the ladder to his final position. Locomotive engineer or fireman seems logical, but doesn't seem like you can rule out shop or roundhouse positions yet. Posted Friday, November 16, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. Did find on their list one Charles Ennis, a crossing watchman, who had recieved a 25 year medal. Looks like he hired first in 1873. Medal may have been issued in 1913, same era as yours. If his total time was 40 years or more, than the medal must be specific to time in his long served position. Would seem to be consistent with yours, but we don't know what that medallion looked like to see if each occupation had a specific design. Posted Friday, November 16, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. In 1901, ICRR issued to one Harry W. Booth, a Service Souvenir medallion for 4 years employment. Of course this is different, but it does show such items were known beyond Monon (for which we have no other samples yet). The two big questions there any kind of maker/supplier mark and why are the end date numbers struck out of place?...not necessarily a problem, but a bit of a hanging chad for authentication. A quick check of Baker (4th ed.) did not reveal any like piece back then. Posted Saturday, November 17, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. For 1888, Louisville Southern was leased to what became the future Monon. The lease was ruled wrongful in 1890, but if McDonald came that route and stayed with Monon, then this could just be a straightforward 25 years Monon service as read on the medal. His initial hire date might then be from another road which led him on to Louisville Southern service, whence he would have switched over with the lease. Posted Saturday, November 17, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. Stopped at Monon Connection Museum today. Showed them the item. Was told before pins Monon gave out medals for service awards. The Museum official said he has seen one other like this but it also had no ribbon but showed same marks where one was attached. He said railroad nickname was Monon long before the name was changed to Monon. John could be what he went by and had a different first name. Just a thought. Agree with comment that time was with different railroad(s) leading up to Monon name. No maker or supplier mark found. I will try and contact the Monon Historical Society for more information. Thanks Posted Saturday, November 17, 2018 by Joe

A. Looked through Monon Historical Soicety webpage and found a listing for a John McDonald, Engineer at Lafayette 1887? To 1/1/37 50 year service. Could very well be the owner of this medal. Have a screen shot but could not see how to post it. Posted a link and hope it worked. Link 1  Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2018 by Joe

A. Could it also be the same guy listed right above born 1857, becomes engineer 1880 (23 years old), enters Monon service 1887 (30 years old), ends service 1937( 80 years), dies 1942 (85 years)...could that have been possible? Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. 1899--Engineer Lew McDonald of Lafayette has four sons, all engineers:[link too long] Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. Engineer William Carl was one of the sons of Lewis W.. Born in 1860, died about this seems to fit time span for a brother of your John : Also found in Tippecanoe County obit. records another McDonald listed as "train accident" in 1867...this could all be an extended railroad family. Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2018 by ShastaRoute

A. This is definitely the guy. John, as dates above, was noted to have been laying off from Trains 5 & 6 at one point. William Carl actually died 1924, while Sylvanus was another. Posted Wednesday, November 21, 2018 by ShastaRoute

 Q3537 D&RG RR Globe  I have found a 5 3/8 clear globe marked at the top M E G Co. 2, and cast in to a square panel is D&RGW RR. On the back is etched in all caps safety first. I’ve seen plenty of lanterns marked for D&RG RR but the DRGW seems to be a little harder to find.. Any idea what type or brand of lantern frame the RR was using when this type of globe was in use?  Posted Friday, November 2, 2018 by Rob   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3536 German Lantern Globe Use?  I have a question regarding a German Globe that I purchased. Would you be able to help me identify if this was possibly used on the railway in Germany? The globe has the mark of Albert Riegermann who is more known for his burners/dead flame lamps. This particular globe is for a Hot Blast Lantern. It has the red lens and then 3 other large bulbous areas of blown glass around the globe. This is very old, maybe from the early 1900’s. The lantern it is sitting in is NOT the correct lantern for this globe. I appreciate any thoughts you might have. Kind regards,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, November 1, 2018 by ML   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3535 Casey Lanterns  I've been studying the Keystone Lantern, and their Keystone Casey lanterns. Barrett's book mentions that they made RR lanterns for 50 different railroads, however I seem to only see PRR and B&O. Any readers out there have other RRs buying the Casey's?? Thanks.  Posted Saturday, October 27, 2018 by Jeff   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hi - I had two very nice Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad Keystone Casey lanterns, but I sold them last year.  Posted Saturday, October 27, 2018 by JEM

A. On this very web site you can peruse a list of railroads that used Keystone Casey lanterns. See Link 1. "Following are known railroads that used marked "Casey" railroad lanterns manufactured by the Keystone Lantern Company. Our thanks to everyone who has sent in new markings! Please see copyright information and other comments in the footnotes." Link 1  Posted Saturday, October 27, 2018 by JEM

 Q3534 Dressel Short Lantern Date?  I think I have one of the Dressel 'Heavy Duty' short lanterns. Noticed that your description seemed rather certain that it would have a patent number on the bottom of 2157081. Mine says 'PATAPLDFOR'. Does anyone know the manufacturing date of this lantern?  Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by Charles   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Nice find !! The patent number you mention dates from the mid-1930s. Actually Google searches now work pretty well - go to the google search field and type in US Patent 123456 (or whatever the number is) and hopefully results will be easy. So you know your lantern has to have been made AFTER this date. How long this model was made, may be stated in one of the lantern collector guides such as Barrett's Encyclopedia. Hopefully another poster will add some more specific information.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by JMS

A. OK I did some further digging. If the PATAPLDFOR applies to the number 2157081, the patent website says (if I am reading correctly) that US2157081A was granted on 1939-05-02. It typically takes a long time (years?) from when a patent is applied for and is granted. So this would seem like your lantern was made before the "Granted" date. NOW, did Dressel change its dies upon the patent being granted?  Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by JMS

A. Another thing I should have done - on the Link I provided, it says HAND LANTERN Filed March 24, 1936 2 Sheets-Sheetl INVENTOR 3 M Wa/ ATTORNEY y 1939- A. MENNA 2,157,081 meaning the patent was filed in 1936. Interestingly, this patent apparently was not for a brand new type of lantern, it was for a new design that would make improvements on an existing one: "This invention relates to improvements in hand lanterns and the like. More particularly the invention relates to globe holders of the type adapted to engage the upper end of the globe of the lantern to hold the globe in position. " So it looks like you may be able to date your lantern between 1936 and 1939, at least that is the simple conclusion.  Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by JMS

A. I am getting confused here. Charles says his lantern DOES NOT have patent number 2157081. It is only other people who have brought that number into the discussion. Folks I know who retired from the US Patent Office assure me that Patent Numbers exist ONLY AFTER the patent is gtanted. There is a Patent Application (or 'Applied For') number, but the application number and the final patent number are NOT the same, and the 'applied for' number might never be stamped into hardware. Most lantern manufacturers had all kinds of patent doings going on all the time to try to gain an advantage against very tough competition. So the term 'PatApldFor' on this lantern could refer to any of many patents Dressel was pursuing when it was made, and may have no relation at all to the 215 number mentioned. And since patent protection is normally good for only 17 years, the lack of the number on a lantern employing the patented improvement may mean it was made AFTER the patent expired, not before.  Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by RJMc

A. My apologies, RJMc, I re-read Charles' question and indeed misinterpreted it. I just did a search and didn't understand that it appears he may be referring to earlier questions (Q1797, Q980 and maybe others). You are absolutely correct about the 'Applied For' numbering being different than the numbers that are finally granted. I did look up 2157081, and the link I found does give the history including the application date, but isn't clear about the applied for number. Indeed, as you point out, probably more often than not some of the patent information/numbers stamped on lanterns and other relics may refer to a part or piece, not the entire relic. However, Link 1 shows the number 2157081 apparently does apply to an entire lantern. So the question becomes WHICH final patent number the PATAPLDFOR on Charles' lantern applies to - and here is where I erroneously surmised -- it COULD be 2157081, which should date the lantern before the date the patent was granted, BUT as you correctly point out, PATAPLDFOR could refer to some other piece or part for which a patent had been applied (such as a burner or fount or frame design, etc.) and THAT part was awaiting a final granted number. You're absolutely correct about the process involved, thank you for clearing up my less than adequate comments.  Posted Saturday, October 27, 2018 by JMS

 Q3533 PRR Adlake Kero Info?  I recently picked a vintage PRR marked lantern which I cannot positively identify. It is marked as follows: Dome: PRR (within keystone logo); Globe: 'C' with nx letters inside and PRR etched to glass; Burner: Dressel Arlington NJ; Bottom: Adlake-Kero 444 U.S.A. 1415633, 1415634, 1415635, 1660194 CANADA 1921 - 1923 Pats Pending. I believe it may be rare, but it seems to have variations of the models identified in your site. Any assistance in positively identifying it would be greatly appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by JC   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Other responses? I don't think this is a terribly scarce lantern. PRR/keystone is Pennsylvania Railroad. I dont have a picture of the bottom but I would guess 444 is the date code, made during the fourth quarter of 1944. The Cnx is the maker mark, for Corning Glass.  Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by JMS

A. Here is a link to some PRR Kero lanterns that have sold recently on eBay.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by JMS

 Q3532 Lantern Info Needed  I found this old lantern in my parents' basement while going through the estate. I can’t find any indication of a maker or RR but I also can’t figure out how to open it to see if that might be on the inside somewhere. I tried pressing the obvious clip to open the lid but that did not work so maybe it is just rusted or welded shut... Anyway, I'm wondering if you have any idea who may have made it and the approximate age? In my searches, I have not yet seen a bell bottom lantern with a cage like this. At least, I think this may be a bell bottom style. Correct me if I am wrong. Thanks for any input you may have and be willing to share!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2018 by JD   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. If the clip that releases the bell bottom is brass try cleaning it, you may find manufacturer name or patent date. Depressing thumb latch should enable you to swing the top open. Doubt you will find any information inside other than a name on brass wick holder burner. Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by DC

A. Hello JD,I believe that this is a very early Adams and Westlake model lantern and many of these had their name and patent data on the very bottom center of the bellbottom.Take a look and gently clean this center area and my guess is that you will find your answer.There is always the possibility that the bell bottom assembly was switched from another mfr's lantern and this may not hold true in your case.Good luck.DJB Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by DJB

A. Thanks so much for the info! After some cleaning and looking at the bottom center under a magnifying light we were able to make out the Adams and Westlake. The dates are very hard to read but there appear to be a few. I think the most recent may be something like August 25 or 26,1876? The one before that was 1873 I believe. JD Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by JD

A.  All US patents are issued on Tuesdays. August 25,1876 was a Friday, the 26th was a Saturday so a patent search on for those dates may not yield anything. Also I checked the Lantern Patent listing in "The Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Railroad Lighting,Volume One-The Railroad Lantern" and it does not show any lantern patents issued in 1876 and that seems odd.  Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by KM

A. Thanks KM I emailed another post with a photo of the bottom this morning in hopes that more info could be gleaned from that. Not sure when that will be posted but maybe today. Now I am wondering if it could be 1873 or 1875. The previous date is very clear. May 20, 73 JD Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by JD

A. Wondering if anyone can help me nail down or make an educated guess on the final Patent Date and also the other wording THE ADAMS AND WESTLAKE (LANTERN?) and also opposite that looks to me like UNDER ….. NING? or WING? PAT? The last date I can read clearly is May 20, 73. The one below center looks like it might be Aug 28, 73 or 75? Any other input after viewing the bottom would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!  Link 1  Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by JD

A.  Try US Patent 139030 granted to Thomas Smith of Cleveland on 5/20/1873. The drawing in the patent shows bail ears which are formed from the vertical guards. It looks like your lantern may have those. Try #142134 granted to William Westlake on 8/26/1873 for an adjustable globe holder.  Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by KM

A. See Q1966 in the Archives. That lantern has the adjustable globe holder that I mentioned above. Does your lantern have that pin arrangement in the top that allows globes of different heights to be used? Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by KM

A. by the way 5/20/1873 and 8/26/1873 are both Tuesdays. Totally off topic. Also on 5/20/1873 Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis were granted patent number 134121 for an improvement in men's pants that soon was known as blue jeans.  Posted Thursday, October 25, 2018 by KM

A. Thanks KM Yes it has the bail ears formed from the vertical guards. But no, it does not have the adjustable globe holder feature - which is too bad. So does that mean the top is not original to this lantern? Or could there be another explanation? I finally figured out the other wording - UNDER FOLLOWING PAT (duh) - or maybe there is more after PAT? Interesting about Levi Strauss. JD  Posted Friday, October 26, 2018 by JD

A.  The adjustable globe holder may have been an option which was not installed on every lantern and maybe they did not remove the patent information from the bottom. Or it is the wrong patent, but there is too much circumstantial evidence to reach that conclusion. Check out that 1907 Adlake catalogue that is available elsewhere on this site and see if the globe holder is still available as an option. I don't think that someone changed the top. That said keep in mind that larger railroads did have lantern repair shops that did maintenance like that. Posted Friday, October 26, 2018 by KM

A. Thanks KM Really appreciate all the info. FYI Did not see a mention of the adjustable globe holder in the 1907 catalog. Posted Friday, October 26, 2018 by JD

 Q3531 Adlake & Kero #300 burner problem  I just got this lantern last week, and I cannot get the burner to securely twist into the fount. I have thought several times that I did it correctly until I insert it into the lantern - when I turn the knob to adjust the wick the burner pops out. The slightest touch loosens it. I am afraid to light it for fear of setting the lamp oil in the pot on fire and not knowing how to put it out! The cotton is still in the oil pot, by the way, if that makes any difference. Getting a new wick wouldn't hurt, but the current wick turns up and down freely so I don't think that's a factor. I see the two small openings in the oil pot, and the indentations on the burner, but do not know exactly how they are supposed to line up. Or is it possible that the oil pot opening is slightly bent or warped? What's the 'trick' to getting this on correctly! [Follow-up]: I took the cotton out of the oil pot and found an O-ring with two knob like protrusions loose in there. So that solves the original mystery why I couldn't get the burner secure. The next question is can I somehow get that back in place, or so I simply need to find another #300 oil pot?  Posted Saturday, October 20, 2018 by JW   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I've never seen an O ring used to secure a burner to a any fount. I think someone had the same problem you have an jerry rigged an O ring in there so the burner would fit. Garden hose washers have protrusions on them. Wonder if someone used a cut down one and left 2 protrusions on it. I'd go to that well known auction site and just buy a new fount. Posted Sunday, October 21, 2018 by LC

A. Some burners were threaded into the fount with (in railroad terms) a very fine thread. For these it was definitely necessary not to 'twist' the burner in, but to start it carefully and screw it in involving at least several turns of thread engagement. Other lantern models (including some Adlakes) had a definite 'twist-lock' arrangement which they called 'bayonet catch' --see Link 1 to the archives here on the Q&A site -- which only required maybe 90 degrees of twist to seat securely, more or less like a cork. Without a pic, and without detailed checking of part no's. etc, it sounds to me that either you have a threaded=style fount on which the threads are worn out, or you have the wrong burner for that fount and somebody 'cobbled it together' as described above.  Link 1  Posted Sunday, October 21, 2018 by RJMc

A. I think the guys have ID'd your problem. The threads likely are stripped - manhandled by a previous owner, so they are useless and no way to repair. These burners/founts are fairly easy to come by - watch eBay - if you want to use this lantern you really should spring for a correct one that will be safe to use. Good luck !  Posted Sunday, October 21, 2018 by JMS

A. Thanks for the replies. Clearly there are no threads on either the oil pot or burner, and both are labeled #300. I am looking for a replacements, but would like to restore the original if possible. I think LC was right. Since the part is inside and I cannot get it out - I wonder if any type of glue would be safe to use. Guess nobody so far knows how it was manufactured, perhaps welded - but that is no longer an option. I have been trying to post pictures. I'll try again.  Posted Monday, October 22, 2018 by JW

A. JW, We don't allow posting images directly for security reasons and also because each image may have to be resized due to disk storage constraints. Send an image(s) directly to this email address [Email a Question link]. Please indicate the question number. Posted Monday, October 22, 2018 by web editor

A. Here are some photos. Link 1  Posted Monday, October 22, 2018 by JW

A. On digging out a couple of Adlake 300's I think I now understand your problem. The only thing that originally holds the 'bayonet catch' burner into the fount is two TRULY minuscule tabs that seem to have been made as part of the original stamping of the top plate of the fount; they protrude into the ID of the burner-mount hole (pic to follow later.) Those tabs are thinner and narrower than typical paper clip wire (!!!). Those two tabs engage 'L-shaped' slots in the burner base. Once those two tabs wear away, or corrode away, there is nothing holding the burner onto the fount, which I think is your situation. In fact, the fit of the original arrangement is not particularly tight and probably leaked some kerosene into the globe. Neither of the 300's I looked at have gaskets. I suspect somebody added the garden hose washer to yours to try to get a better seal when the tabs were still there; the upward stress caused by compressing the additional thickness of the gasket probably wore away or broke off your tabs. As to fixing the original, you could fabricate a flat ring, with tabs, and solder it on top of the existing top plate (after completely clearing the can of cotton and kerosene, if any). If you won't be using the lantern much, that new flat ring could be of flat copper or brass, or even a modified steel washer. Acquirng a replacement fount -- after checking to make sure its tabs are there and in good shape -- would be a much quicker solution and let you continue to use the existing burner, unless the 'L' slots in it are worn out in some way.  Posted Tuesday, October 23, 2018 by RJMc

A. Here's a photo to illustrate the response above. Link 1  Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by RJMc

A. What looks like a yellow horizontal smudge on the burner base in the pic, above the locking tab is the bottom of the groove the tab is supposed to engage to twist-lock the burner onto the fount.  Posted Wednesday, October 24, 2018 by RJMc

A. Here's a better photo to illustrate my response above. Link 1  Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3530 Light ID?  Can anyone identify this light and its purpose? It was donated to our RR museum with no information about it. The dimensions are about 7 inches diameter by about 3 inches depth. I am unable to view the back.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, October 11, 2018 by Steve   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. There are several good possibilities to consider. (1) A marker light from a caboose. See Link 1, note the two lights atop the cupola of an SP caboose. The red paint causes me to think of this. (2) The 'Emergency' flasher from a diesel locomotive. See Link 2; note the light centered between the '410' numberboards. (My apologies about the condition of the loco in the pic....but the light shows up clearly in this one!) (3) Some grade crossing warnings (wig wags, for example) may have had lights like this. (4) School busses also have warning lights similar to this.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Friday, October 12, 2018 by RJMc

A. See Link 1 for a good pic of a wig-wag crossing signal; even with red paint around the light! And, is it a strobe light, or an incandescent bulb? The strobe would be a strong indicator for the locomotive application.  Link 1  Posted Friday, October 12, 2018 by RJMc

A.  Take the light apart and photograph the bulb, the socket and also see if the voltage or bulb number is marked on the base of the bulb. That information is frequently a good clue about the usage of lights like these. A school bus or fire truck probably used a 12 volt bulb. Grade crossing flashers and locomotives would be different.  Posted Friday, October 12, 2018 by KM

 Q3529 Handlan Lamp Info?  I am interested in finding out the history of the lamp pictured here from your site. I have one just like it and I think it is quite rare. It is from the S.P.L.A.& S.L.R.R. I have done a lot of searching, but have found nothing else. I am wondering if anyone can tell me more about it? I am not looking to sell as this item has been in the family for many years.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2018 by Don A   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. That seems to be a somewhat updated version of the Prahm switch lantern. My 1900 MM Buck catalog shows an almost identical lantern on page 407. Handlan Buck followed MM Buck and early HB lanterns were essentially MM Buck models with updated maker lettering for the new company name. Those early HB lanterns were heavy and well constructed. Posted Tuesday, October 9, 2018 by BobF

A. See our page from the 1900 Buck catalog showing a Prahm lamp. Link 1  Posted Thursday, October 11, 2018 by Web Editor

 Q3528 Lamp Date?  I need to know the date of this lamp. It's made in England, but I can't find sentinal brand any where. Can you help me with it? Thanks in advance.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, October 7, 2018 by ER   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  I am not familiar with the Sentinal brand, but that lantern looks just like a Powerlight lantern that was made by Delta in Marion,Ind. Check the Flashlight Museum website for more information. It is not a railroad lantern, the delta lanterns were sold by neighborhood hardware store in the 50's,60, and maybe as late as the 1970's.  Posted Monday, October 8, 2018 by KM

A. Thankyou Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2018 by Er

 Q3527 Plate IDs?  I wonder if your or someone can help with these 3 plates. I can’t find any reference to which locomotives they are off. (1) Montreal Loco 58333 1918 (Worksplate MONTREAL LOCOMOTIVE WORKS LIMITED 58333 JANY 1918. Rectangular cast brass), (2) Lima USA 1427 1914 (Worksplate LIMA LOCOMOTIVE CORPORATION LIMA OHIO U.S.A No1427 1914. Rectangular cast brass), and (3) Canadian Locomotive 1880 1930 (Worksplate CANADIAN LOCOMOTIVE CO LTD KINGSTON, ONT No1880 1930. Diamond shaped cast brass). Thanks.  Posted Saturday, September 29, 2018 by Simon T.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. My Lima records indicate that 1427 was built for the UP as a 4-6-2 road # 184 Posted Saturday, September 29, 2018 by COD

A. 58333 is off Canadian National 4-6-2 # 5096, 1880 is off CNR 2-10-2 #4320 Posted Friday, November 23, 2018 by Robert Hedgecock

 Q3526 Lantern Manufacturer?  Can anyone ID the manufacturer of this lantern? This is one of the first styles to stump me. It reads Erie / Railroad No. 39. Also wondering approximate date, globe is embossed E.R.R. definitely one of the older ones. Thanks for any information.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, September 27, 2018 by AW   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. CT Ham Mfg Co. There should also be either a patent date of Dec 29 1893 or CT Ham Mfg Co stamped with the same date on the opposite side of the outer font enclosure from where the "snap" to hold the font assembly to the rest of the lantern is. Posted Friday, September 28, 2018 by BobF

A. The double vertical globe guard wires are characteristic of C.T. Ham lanterns. As far as I know, no other lantern manufacturer used double wires like this. Ham was in business by 1886, and in 1915 the business was sold to Dietz Lantern Company.  Posted Tuesday, October 2, 2018 by JEM

 Q3525 Lock Info?  I have a brass switch lock I'm trying to identify. It was inherited from my grandfather. He was not a railroader himself, but commuted for many years from McKeesport, PA to Pittsburgh on the B&O 'Doodlebug' commuter local. He had several pieces of B&O and P&LE railroadania that he had obtained over the questions asked. One of these is a brass switch lock with no identification except for a small '10' stamped on the top of the hasp. There are no manufacturer's or railroad identification anywhere. I have no key, but a P&LE key does not work; the key barrel outside diameter is greater than that for the mystery lock. My grandfather did not have contacts with any other railroads where he could acquire such equipment.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2018 by RW   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. As a rule, padlocks that were used by the railroad are marked with their initials. While these locks look like RR locks, they could been used for many purposes, including industry, or just by an individual who wanted a heavy padlock for his barn.  Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2018 by DA

A. A picture of the keyway shape would help, along with some size reference. Although it might not allow us to be certain, it could eliminate many possibilities. And in come cases, for less common applications (examples: toolhouse locks, signal box locks, interlocking equipment locks, and much earlier, car locks) RR's also used unmarked locks like this and often they were smaller than switch locks and had more complicated key patterns. And PRR was a major force in the Pittsburgh area as well as B&O and P&LE, not to mention the streetcar and interurban lines.  Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2018 by RJMc

A. Here's a photo of the keyway. Link 1  Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2018 by RW

A. This is a very common keyway. Good news: it will be easy to get a key to make the lock work; less-good-news; the keyway is so common it will likely not be possible to tie it to any user. These were even sold to the public by locksmiths, in hardware stores and even by mail order companies like Sears and Montgomery Ward. What size is the lock? These were made in sizes ranging from very small, less than 1" tall (!!) to very large, maybe 4 or 5" tall, and they all look virtually identical. It is very hard to tell from pictures which size the lock (and the keys) might be.I have been fooled by this and have purchased some on the Web that turned out to be the miniature size.  Posted Thursday, September 27, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3524 Lamp Use?  Can you tell me what this lamp was used for? Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2018 by Scott S.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Scott; What you have is an Order Board Lamp from the Santa Fe (AT&SF). The Santa Fe used this lamp body style for everything; Switch Lamps, Marker Lamps and Order Board Lamps. (apparently everything except locomotive class lamps) The lamps the Santa Fe used are variation of the Adlake number 63 Switch Lamp (Link 1), with a few general modifications across all the Santa Fe lamps and additional specific modifications for the particular use they were put to. (see; far below for details) The long vertical box shown in the third photo is open on the bottom and fits over a vertical blade on the frame of the order board; this holds the lamp firmly in place in the order board. Many order board lamps from other manufacturers mount in the same fashion; though the application on the Santa Fe lamps are unique for the No. 63 style lamps. – The two clear lenses illuminate the colors in the semaphore arms of the order board signal; one lens facing each direction up and down the track. – – Your lamp has been fitted with a 4.5 inch yellow lens, which was done after it left the railroad. That lens opening would have originally been blanked out with a metal disk, as only the two clear lenses (called “white” on the railroad) were used in order board lamps. – – There has been some discussion on here that the Santa Fe may have in fact acquired the forming dies for these lamps from Adlake and then made the lamps themselves in one or more Santa Fe shops, as they lack the Adlake marked cap and patent date badge, and apparently, no other style or brand of lamps were used on the Santa Fe. (again, other than class lamps) Note: some few Santa Fe lamps do show up with a marked Adlake cap, most though do not. – – A few more notes; many of these order board style lamps that turn up are painted silver. As Santa Fe order board masts were silver, when the mast got a fresh coat of silver paint, sometimes so did the lamp. I mentioned that these lamps are a variation of the Adlake Number 63 lamp (Link 1). The skirt around the bottom of the lamp, which says “Santa Fe” on it, is cast brass and riveted to the body. (some may be cast aluminum also) The skirt has eight evenly spaced indexing holes in it. A cast iron ring was fastened over the skirt, and pins in the iron ring fit into one or more of the indexing holes to keep the ring from moving, or rather, kept the lamp from rotating in the ring . The AT&SF used that same lamp body in at least three different applications; As a switch lamp, the iron ring held two vertical tubes to the lamp so that it could be mounted to a fork on top of the switch stand; as did the number 63 Adlake lamp. – As a marker lamp, the ring has two horizontal arms on it about 45º apart. One arm had the more modern mounting shoe on it for “modern” brackets found on the corners of cabooses, passenger cars and tenders. The other arm had an older shoe for older style brackets which consisted of a long narrow vertical slot in a metal plate which was again mounted on the corners of equipment. On the marker version, the ring also had a spring loaded knob that actuated the positioning pin in the ring, you would pull out the knob, turn the lamp in the ring to the correct display position and let go of the knob and its attached pin, which would fit into one of the indexing holes in the skirt and lock the lamp in place in that position. – As an order board lamp, the third style of ring was used as shown in the photo in this question. – This was an ingenious design; one basic lamp body serving three different functions, just by changing out that iron ring. – – Do be VERY careful of those clear lenses! They are 4&1/8th inch diameter, and clear ones are virtually impossible to find!! ---- …. Red Beard  Link 1  Posted Friday, September 28, 2018 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. OH, also; Please don't repaint this fine lamp. It is in excellent original condition and should be preserved as is! (...with a tip of the hat to TE and LC) ---- .... Red Beard Posted Saturday, September 29, 2018 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Touche Red Beard :). Posted Saturday, September 29, 2018 by LC

A. OK.......I could tolerate leaving this one "as is." So see.....I'm not a total cad who's bent on refurbishing everything. Rest assured that half of my collection will be left alone as I have so many other things to take care of. TE  Posted Sunday, September 30, 2018 by TE

A. TE;, I hear that about having so much other stuff to take care of. -- I have over a dozen lamps I had sandblasted decades ago and never have gotten around to repainting (talk about an extreme way to "clean" up a lamp!)I soooo wish I'd never done that! They'd look much better today if I'd just left them in that 'fresh off the tracks' grime LOL ---- .... Red Beard  Posted Sunday, September 30, 2018 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

 Q3523 Lantern ID Needed  Can anyone ID this lantern for me: Bell Bottom, Tin Top, Sangster-type Pinch Pot, Extended Base #39 Size Globe, Odd unmarked Round-Wick Burner (similar to a Union Ratchet Burner which appears to have been with the lantern a long time. A few makers used those little side loops for attaching the Bail. Lantern has no markings visible anywhere. Have not seen another like it, nor similar photo in a book. Any ideas? Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2018 by GW   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3522 Teapot Finial  I found a Lenox teapot with silver-soldered lid marked with initials for the CMStP&P Railroad. Lid has an interesting finial, and I cannot figure out what it means. Is it a Railroad Logo, or something else entirely?? Thank you!!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, September 23, 2018 by John   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hello John,This finial is basically a stylized version of an Indian headdress representing the native American "Hiawatha"after whom the Milwaukee Road trains were named.There may be another explanation but that's the one I have heard over the years. DJB Posted Monday, September 24, 2018 by DJB

 Q3521 Adlake Gas Lamp   I have this lamp that looks like it is gas powered as opposed to kerosene. Does anyone have any info on this type of Adlake lamp?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, September 19, 2018 by CL   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The lens to concentrate the light makes this look suspiciously like a gas-powered theater floodlight or footlight source, or projector source, with the white cylinder being a gas mantle, or possibly a limelight source.  Posted Thursday, September 20, 2018 by RJMc

A. I think RJMc is on to something. If you look closely at the Adlake cap and the rest of the lamp body, you will notice that the finish is completely different from one to the other; indicating that they do not belong together. Another clue would be the screws holding the cap onto the rest of the lamp. I have never seen an Adlake lamp where the cap was screwed on; always riveted. My guess is that lamp is not Adlake, but rather, a previous owner needed a cap and slapped the Adlake one onto this lamp as a convenient fix. ---- .... Red Beard Posted Thursday, September 20, 2018 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Right...this is a 'mix and match' situation. The cap refers to the Adlake 'Non Sweating Lamp' which (as discussed at some length at several places around the website here)is a very specific group of patented design features for kerosene-burning lamps. None of those features are present in this lamp, and don't look like they ever were present. Gas mantle lamps, compared with kerosene lamps, burn extremely cleanly and so didn't need 'non-sweating'; plus the body of this lamp looks like it was for an indoor application.  Posted Thursday, September 20, 2018 by RJMc

A. To add a nail to the coffin - The picture shows the Non-Sweating top screwed down with actual hardware screws to the frame underneath. These were never fastened to railroad lamp frames in this manner. Indeed, it's attached to an unrelated frame!  Posted Thursday, September 20, 2018 by JMS

A. This is a typical Adlake lamp case as used on signals over here in the UK , the body top and screws holding the top on are 100% right. The ones over here were always oil lamp with a separate interior. Rgds Simon GW Railwayana Auctions Posted Sunday, September 30, 2018 by ST

 Q3520 Bell Info?  I recently acquired a 14 inch bell that I believe should be stationary. Is there an adjustment I can make to straighten the yoke in the cradle? I would like to align this if possible. I was told that it was straight up and down but a trip on its side for delivery caused it to stick. I have tried a few things but am unable to straighten it and I don’t want to damage it. Any thoughts on this? adjustments? Thank you for your time.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, September 13, 2018 by Toby   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Nice bell but it's not stationary. The fact it moved in its cradle during shipment proves this. Assuming you already tried WD40, liquid wrench etc., have you tried heating the yoke/cradle areas with a torch? Auto mechanics do it to loosen parts (called a "smoke wrench" in the trade). I don't think muscling it back would damage it either as it looks well built. Posted Friday, September 14, 2018 by LC

A. THe bell was definitely not designed to be stationary, but in later years many were, using one or another kind of air-operated clapper instead of swinging the bell. Before any thought of a torch, I would take a medium-size bar and slip it between the hanger and the top of the bell (maybe with some padding) and apply leverage, gentle at first and then stronger as needed, to get the bell to move upright. It looks to me that some of the new paint on the hanger may have gotten into the bearings and jammed them, probably only a little. Some WD-40, PB Blaster, or even paint remover around those bearings might help to free them up, if the lever discussed above doesn't do the trick. When the bell was in daily use by swinging, those bearings would have had 'zirc' grease fittings (similar to used on a lot of automobile fittings), and applying grease would be another way to help free it up. I can't quite tell if the pins sticking out of the hinge area may be those fittings.  Posted Friday, September 14, 2018 by RJMc

A. My guess is rust is the real culprit. I’d go with the WD-40 or 3 in 1 oil before I'd try the torch. Another better lubricant is Militec available at your local gun shop. The bad news is that it is about twice the price of WD-40 but it works like a top. Posted Sunday, September 16, 2018 by Ex Sou Ry

A. Thank you for your ideas. Ok, so I have used wd40, blaster and a silicon lube with no luck. It still will not budge. I have bolted the base to a 2x8 and tried putting a strap around the bell to winch it. No luck. I placed the bell on its side and tried to move the base. So far nothing has worked to straighten or get it to move at all. I am thinking about putting a 90 degree galvanized pipe elbow over the nuts on top with a long pipe in the elbow for leverage.  Posted Monday, September 24, 2018 by Toby

 Q3519 Lamp ID Info Needed  Ever since I inherited these two lamps from a family member I have tried to figure out some information on them, to no avail. I cannot find one on Google or Ebay just like it at all. I know they are Adlake since it says so on the top. There are no other markings. It has two glass lens, one clear and the other red. It has no handle and any indication that it ever had one. There is a 'door' that opens by lifting up for changing the lens, I assume and filling the oil can or replacing the wick. Could you help me the identification of my lamp? Thank you for anything you can help me on.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, September 13, 2018 by Rick F   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Adlake used the same basic designs to make lamps similar to this for all kinds of purposes before all kinds of vehiceles got all-electric lamps. Possibilities include early automobiles, buses, delivery or farm trucks, and some railroad maintenance 'speeders' or motor cars used lamps similar to this.  Posted Friday, September 14, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3518 RR Item ID?  Can you identify this extremely heavy item( steel or iron,)? I would like to know if it's railroad related? If so might it be a collectible? thanks very much!!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2018 by Gloria P   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is one end of a railroad rail, where it was joined to an adjacent rail in the track. This piece would have been sawed off from a rail which begain as 39 feet long. The larger hole in the middle (web) of the rail is where one of the bolts passed thru to hold the plates which join two rails together in the track. Each rail end at such joint has a minimum of 2, and usually 3 such holes and bolts to secure the joint. The smaller holes at what is the top of the rail ('the head') were to make electrical jumper connections between the two rails, usually to carry signalling currents which do things like make sure the grade crossing signals, and traffic control block signals, work correctly. Various people saw off and use these chunks of rail for many purposes: book ends, blacksmithing anvils, paperweights come to mind. They are not uncommon. Unless someone has particular knowledge and sentiment about where a particular piece came from, they have little special value.  Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2018 by RJMc

A. It is a piece of rail. It has zero collectable value ($) but will make a nice small anvil for your shop. Posted Sunday, September 16, 2018 by Ex Sou Ry

 Q3517 Assistance with Lamp  I'd love your assistance please. I purchased this beauty for my train loving son (who continues to say he plans to be a train signalman when he's older) at a yard sale and would like to restore it a bit. First, does anyone know what it is or about the age of it? It looks like it was built for an open flame to be inside. My thought is to use rust remover and possibly repaint it to its original color that looks to be red. Rust has taken its toll on the clips holding in the glass. Any thoughts or ideas on holding the glass pieces in after rust removal? Lastly, any ideas for a battery powered light to place in there that would be bright enough to shine through? Thank you!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, September 9, 2018 by Keith D.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. My thought is this lamp looks British or European. There would have been a rain cap on the top to allow venting and keep rainwater out. Most likely this had a kerosene tank and burner at one time. To preserve this somewhat I would mechanically remove excess scaly rust and then use a rust converter product on those rusty areas. The rust converter hardens the remaining rust and stops further rusting. I would not try to remove the lenses as those lens clips look really fragile. Once the rust converter is dry, mask off the lenses and spray paint it. You should be able to find a battery operated LED light that would fit inside. Walmart and many other retailers sell battery powered LED votive lights and candles. This looks perfect for a train loving boy's bedroom.  Posted Monday, September 10, 2018 by JEM

A. I agree with JEM, it has the look of a European style lantern or maybe even from India etc. Frankly it not a must have for an American RR collector. So if your son isn't going to carry it around, I'd drill a small hole in the bottom and install a treaded lamp rod with a chandelier base socket. Then a 4 or 7 watt night light clear blub lined up with the center lens. Makes for a nice low light signal lamp in a room. All lamp parts are available at Lowes & Home Depot.  Posted Monday, September 10, 2018 by LC

A. Looks like a level crossing (grade crossing) lamp, in which case it should have 4 red lenses. Could be from any country that uses British operating systems, though I have seen many similar examples from Ireland. Posted Tuesday, September 11, 2018 by JAJ

A. I looked and found a bunch of them popping up on the internet folloiwng a Google search for "India railway lantern". It surely looks like NOT USA made... see Link 1 for the search results.  Link 1  Posted Sunday, September 16, 2018 by JS

A. Typical UK style gated crossing lamp 2 red and 2 clear. The top is right and not missing anything. Simon GW Railwayana Auctions Posted Sunday, September 30, 2018 by ST

 Q3516 Oil Can Info?  I recently found what I believe to be a railroad oil can in an antique store. On one side in large letters are the initials WFZ. On the other side is a LARGE six pointed star, which is a symbol used to identify Israel. Can anyone out there help me identify if and what railroad this would be from? Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, September 3, 2018 by Joe R.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I think you may find this is a torch - not an "oil can." It would have fuel in the body and a fat round wick down the "spout" which would be lit at the end. The 6-pointed star SEE LINK 1 is called the "Star of David" and in the 1800s became representative of the worldwide Zionist community, and later the broader Jewish community, after it was chosen as the central symbol on a flag at the First Zionist Congress in 1898. My suggestion is that your torch is not from a railroad, but from a Jewish organization whose initials were WFZ - I would bet that "Z" stands for Zion (or some form of that word)and I would further guess "F" is for Federation - "W" maybe for World? or the name of the city where the Federation was located? See LINK 2. This kind of torch is a "universal" type that has been made for all kinds of customers since colonial days.Railroads were one of many customers.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Monday, September 3, 2018 by JMS

A. See prior Q No. 3487 about torches on RR's. The RR uses usually involved moving the torch around quite a bit, and the wick holder on yours is very large in diameter which might lead to liquid spilling. I would also check what type of oil residue is in your unit. The RR's used the most commonly available fuel for shop work, usually kerosene. If your unit was used in ceremonies, it probably has a more 'refined' fuel, maybe olive oil. But the fairly rough, unfinished surface causes me to doubt 'ceremonial' use, and the added tag to me is more likely to indicate a user's/owner's initials, rather than an organization.  Posted Monday, September 3, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3515 Milwaukee Road Jar  I came across this small glass Milwaukee Road jar in a box of my recently deceased Grandfather's items and can't find anything similar online to know what it is exactly. It has a screw top lid, with two holes drilled in it, and three different 'motivational' type quotes under the Milwaukee Road logos on three sides of the jar respectively. I would greatly appreciate any informatiat your conveniece of course, as I have no idea what it is or if it's authentic or just some type of reproduction. Thank you very much.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, August 27, 2018 by Kirt   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Well, I would think the screw holes in the lid could be explained by someone (a shop worker) fastening the lid to the underside of a shelf. Then he could unscrew the jar with one hand, and it would make sure the jar was in immediate reach instead of being set aside or put where it didn't belong. My dad did this with some jars he had in which he stored screws. This certainly seems like it is authentic but I am no expert, only feeling that it is too complicated for fakers - who likely would have just slapped on a logo and not all THREE (no less) of the really neat "isms."  Posted Monday, August 27, 2018 by JMS

A. Hello JMS,This glass jar marked for the Milwaukee Road is absolutely legit and according to some of my fellow ex-Milw employees ( I transferred to the ex-Milw side from the Soo Lake States Division in 1987)these were given out in the early 80's as safety incentive gifts and we meant to be used to hold screws,bolts etc in their shops to lessen clutter on their work benches.The jar lids were nailed to an overhead surface above the work area and the jar screwed to the lid for easy access.One employee told me that they came in sets of 3 but I can't confirm that.I rescued a couple for myself from an old RR building that was being torn down and still use mine for this exact purpose. DJB Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2018 by DJB

A. Hello back, DJB - thanks for removing all doubt! This is great news. Guess my Dad who was in the sign business wasn't the only one using the bright idea of fastening jars underneath a surface. Clear containers are so much easier to use! I was 99.44% sure the jar shown was legit - but never seen nor heard of them until now ! And them being safety awards makes perfect sense, and explains professional enamel decoration. The only thing I might suggest is that Dad screwed his lids to the board above rather than nailing them, it's easier to control a screwdriver than a hammer upside down.  Posted Thursday, August 30, 2018 by JMS

A. Thanks to all the folks who have replied. I greatly appreciate the help! Posted Thursday, August 30, 2018 by Kirt

 Q3514 China Marking  Any help on this piece would be greatly apprecated - Thank You.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, August 27, 2018 by Antiques and Collectibles   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I am willing to bet this may be from a steamship line. "Line" or "Lines" often appears on ship china. I looked through Barbara Conroy's book with no luck. You might try the RestaurantWare Collectors Network on their Facebook page and ask if anyone recognizes it - they have EXTENSIVE lists of patterns. The FB page address is at Link 1. Good luck !  Link 1  Posted Monday, August 27, 2018 by JMS

A. I am glad to see an ID has been made via the RWCN FB link - Larry Paul (author of Sparkling Crystal) belongs to this group and has verified that it is STEAMSHIP china.  Posted Thursday, August 30, 2018 by JMS

 Q3513 Adlake 1112 Restoration  I am restoring an adlake 1112 non sweating switch lamp and was wondering if some one had previously taken all the paint off and stripped it to bare metal. It has a PRR tag on it, and I would like to repaint it. Most of what I see are all black. Should I use a heat resistant paint on it or just paint it gloss black? Also the small flame observation hole at the top was soldered over with a tag saying PRR on it. Do you think that the railroad did this or someone else? Any info would be appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, August 27, 2018 by SP   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Yes, somebody did a very good job of stripping the old paint; a pretty challenging task you don't have to worry about now. All of the Pennsylvania lamps I've seen have that same round Keystone tag soldered over the peep hole opening. I don't know if they came from Adlake like that or if the railroad did it. In the photos with your previous question (Q3491) it looks like there is a little residual rust on the lamp. Sand those areas with some coarse sand paper before you paint. I'd use plain Rustoleum gloss black. All lamps started out shiny, and none of the flat paints available capture the look of a weathered lamp. A lit lamp can get pretty warm, but not hot enough that you need a high heat paint; and, don't turn the flame up that far anyway. I've stopped using primer as well as I don't think it is needed. Also, when you chip the paint, the primer shows through (and I've eventually chipped many a repainted lamp) -- Please send in a photo of how you patched the bottom of the lamp. It's a nice piece and those PRR lamps don't show up that often. ---- .... Red Beard Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2018 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Red Beard, I see you have evolved. No rant about how history was destroyed when the original paint and rust was removed from the lamp :). Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2018 by LC

A. LC - Touché mon ami; LOL. No, I'm still the same ol' grouchy curmudgeon on the re-paint subject. This one though seems to have been acquired in its already paint-less condition. My rule of thumb is that if a lamp has +/- 80% of its original factory paint OR railroad re-paint, you should preserve it. -- Old weathered lamps, like fine wine and plump women, tend to be things you appreciate more as you grow older. My stance on the paint subject comes from having "ruined" dozens of lamps as a younger man by stripping or sandblasting them and then repainting them. I still hold on tho the idea that repainting lamps destroys irreplaceable history. --- Still making the analogy that railfans are an odd lot; give 'em a brand new $40 HO boxcar and all they want to do is slather a bunch of grime on it to "make it look like they really did on the railroad" (aka, "Weathering") but give them a naturally "weathered" switchlamp, in its authentic 'fresh off the tracks' grime, and all they can think of is "how can I clean this thing up and make it look brand new?" ...good to hear from you! ---- .... Red Beard  Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2018 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Alright my grumpy friend, we await your next victim who asks how to clean or restore a rusty lantern. Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2018 by LC

A. Been meaning to says this the next time the restoration topic surfaced. I have around 40 lamps. Not quite half are restored, the rest will remain as they were found because they were in pretty good shape right off the railroad and they weren't too nasty to handle and didn't have bullet holes in them or the handle bales weren't literally ripped off leaving jagged metal holes near the top of the lamp (I can't even imagine how that was even done) or, the tops slammed off to one side with what must have been a sledge hammer, or the peep hole crudely busted out, etc., etc. These I have restored to mint condition regardless of the glory of their past history and "yes" even bondo came into use. I know....... "Oh the horror," ha ha. I consider such restoration action on lamps of this class to be in line with restoring a classic car to prime condition. These lamps were a marvel of design and deserve to be shown and admired at their best. Just my two cents worth.  Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2018 by TE

 Q3512 Engraved Spike  Could you try to please help me or direct me to someone that could. I have a railroad spike that I have been trying to search for answers on. I want to check if this is a historical piece or some kind of souvenir. I joined on facebook 'Central Railroad of New Jersey' and people historial society of new I have jersey and some people are telling me a amazing find but I would like to send it or take it to be analyzed for authentication. If this is a historical value I would like to have it displayed somewhere.  [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, August 26, 2018 by LJ   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. U.S. President James A. Garfield was shot in Washington, DC in July 1881 but survived until just after Sept. 6, 1881, when the infection which had set into the wound finally killed him. The link describes how the desperately ill Garfield was transported by rail, which would have been Central RR of New Jersey, to the N.J. seaside Francklyn Cottage, where it was hoped he would recuperate. Over 1/2 mile of temporary track was constructed (see Link for pic of construction)in just a few hours to deliver him directly to the door. After the President's death, the emergency track was dismantled with the materials being bought by a local dignitary. The ties were used to construct a small 'Tea House' cabin which still exists today. Your spike is quite likely from that temporary track; its new appearance would be consistent with only being used once on a lightly-used track. There would have been as many as 8,000 spikes (2,000 ties, 4 spikes per tie) in that track, and many may have been marked after removal from the track to provide mementos of the very popular Garfield. But there would hardly be anything unique about them to verify, except the marking itself. The Long Branch Museum Assoc. (see Link 2) which now maintains the cabin would very likely appreciate having the marked spike.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Sunday, August 26, 2018 by RJMc

A. I highly recommend this great book to read further about President Garfield: "Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President" by Candice Millard. Alexander Graham Bell was part of the attempt to save Garfield's life, interesting. I was inspired enough after reading the story to purchase a BRITISH BULLDOG... BTW, I think your spike is a great piece!  Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2018 by JSM

A. The Link is to a Smithsonian Institution web site describing artifacts from assassinations. It gives the same Garfield story as above, and specifically notes that the spikes from the temporary track were saved as souvenirs, with a pic of a spike similar to yours. The one in their pic seems to be engraved differently, rather than stamped as yours is, however.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2018 by RJMc

 Q3511 Barrel Globe  I have a barrel globe measures 5.375 inches tall but does not fit the Casey lantern, or an Armspear correctly as the 'fat part' of the globe is higher up and makes the globe sit too far into the font area. What manufacturer of lanterns most commonly take a barrel globe? Thanks. GS  Posted Friday, August 24, 2018 by GS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Coleman camping lanterns use a barrel globe (see link.) Link 1  Posted Friday, August 24, 2018 by RJMc

A. It may not be a lantern globe. Some modern day electric light fixtures have a barrel globe. I have 2 outdoor fixtures with a barrel globe in them. Posted Saturday, August 25, 2018 by LC

A. A picture of the globe would be a huge help.  Posted Saturday, August 25, 2018 by JMS

A. The earliest version of the barrel globe that I know of is the Macbeth 283 dating from around the turn of the 20th century. Posted Sunday, August 26, 2018 by Ex Sou Ry

 Q3510 Adlake Lantern Markings  While trying to research two Adlake Kero Railroad lanterns, I came across your website! What a tremendous collection of data - we’ll done! My question is: I have two #300 series Adlake Railroad lanterns but I can’t find details on the Railroad stamped on the top. I assumed it was Southern Railway but I’m not finding anything to confirm it. Also, one lantern is marked SOU RY and the second one is marked SOU RWY. Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, August 21, 2018 by RW   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Your lanterns date from the early 1970s and are marked for the Southern Railway. See Link 1 for information about the Southern. These lanterns must have been from different orders or batches and made at different times as they are marked slightly differently.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2018 by JEM

 Q3509 B&O Jug?  Did they ever make a B&O RR pottery jug? Thanks.  Posted Friday, August 17, 2018 by Michael   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. They had a 1 gallon size marked disinfectant, was brown & tan. Without a pic yours may be pure fantasy. Posted Saturday, August 18, 2018 by DC

A. Part of the standard equipment of every Pullman Co. sleeping car was a corked pottery jug of 'disinfectant' or 'deodorizer' (see link for pix). At various times the RR's ran the sleeping cars on their own lines, and diners and office cars would have been similarly equipped. They probably all used much the same approach. Link 1  Posted Saturday, August 18, 2018 by RJMc

A. I’ve owned several different styles over the years. Most just say B&ORR in blue letters of various sizes near the top. I did have one once that had larger letters in a frame or panel on the side of the jug.  Posted Sunday, August 26, 2018 by Ex Sou Ry

 Q3508 SAL Pot Use?  I have this old pot marked SAL RY CO - 5 inches wide by 3 inches deep. Any ideas what it was used for ??   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, August 17, 2018 by Gene T   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is a 'Marking Pot." Used to hold the marking material (paint, ink, lampblack, or ??) so a stencil brush could dip into it before being applied to the stencil. See Prior Q 3367, where another one turned up. And that Q has a further reference to the same document from elsewhere on the RRiana site, shown below in the Link, where Figure 22 shows this item as a standard piece of RR tinware. Link 1  Posted Friday, August 17, 2018 by RJMc

A. Thanks for help. Makes perfect sense. My Grandfather used this to mark bales of cotton with farmers names (initials) and weights before they were sent to warehouse. Our family gin which operated in the 1940s and 1950s was located beside RR and had a loading dock and side track for gin use. Thanks Posted Friday, August 17, 2018 by Gene T

A. The info about the family cotton gin is quite interesting. It causes me to wonder about the business arrangements. Was the RR possibly taking ownership of the cotton (the way the RR often has ownership of coal being shipped?) Did the RR own the warehouse? If either of these was the case, the RR might well have ISSUED their marking pot to your grandfather, to comply with some standard marking spec so that they could keep all their accounting straight. There are thousands of historical legal cases (back to ancient history) relating to grain, lumber, minerals, milk, etc etc dealing with who-owned-what, and when, during transportation. I read one from 1920 or so about one broker mis-appropriating (stealing) 30 or 40 bales of cotton from another broker, by changing markings during shipping and mixing it in with his own 100 bales. When he got caught, the legal case was about trying to determine which bales to give back, since by then they looked pretty much alike. The markings were (and likely still are) crucial to making the whole economic system work.  Posted Sunday, August 26, 2018 by RJMc