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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:

 Q3297 RR Speed Limit Sign?  I picked this sign up at a local antique mall in Duncannon, Pa a while ago. Not sure if its railroad or road or even it's genuine....appears real to me and it weighs a lot. Love to know anything you all might know about it.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, March 26, 2017 by Jan B   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. How big is this sign? Are there any ID marks or numbers, possibly cast in the back? The shape and style appear identical to the cast iron grade crossing warning signs used on many RR's (such as the Western Maryland, for example) and signs were posted to warn of approaching permanent speed restrictions. Speed restrictions were often posted for sharp curves, yards, and approaching tunnels or long viaducts. The Link has a wealth of information about several RR's including the WM, and track charts which show multiple places where speed restriction signs were posted. 35 mph was not an unusual speed limit on a mountain RR such as WM.  Link 1  Posted Sunday, March 26, 2017 by RJMc

A. Thank you for the info. Its 30 inches wide x 21 high. No markings unfortunately. Posted Sunday, March 26, 2017 by Jtb

 Q3296 Engine Plate Info?  Any ideas on this engine plate? Thanks,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, March 25, 2017 by Don   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. It kind of looks like an N&W number plate. N&W had a Y3A 2-8-8-2 with that road number. The locomotive was built arund 1920. This just a guess. The Illinois Railroad Museum in Union Illinois has one of these locomotives preserved. Send them a picture of your plate. Maybe they can compare it. Posted Saturday, March 25, 2017 by JN

 Q3295 A&W Conductors Lantern w/#39 GLobe  I picked this brass top, nickel plated lantern I believe to be a conductor's lantern. Now here's what I know: The newest patent date that I can read on the bottom of the bell ​is August 22, 1882. I believe the bottom of the bell says Adams & Westlake Co., Chicago. It is about 11.25 inches tall, and has a standard No. 39 Corning unmarked globe in it. It has a brass top, but a magnet sticks to everything else very strongly, so I'm assuming everything else is sheet steel or iron. This doesn't seem to be any close variation of any common Adlake conductor's lanterns; I cannot seem to find it in a catalog anywhere (though there is a similar Steam Gauge & Lantern Co. one in the Conductor Lantern section of this website). Now here's the problem. The spring wire latch is missing (I can fix this easily) and the globe is loose. As seen from the pictures, at first sight it looks like it has a globe retainer, as there is a wind deflector piece in the inside of the top vent section of the lid. However, from closer inspection this seems to actually be part of the top vent section of the lid, which brought up a thought in my mind...perhaps this lantern isn't even meant to have a globe retainer?? There are no slots or tabs inside of the lid like you usually see to hold the retainer in place, and usually the wind deflector is part of the retainer. Also, the top conical vent section of the lid is slightly loose on the lid, but if pulled upwards, taper locks against the hood section of the lid, almost giving the effect of what a spring does in a normal globe retainer. There is no evidence of these two pieces ever being soldered or stamped/beaded together. So, I guess my question is this: does anyone know what's up with the globe/retainer/lid in this lantern? Is it supposed to have a retainer? If so, how does it stay in place in the lid without popping out when the lid is opened? Or is this the globe wrong; should it have a slightly taller globe, therefore fitting tight up against the top vent section of the lid? P.S. I suspect the globe is about 1/4 inch away form fitting tight up against the top vent section of the lid. Thanks in advance everyone!!!!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, March 25, 2017 by KO   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I suggest you contact Adlake, still in business and may be able to help you out. Posted Monday, March 27, 2017 by LC

 Q3294 A&B RR A&W Lantern  I recently acquired an Adams & Westlake short globe lantern marked A&B RR in small letters on the brim and dated on the bottom 3-39. Anyone know which line this would represent? Have search on the internet without much success. Thanks for your help.  Posted Saturday, March 25, 2017 by BS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3293 ID Tag Please  Please help me ID this brass tag I dug in Montgomery, AL. Is it from a steamship or railroad company? Is it very old? Thanks!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, March 23, 2017 by Jerry DeL   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3292 Tag Info Needed  What can you tell me about this tag? Thanks for your kind assistance.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by Plez   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Ashokan Reservoir was built in upstate New York in 1909. Believe this to be a souvenier watch fob for the workers or some sort of ID. A railroad was constructed to aid in construction on site. Not a baggage tag. Posted Thursday, March 23, 2017 by dc

 Q3291 EL Signal Locks  Can anyone tell me the key or keyway number that will fit either of these locks and or have a picture of what the key cut looks like? Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, March 22, 2017 by Joe   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Many railroad locks like these had proprietary keys. The railroads owned all of the blanks. Good luck with your search. Maybe someone has one to show or even sell, but I doubt you can get a key made.  Posted Thursday, March 23, 2017 by JN

A. Enter the words 'signal lock' in the 'word or phrase' search box to see LOTS of prior Q&A's about this type of lock. My experience has been that 'old line' full-service lock shops will usually either have or be able to get the key blanks, but these places are getting harder to find. Many industries used this type of lock, not just RR's, such as warehouses, military, utilities,even department stores, among many others which made the blanks much more common. As to the correct key for these particular locks, are there any numbers or other ID, since as explained in the earlier Q's each major RR often had many different cuts to be able to limit just who could open which lock, or series of locks.  Posted Friday, March 24, 2017 by RJMc

A. There are no numbers or ID's on these locks.  Posted Saturday, March 25, 2017 by JB

 Q3290 Caboose Stove  I have an S.P. Co caboose stove that I am restoring. It was painted green, what paint that didnít burn off. I have been looking for pictures to help me get this right. I canít find any. Do you have any ideas where I can find any? General description? Smokeconsumer, wheel and wings on feed door,'S.P. Co.' in 3 different areas areas on front! Thank You for any help!  Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2017 by Rick H.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. If you run a search on "SP Caboose interior images" several different sites with several different photos come up. Many show the stoves; the one in the Link seems to definitely have the green paint in the interior, and has the icebox, but it looks like the stove was already removed.  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2017 by RJMc

 Q3289 Baggage Tag  What can you tell me about this?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, March 19, 2017 by JRL   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. PW&B was the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore, under that name from 1837 to 1902 according to Bill Edson's Railroad Names. C&A was the Camden and Amboy under that name from 1832 to 1867. PW&B would have started the trip in Baltimore and carried the bag to Philadelphia, where it would have transferred (likely by ferry boat) across the river to Camden, N.J. for the remainder of the trip toward New York City. PW&B, after many years a PRR subsidiary, is part of the Amtrak Northeast Corridor main line today. Parts of C&A, also a PRR subsidiary, still exist but not as a through intercity route.  Posted Monday, March 20, 2017 by RJMc

 Q3288 Type of Lamp?  Iím not even sure this is a railroad lantern, but if anyone has any information on it, please share. Galvanized metal construction. 8.5 inches high, 5 inches wide. Lenses are 3 inches in diameter. The 'front' lens is green, the 'left' lens is clear, the 'right' lens is red. The 'right' panel slides up for access to the burner. The 'back' has a mounting bracket. It has a double canopy for exhaust and a Ĺ inch hole in the bottom for air to enter to feed the burner. It has NO markings or stampings to identify it. Thanks for any help.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, March 19, 2017 by TY   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Do you have the fount (fuel tank & wick assembly} any markings on it? Maybe on the brass part wick passes through or on the brass wheel to turn wick up? Posted Monday, March 20, 2017 by dc

A. I do have the fount. It's brass with no markings or stampings. Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2017 by TY

A. The exhaust canopy gives it the resemblance of an old German RR lantern but they were always well marked by the manufacturer and equipped with a handle (bail). This one looks like it might be a well done home or shop made job. Posted Tuesday, March 21, 2017 by LC

 Q3287 Pullman Step  Asking do you have a web address that clearly shows step by Pullman built for C&O? I would really like to see it.  Posted Thursday, March 16, 2017 by Mark M   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. If you are referring to the picture I mentioned in Q 3282, it is on pg. 44 in the book "The Original Pullman-Standard Library, Volume 11 Mid-Atlantic Railroads" by W. David Randall and William M. Ross. This multi-volume (something like 15 or 16 volumes by now) set of books contains very high quality prints from original large negatives taken by the Pullman Co. photographers when the cars were being built, and detailed floor plans. These books are still for sale on the web and at various hobby stores. To my knowledge their contents are not available on the web, but copies of the books are available at some libraries.  Posted Friday, March 17, 2017 by RJMc

A. I found this handle in the same pile as the Adams and Westlake Pullman step. RJMC was very helpful with that. Link 1  Posted Thursday, March 23, 2017 by Mark M

 Q3286 ORR&N Lantern Marking  I have an Adams & Westlake 'ADAMS' Embossed Lantern Frame - O.R.R.& N. Co with the globe embossed O. R. & N. Could someone identify the railroad? Thank You.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by Gary L   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Oregon Rail Road & Navigation Co Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by CD

A. Oregon Railroad & Navigation Co Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2017 by BobF

A. Per Bill Edson's Railroad Names, and the Link, this company started out in the late 1800's as the Oregon Railway & Navigation Co., which might account for the OR&N on the globe. After 20 years or so it morphed into the Oregon Railroad & Navigation Co., per the stamping, for a couple of decades in the 20th Century. The 'Navigation' refers to steamboats on the Columbia River, one of the origins of the company. Link 1  Posted Thursday, March 16, 2017 by RJMc

 Q3285 Fork ID?  Trying to ID the rail line or Pullman. Was found by the Franconia, AZ section house, circa 1900-1945.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by Donald P   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I read NC&StL which would be Nashville, Chattanooga & St Louis looks like it did some traveling ! Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by CD

A. This is the Saxony Pattern, first designed in 1891y Gorham. Four railroads including NC&StL. It is a fancy pattern. Posted Wednesday, March 15, 2017 by JN

 Q3284 Info on Engine?  I have what is most likely a Cooke Locomotive Works builder's photograph which shows the builder's plate on the side of the boiler. As best I can make out the number is 1622. Can someone point me to a Cooke builder's plate cross reference so I can find out more about the engine? Web searches have turned up nothing. The engine is an 0-4-0 and the railroad name on the tender is M & N W RR, which I believe is the Minnesota & North Western Railroad. The M & NW RR started laying rail in 1886 and in 1887 it became part of the Chicago St. Paul & Kansas City Railroad. Any help is appreciated. Thanks.  Posted Saturday, March 11, 2017 by JEM   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. My limited Cooke records show much of what you already know, that Const # 1622 was an 0-4-0 for the Minnesota & NorthWestern, road # 11 with 48" drivers, 16 x 24 " cylinders built in May of 1885. Looks like the M&NW also bought const #'s 1612-1621 but they were 4-4-0's numbered 1-10. The M&NW seems to have purchased #1640 a 2-8-0 which was numbered 12 also in 1885.  Posted Sunday, March 12, 2017 by CD

A. Thanks so much, CD, for the Cooke locomotive information. It is very helpful. Construction number 1622 does indeed have road number 11 on the sand dome and the cab. A switch engine for sure, given its wheel configuration and slope back tender. Thanks again.  Posted Monday, March 13, 2017 by JEM

A. Interesting - This Cooke engine photo shows the engine without a headlight, although there is a platform in front of the smoke stack for one. Any guesses from anyone as to why? My thought- either the railroad would supply a headlight or it was felt one was not immediately needed because this little switcher would only operate during the day. Thanks.  Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by JEM

A. I think a lot of times, the headlight was attached after delivery, instead of risking damage while in transit. Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by BobF

A. BobF - Thanks. Headlight shipped separately to prevent damage during transit is most likely.  Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by JEM

A. Not only that, but as we have mentioned before, RR's are VERY ECONOMICAL (cheeeep!) and often would supply a headlight, bell, and other accessories they already had on hand, sometimes from the 'trade in.' Why splurge on a new one, if you have a perfectly serviceable one on the shelf?  Posted Thursday, March 16, 2017 by RJMc

 Q3283 RR Key?  I found this metal detecting, I was told it was some type of railroad lamp key. Any help verifying the type of key and possibly how old would be very helpful.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by JB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. It is a Pintsch gas key for turning on and adjusting railroad car lighting. 1800's Link 1  Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by DC

A. Pintsch gas lights were used on other kinds of vehicles, as well. This key was used to turn the gas valves on and off. Using the key provided somewhat more security than just having plain valve handles. The link mentioned above didn't seem to 'take'; hopefully the one below will get you a lot of info and drawings on Pintsch systems used on RR passenger cars. If the link doesn't work, go to: Link 1  Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by RJMc

A. While the Pintsch system was invented in the 1800's, as explained in the Link above, it worked well enough that RR's such as Union Pacific used it on some cars into at least the 1940's. And in Australia, cars were built with it as late as 1920 and ran into the 1970's and 80's, so it must have been reliable for RR's to keep using it that long (which also shows how much of a maintenance nuisance electric batteries and generators can be, which the Pintsch system avoids!). Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by RJMc

A. The Pintsch system was reliable, but also potentially dangerous. The worst rail disaster in British history, a collision between three trains at Quintinshill, on the English/Scottish border, in 1915, was caused by mistakes by two signalmen, but the death toll of about 227 (the precise total is uncertain) was made much worse by the resulting fire, for which the use of Pinsch gas lighting in wooden coaches was blamed. As a result, Pinsch lighting was replaced by electric on main line trains and had virtually disappeared from Britain by World War 2. Posted Sunday, March 12, 2017 by JAJ

 Q3282 A&W Hardware Piece ID?   Can you ID this brass piece? It has a Adams and Westlake stamp.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, March 6, 2017 by CTH   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The easiest thing to do would be to send the picture to Adlake (Adams & Westlake). They are still very much in business and they are very helpful in historic research. I have linked their website to this answer. Good luck! Link 1  Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2017 by JN

A. This is a step, which would be bolted to the side or end of a RR car or loco. The diamond-pattern surface was to reduce slipping off. It would be used for maintenance workers to reach the roof, or to service items such as headlights, number boards, or maybe trolley poles or pantagraphs which would be out of reach from the ground and when a ladder wasn't handy. This one might also have been on the running board or pilot beam of a steam loco, where the change in height of the running board (usually as it went back from the very front of the loco) was too high for a man to make without an intermediate step. There are folding versions, also, where the horizontal step is hinged and only flipped down when needed, to minimize clearances. Similar steps can be seen on the back of larger recreational highway vehicles today.  Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2017 by RJMc

A. There are a huge possible number of uses for a step like this. It looks to me that it is intended to be screwed onto a wood surface. For example, inside a caboose, to climb to the cupola seats or up to a Pullman upper berth; or possibly on the wood pole of a signal requiring daily lamp servicing. Not to mention fire trucks, yachts, and ships, all of which used very substantial cast brass or bronze fittings such as this.  Posted Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by RJMc

A. Would make a nice shelf to display a piece of railroadiana, perhaps an engineer's torch. Posted Thursday, March 9, 2017 by dc

A. Did you ever find out what the step was for? I have a friend with the same item and the same questions. Posted Saturday, March 11, 2017 by Matt M

A. Thanks to all for their help! The co records did not extend past 1927 but they were very nice trying to help! I just could not find anyone to confirm what I suspected. I wish I knew how it came to be where I found it. If anyone finds a picture of one mounted in its original location I would love to see it. Posted Saturday, March 11, 2017 by CTH

A. Builder's photos of sleeping cars built by Pullman for C&O in 1950 clearly show two very similar, but not quite identical, steps used by the Pullman porter to get up into his berth, which was elevated above the floor level. Those particular steps were mounted in a corner and had a triangular back, but the mounting was basically identical.  Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by RJMc

 Q3281 China Info Needed  I'm trying to learn more about my plate. Any info would be greatly appreciated! I also have a specific question. On the back, there is a number. I believe it's 39. Any idea what it means? Thank you very much for any info!!!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, March 6, 2017 by Angie D.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is a piece of B&O Centenary China. The B&O first produced this china in 1927 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the railroad. The pattern was used in their dining cars right up until April 30, 1971 when the very last B&O passenger train ran. This china is very beautiful and is collected by railfans and the general public. After passenger service ended the B&O kept producing this pattern and it was sold through the B&O Museum gift shop in Baltimore, MD. This particular plate was made in 1977 (note the 1927 - 1977 dates) and sold trough the gift shop to honor the B&O's 150th Anniversary. This piece never saw a dining car. It was made strictly as a souvenir. While it is a beautiful piece of B&O china, the museum pieces are not as collectible as the older pieces that were used on actual trains. As for the "39" it may be a batch or production number. I have this same plate with a "41" on the back. There is a huge section on B&O china elsewhere on this website. Posted Monday, March 6, 2017 by JN

 Q3280 Protecting a Lantern in Use  I have read the pages on lantern cleaning and I have purchased a book on it written by Les Winn; however, all the steps lead to a lantern that it coated with a clear lacquer, hence my question. I love to light my lanterns and have them on my deck outside at night and in the garage (never in the house) and this would not be possible with a lacquer coating applied. So after the cleaning process is done, what is the proper way to protect the lantern from rust, while still allowing it to burn kerosene?? Thanks.  Posted Saturday, March 4, 2017 by Mike L.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Dear Mike: The best way to prevent your lantern from rusting is to store it where it never gets wet or damp. Never let come into contact with rain, snow, ice, dew or store it in a damp location. I suggest to thoroughly clean it with a detergent, remove all rust and scale and then paint it with a good grade of high temperature engine enamel, flat black color. I don't know why you hesitate to operate the lantern inside? If the lantern stinks like sulfur, just install a new wick and only use 1-K grade fresh "water clear"kerosene with a flash point between 124 to 150 deg.F and you should be fine. (You could wash the old wick in liquid detergent and then boil it in distilled vinegar to remove the odor when the lamp burns.) NEVER use the red tinted kerosene. It will gum-up the wick and stink. NEVER use paint thinner or anything with a flash point below 124 deg F. as fuel. (If any gasoline contaminates the fuel you will quickly have a fire bomb! Don't laugh, people have done more stupid things!) Be sure to carefully adjust the flame so there is a clean white light and no smoke. Never leave the lantern burning when you are away from it. Good luck - SEW  Posted Tuesday, March 14, 2017 by SEW

 Q3279 PRR Stamp  I recently acquired a PRR stamp and I was wondering if anyone knew roughly what years it was in use and what division in the Pennsylvania Railroad would have used such a stamp? Thanks in advance for the continued support!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by Dave   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. It looks like typeset, a printer's block, for making company letterhead, menus, etc. Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by JN

A. Yes, a type block used to print the logo. Things like this were likely used system-wide on PRR. The long tail on the one "R" will help determine in what era this was used. My guess, having not found any further info yet, is pre-1900. There is a lot of info on the web, just search under "PRR logo"  Posted Saturday, March 4, 2017 by RJMc

 Q3278 Lamp Interior Pictures Needed  I have a Great Northern semaphore lamp, but I need to know what the interior looks like as I am missing parts. Does anyone have pictures of the interior which also includes the prismatic glass reflector in these lamps? A 1907 Adlake catalog refers this as a Number 9 model. Much later they were a #254 Adlake semaphore lamp. Thanks for your help!!  Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by Jeff H.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3277 Oldest LIRR Lantern?  I've been collecting LIRR memorabilia for long time. I believe the LIRR began service about 1834? I believe I have probably the oldest one. It's a Steam Gauge & Lantern Co. It's a Brass Top and wire bottom lantern with a clear unmarked 5 3/4 inch globe. Right under the marking for Steam Gauge & Lantern Co. is marked Syracuse, NY. The Lid is embossed L.I.R.R. The Steam Gauge & Lantern Co. originally was located near Rochester, NY burnt down in 1888 with 35 employees dying. They also merged with the R.E. Dietz Co. in 1887. I'm guessing that it was produced about 1890's or so, once the Steam Gauge & Lantern Co. moved to Syracuse, NY. So there was about 60 years that no other LIRR lanterns were found. Have you heard of any LIRR lanterns earlier than mine? Please, advise? Thank you.  Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by jrscpu   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I am not sure if you mean oldest LIRR lantern made, or the "earliest surviving" one. Since the LIRR existed from the 1830s it certainly would have had lanterns made during its entire existence. The question is what happened to them. Wikipedia confirms the 1834 date on the LIRR. According to "Illustrated Encyclopedia of Railroad Lighting Vol. 1" (Barrett), the Steam Gauge & Lantern Co. existed between 1881 and 1897. Barrett offers intricate detail about the partners and history, including predecessor firms. The immediate predecessor firm was the Buffalo Steam Gauge Company, Buffalo NY (1866-1875) which reorganized as the Buffalo Steam Gauge & Lantern Co., Buffalo NY (1875-1876) and moved to Rochester, NY in 1876. In 1881 it reincorporated as the Steam Gauge & Lantern Company in 1881, erecting a new factory in Rochester. Indeed, after the tragic 1888 fire, the company never resumed business in Rochester and moved to Syracuse where they had built a new plant. Barrett says that in 1897 the R.E.Dietz Company purchased the Steam Gauge & Lantern Co. and gives an "ending" date for Steam Gauge of 1898. If you want to try to find out more about LIRR lanterns you might check with Key Lock & Lantern (Link #2). The SG&L Rochester plant and even predecessor companies likely made lanterns for the LIRR, but indeed there seem to be only a very few, rare survivors from any manufacturer(s). Surviving lanterns could be going unrecognized (many Civil War and earlier lanterns were unmarked) or owned by collectors who do not want items in their collections made public. I would be incredibly thrilled to have one !  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by JS

 Q3276 PRR Employee Badge  Can you tell me the significance of the number 21000 on this ID badge? This was my father's, and payroll documents indicated he was employed in 1950. He was only with them a short time. Thank you for any information you can provide.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by Steve H.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I think he just lucked out, and happened to be signed in as employee number 21,000. Check the payroll documents you have, and look for an employee number there to possibly confirm this theory. The Link is to another similar badge, where the employee number is 23,922.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, March 4, 2017 by RJMc

 Q3275 Armspear Lamp Question  I just acquired this Armspear switch lamp which has the spring loaded adapter. I would like to remove the spring loaded adapter to make it more stable when standing . Any advice would be appreciated on how I would be able to go about this or alternatively stabilize it if not too elaborate. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by Alan B.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Alan: first of all, DON'T -- Piece by piece, we (railfans collectively) are destroying irreplaceable pieces of history by doing what you are suggesting! That "adapter" is formed very specifically to fit the uniquely angled tip of the switch stand target rod for the railroad your lamp came off of. Those blocks are becoming scarce as hen's teeth, and serious collectors are having to scour the earth to find ones to fit specific switch stands. -- Your photo is of little help; can you send in one, looking upwards at the base of the lamp? -- On an Adlake, the spring loaded block would have a threaded screw hole in it, and there would be a slot in the base to access that threaded hole. With your base design, there is no room for such a slot in the cast base. The best bet (without seeing the base via a better photo) is to invert the lamp, push the spring block up into the base as far as you can, and then jam something in there between the walls of the base and the side of the spring block to make the block stick up there. A Popsicle stick might work, or a length of solder that you've beaten flat on one end. -- What ever you use to jam up in there can be filed or block-sanded to be flat with the bottom of the base after the spring block is secured. You might even be able to use a slender wood screw of small size to jam between the block and the inner base wall. --- I really do encourage you NOT to remove that block, however. Some collector that inherits that lamp decades from now will be very grateful that you left it in place. ---- .... Red Beard  Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. An image was sent by Alan but left off the original question. Here it is: Link 1  Posted Saturday, March 4, 2017 by Web Editor

A. Hi, thanks very much for your advice. The web editor posted a photo of the bottom you asked for. However I agree with your suggestion to avoid altering a piece of history. The jamming idea is excellent and will allow me to stabilize the lamp while the lamp can be restored later on to its original state.  Posted Sunday, March 5, 2017 by Alan

A. I made a wooden base that has a block of wood on top that goes inside the mounting socket, providing stability for a lamp I have with a small base like yours. I have a lag bolt on the side that secures it even more, but you don't really need that if the socket is tight enough around the wood block. See attached links... Link 1  Link 2  Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2017 by JeffPo

A. Thanks Jeff. Your base looks very refined. Definitely something to consider. Unfortunately there are no holes in my base for any type of lag bolt or screw and I definitely want to avoid drilling a piece of railroad history. But the close fit approach may work well.  Posted Saturday, March 11, 2017 by Alan

 Q3274 Belt Buckle  I came across a belt buckle that I cant seem to find any information on. Is there any way you can help me with this?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by William P.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. From your good photo, this was a safety award made by CSX for employees working in their Baltimore MD division. Neat items like this are given out as recognition by railroad companies to their employees for achievement in keeping workplaces safe. CSX came into existence in 1986 and is operating today along the eastern seaboard. Link 1 is Wikipedia history. You may be able to find similar buckles on eBay and other places where railroad collectibles are sold (Link 2). It's neat! Great find!  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by JS

 Q3273 Brass Top Lantern  I recently received this lantern from my wife as a gift and am looking for any information you might have as to the manufacturer and date. I have a few lantern books but they do not have anything similar. The marking is very faint and appears to say BEIS NOV.23.6. It appears to have been electrified some time in the past and has no burner. The globe is 5 3/8 tall. Thank You.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by Eric K.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Eric, The top looks extremely similar to a William Westlake lantern circa 1865. I believe that the top has been added to a later (1890?) wire bottom lantern frame. The bottom (where the fuel pot would sit) looks like a modified tin can? that now would hold the electrical parts. I don't know if it is possible to post a photo in a reply? If there is a way I can send you a photo you will have an idea as to the style lantern that the top would have possibly been a part of. Posted Monday, March 6, 2017 by DaveF

A. Photos sent as attachments to this email address can be posted to questions as a response. Make sure to indicate in the email what question it's in response to -- helps me figure out where to post it. Posted Monday, March 6, 2017 by Web Editor

A. Here's William Westlake removable globe lantern Circa 1865.  Link 1  Posted Monday, March 6, 2017 by Dave F.

 Q3272 Heart-Shaped Lock  Hi! I found this lock yesterday and was trying to find out as much as I can about the lock. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by Brian Y.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. S & Co stands for Sargent & Company, the maker. Prob late 1800's Posted Saturday, March 4, 2017 by DA

 Q3271 EMD Bell Markings  I have an early EMD bell in a Howard cradle which I believe came off of the B&Oís Engine 98. In addition to the bell and the yoke being stamped with the number '98', each part of the bell has the following alpha/numeric string scratched into the surface: '287-07-3147-OH.' I contacted the B&O Museum and their response was 'The random line of numbers was generally a parts code/serial number for the bell and its various parts put on when it was manufactured.' That makes sense, but I thought Iíd see if anyone here has another thought. Thanks for sharing any thoughts you may have.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by Jay L.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Some more questions: Where was the Howard Foundry located? Did they also make the bell, or did they just make the cradle assembly? Is there a source of information on the Howard Foundry? Thanks. Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by Jay L.

A. The James L. Howard Co. is still in the railroad hardware supply business, in the Chicago area (see Link). They are most frequently seen by rail enthusiasts as a "JLH" stamping on keys, which are often cast in brass or bronze. So it is quite possible that JLH supplied both the bell and bracket.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, March 4, 2017 by RJMc

A.  J.L. Howard made the bells and mounts for early EMD switch engines. See the link for a very detailed article about EMD bells written by James Curran about EMD bells. The Howard mount and bell looks much more like a steam locomotive mount and is sometimes incorrectly identified because of that.  Link 1  Posted Monday, March 6, 2017 by KM

 Q3270 Amtrak Silverware Patterns  Does anybody know how many patterns of silverware Amtrak has had during its history? I have 2, both marked with the current 'wing' logo (for lack of a better description). The book Silver At Your Service lists 2 unmarked patterns. If anyone has information it would be appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, February 24, 2017 by JN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3269 Use of E.T. Wright Lantern?  Curious about this trainman lantern. Produced by E.T Wright & Co. Hamilton Ontario with a Pat. Date of 1908. Branded C.N.R. It has a red bulls eye lens and a side bracket. How would this lantern been used? Was the side bracket just to assist in storage so they were not kicking around on the floor?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, February 23, 2017 by Dave S.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I have some Canadian lanterns with wire hooks/brackets, which were apparently used to hang the lanterns on the rear gates of passenger cars. The folding scissor-type gates (similar to wooden baby gates now, used to keep toddlers, or pets, from getting onto stairways) are stretched across the the walkway to prevent anyone from accidently walking off the otherwise-open rear end of a passenger train. Hanging the lantern(s) on the rear gate makes them ready-to-hand for a flagman leaving the back of the train to go back and flag, as well as getting them up off the floor and protecting them from damage, and keepting the smell of burning kerosene out of the car interior. The placement of the red lens on your lantern, and the fairly narrow solid bracket, makes it look to me like this one could have been used as a marker. That fairly narrow flat steel bracket looks like it would go into a conventional side-mounted marker bracket, pointing the red lens to the rear.  Posted Friday, February 24, 2017 by RJMc

A. Another possibility is use as a marker on a track speeder or motor car.  Posted Friday, February 24, 2017 by RJMc

A. I own one of these and know a few who also own these. We've always referred to them as Carriage lanterns because of the bracket, as it's the same as those used on carriages and those aren't railway related. Ones marked with a railroad like this one I would guess they used them as markers but I'm not totally sure.  Posted Saturday, March 4, 2017 by DrewG

 Q3268 Purpose of Lens?  I have a Corning Lens, Pat 1913. Could you tell me where or what this 10 inch lens was for? Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, February 20, 2017 by Erich N.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This lens might have come off a trackside signal like a block signal. In my opinion (and I am not an expert) a lens that big would be impractical for anything considered "portable" like a switch or marker lamp. Hopefully the link will take you to an example. Link 1  Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2017 by JN

A. Erich: Take a look at LINK 1 in this answer for photos of similar lenses. What you have is an Inner Doublet lens from a color signal (not necessarily railroad), where the Fresnel steps are on the front side of the lens. The outer lens would be clear glass with the Fresnel steps on the back side of the glass. - - In the mid-1800s and trailing off in use up to about 1900, switch lamps and marker lamps had the Fresnel steps on the front surface or the lens. See; LINK 2 and look at the third lamp from the bottom of the page for an example. From what I've found, the switch from having the steps on the front of the lens to the rear surface began in the 1870s. ---- .... Red Beard Link 1  Link 2  Posted Monday, February 27, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

 Q3267 Purpose of LV Bucket?  I have the attached bucket which is marked LVRR(lehigh valley railroad). Is this for carrying water or for fuel or oil? Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, February 20, 2017 by JR   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I would think it is probably for water. If it were kerosene the spout would be different. Also if it were for any type of fuel it would probably have a screw on cap for safety reasons, not a flap type lid like your can has. It is a cool item regardless. Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2017 by JN

A. The flap-type lid and the back handle allow tipping the can almost all the way over to pour the contents out, where a top-mounted screw lid would likely leak. The very narrow spout says it had to be a fairly thin liquid, in order to get any out. So I see the can being used to reach in to fill some kind of reservoir, likely in a restricted space, with either water, fuel, hydraulic fluid, or the thinner kinds of lube oil. Hard to say beyond that. In the 'Articles and Info' section of this website is a description of many standardized types of RR tinware, titled "New! Extract (PDF) from Master Mechanics Assoc. 1916 Standards and Specifications for Tinware" but unfortunately this particular type of can is not listed in it.  Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2017 by RJMc

 Q3266 Kero Lantern Info Needed  Hello, looking for information on this lantern, any ideas on time (year) of production, use, etc. Would like to add to a display on lanterns in the Myrtle Beach Train Depot but want to have some good info before we do. Any help at all would be appreciated. Thank You   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, February 17, 2017 by Troy M   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Look on the very bottom of the lantern. It MIGHT have a date after Adlake Kero, such as 4-55. 4-55 would indicate the fourth quarter of 1955, and so on. If there is no date then it is probably after mid 1965. Posted Friday, February 17, 2017 by BobF

A. Dear Sir: Your lantern is an Adlake Kero M400 conductors/brakeman lantern. Note there is a clip that holds the top to the wire frame and secures the globe inside the lantern. With your finger, gently lift the clip and the top will swing up. This will allow removal of the globe and burner/oil font assemble. The wick raiser assembly is a "twist lock" type that turns approx. 1/8 turn and lifts out of the oil font or oil pot. Look down in the oil font and you will notice that it is stuffed full of cotton. There is a hole in the center where the wick extends into the oil. I think the cotton is in the font to prevent the oil from spilling out and causing a fire if the lantern is knocked over. - SEW  Posted Saturday, February 18, 2017 by SEW

A. Hi, I would like to add to SEWs reply. He mentions cotton inside the oil pot. If you are not going to use the lantern you may want to pull all of the cotton out. (You will probably be surprised as to how much is in there!) The reason you should pull it out is that the cotton will absorb moisture and can rust out the pot over time, especially in a humid climate. You can still fire the lantern without the cotton inside the pot should you so desire. Posted Saturday, February 18, 2017 by JN

A. Be advised that the comments the moderator made about removing the cotton from the oil pot, when not filled with kerosene, are exactly what happened to my Adlake. My oil pot was destroyed by rust! However, I would also like to state that another major reason the cotton was in the oil pot was to help contain the kerosene when the lantern was swung in a circle motion. This is the signal to the engineer to back-up. Without the cotton the kerosene could likely sling out of the lantern.- SEW Posted Thursday, February 23, 2017 by SEW

 Q3265 Builder Plates Info Needed  I have two builder plates from steam locomotives. I am trying to determine which railroad purchased these locomotives and any other info you may have. Both are ALCO plates. Schenectady Works 48859/Dec 1910. Brooksworks 52394/Dec 1912. I acquired these plates at an auction in northern Minnesota about 25 years ago.  Posted Saturday, February 11, 2017 by John M.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Both plates according to my Alco records are CM&StP. 48859 is from a 2-6-6-2C part of an order from 48838-48862 with road #s of 5000-5024 weighing 385,000 lbs with 57" drivers and 52394 is from a 2-8-0S part of an order from 52360 -52394 with road #s of 7205-7239 weighing 224,000lbs 24x30 cylinders and 63"drivers Posted Sunday, February 12, 2017 by CD

 Q3264 Info on NYNH&H Lamp?  Just acquired what I think is an older vintage NYNH&HRR Main Line switch lamp. If this prompts any particular interest, I would certainly appreciate any comments. I stumbled upon it at auction and found I just had to have it. It has two golf ball sized dents in the top housing but overall is in pretty nice condition otherwise. Lenses and burner are all intact. I donít believe it is a terribly common unit but am certainly no expert and could be wrong. Either way, I just really like it. Many thanks!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, February 11, 2017 by Brian   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Brian: Can the lenses be removed? If so, how? And what does it say on the back side outer rim of the lenses?, Thanks. ---- .... Red Beard Posted Monday, February 13, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Brian: additionally, on the inside of the door, under the lens, there is an oval emblem; what does it say inside of that oval? Can you send in a close-up photo of that emblem? Thanks, ---- .... Red Beard Posted Monday, February 13, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Red Beard, Lenses are installed to an outer lip and swaged in place from the inside. Do not appear to be easily removed. The oval emblem reads "Peter Gray and Sons, Makers, Boston. Engraving on lens at 12:00 location is "CORNING PAT 10-10-05; at 6:00 is "U"; at 10:00 is "312F" with the numbers being very light and not square in line, as they might have been manually stamped in the mold. Appreciate your responses, never would have found the lens engraving! Thanks, Brian Link 1  Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2017 by Brian

A. Hi Brian; That is a very old lamp design, likely from the late 1800s. -I was hoping RJMc would chime in on this, as he has an extensive library on old lamps- The lamp is in extraordinarily good condition for something of that age, indicting that it saw minimal use on the railroad before going into someone's collection. Square body switch lamps don't show up very often, as most of them haven't survived. The 1905 patent date on the lenses indicates that it was actually made in the early 1900s. Cylindrical body lamps were introduced around 1900 and quickly became the industry standard; so again, you have a very old piece, and in unusually good condition. - Peter Gray & Sons was a Boston based lamp manufacturer, selling mostly to northeastern railroads; New Haven (your lamp) and Maine Central were principle customers for Gray. ---- .... Red Beard  Posted Friday, February 24, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Brian, Peter Gray lamps such as this are uncommon but not particularly rare, however having the "MAIN LINE" marking on the bell is very rare. I have one of these also for the NYNH&H RR that is marked "YARD" and has standard NHRR lunar white and amber lenses. I have also seen a B&M RR version with "DERAIL" on the bell. Brian D Posted Monday, February 27, 2017 by BWD

A. Certainly appreciate the replies. I will continue checking. Posted Monday, February 27, 2017 by Brian

 Q3263 CPR Handlan Lantern  I bought this lantern recently. It's very clearly a Handlan (I think #176) and has a Handlan marked burner, but there are no other marks or patent dates on the lantern. The only markings on it are CPR. I'm wondering why this one lacks any makers marks, could this have been made by a Canadian manufacturer for Handlan so it could be sold in Canada? It's got thick green paint so I may be missing some small markings but I'm worried about the condition underneath so I'm debating removing it or not. Thanks a lot.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, February 7, 2017 by Drew G.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. If it has the snap off font (can't tell from the photo) might be a Handlan lantern with a Handlan-Buck snap off bottom font holder cup. Handlan never marked their name on the top of the lantern of this style but marked the bottom snap off font holder cup instead. In contrast, Handlan Buck always marked their name on the top of this style, but left the bottom snap off font holder cup blank. They're both the same maker, just slightly different dates of production of the same exact parts, with Handlan Buck the earlier. It might be a mix of parts using a Handlan Buck part on a Handlan lantern. Posted Wednesday, February 8, 2017 by BobF

 Q3262 B&O Logo  Could someone tell me why some B&O Railroad Logo Signs have a closed '&' and some others have and open 'E' between the B/O. I found a couple of different cast iron pieces and they are different because of this. Didn't know if someone could help answer this. Thanks,  Posted Monday, February 6, 2017 by David S.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The Link is to a website all about B&O lettering and logo styles, courtesy of the B&O Historical Society. It is targeted at modellers and real equipment owners interested in painting things as authentically as possible. One of the last entries in the site is labelled "B&O Logos 1937 - 1960" and it shows the open form ampersand being used from 1937 to 1945, otherwise the closed form. There is no specific info on logos before 1937, but many of the blueprints shown and reproduced in the site date back to 1903 and seem to use conventional lettering styles which would be consistent with the closed ampersand. Link 1  Posted Monday, February 6, 2017 by RJMc

A. Thank you so much for the info and the link.  Posted Tuesday, February 7, 2017 by David S

A. This turns out to be an interesting question, because of the apparently very limited time the B&O used the open ampersand logo. It seems to be a product of the B&O's relationship with industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss, who was responsible for streamlining B&O steam engines and redesigning their whole 'look'. See the link (or at the only photo I have found so far where the open ampersand logo is visible. Although there may be others, the only other RR I have found using anything close to it is the Wilmington and Western, a modern shortline/excursion line. All the others found so far use the conventional closed form (except the D&H uses its own unique form in its shield logo/herald)or just print out the word 'and'. Link 1  Posted Tuesday, February 14, 2017 by RJMc

 Q3261 C&NW Marking  I have an older Adlake tall globe lantern that's marked C&NWRR on the lid and the globe is embossed C&NW Ry. This is the first lantern I've seen marked RR instead of Ry for the Chicago & Northwestern. Maybe another named railroad? Thanks.  [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, January 26, 2017 by Nick G.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Most pre-1900 or so lanterns, keys and locks from the Chicago & Northwestern were marked C&NWRR....even thought the correct marking should have been "RY" instead of "RR". There are quite a few lanterns from the Chicago & Northwestern marked just like yours. Strangely, the lantern globes were correctly marked C&NWRY. Some very early keys were marked RW (for railway), and some very early lantern globes were marked C&NWR. There was English money invested in the line and the C&NWR marking would be of the English style, as also done in Canada (GTR, CNR, CPR, etc.) Posted Friday, January 27, 2017 by BobF

 Q3260 Lantern Model?  I have a lantern that looks to be a marine style lantern; a No.0 style lantern globe seems to fit it perfectly. The only name I can find is on the burner. BB&C Co. Bristol Brass ? I did find a similar lantern in Lanterns That Lit Our World Book Two by Anthony Hobson. A Helvig style of lantern ? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, January 26, 2017 by Nick G.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  Another possibility for the burner is Bridgeport Brass Company. The link is from The Lampworks and it has a short history of Bridgeport Brass Co.  Link 1  Posted Friday, January 27, 2017 by KM

 Q3259 Brake Valve  Hello again, I truly appreciate everyones' assistance in helping me identify and understand what my recent PRR Brake Plate was and its use. I have another question for all your experts. Here are pictures of a PRR AAR brass valve that I came across and was trying to figure out where/how it was used in relation to the PRR. Thanks in advance for all your expertise!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, January 26, 2017 by DS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  The Association of American Railroads,aka AAR, had their own standard for pipe fittings. The AAR fittings were heavier and larger than others that were in common use. This means that when you remove an AAR fitting it might be a fraction of an inch longer than a common fitting. This valve appears to be a check valve which allows flow in only one direction. Pressure and flow go in through a one way gate and cannot go back out. It might have been in an air brake line where 1 inch pipe is used.  Posted Friday, January 27, 2017 by KM

A.  The link is from "Railway Preservation News" and it has a short discussion about AAR pipe fittings. I am not sure if any manufacturer is still making them, most of the air brake work that I have been involved with recently has been done with welded socket type Schedule 80 fittings.  Link 1  Posted Friday, January 27, 2017 by KM

A. This check valve was likely used for steam, either on a locomotive, coach heat system, or in station or shop steam plumbing, but could also have been used for high pressure air. "AAR" "Double Weight" and "Schedule 80" are all terms for the extra-thickness, higher rated pipe fittings which are still in use for higher-pressure or physically more demanding applications. Some fittings are still sold marked "AAR". See Prior Q 3228. Since PRR used huge quantities of plumbing of all kinds, and they had their own highly-capable foundry complex at Altoona, there is a pretty good chance that PRR manufactured this valve themselves on their own property (!!!) and the X1485 might be their in-house part or mold number.  Posted Sunday, January 29, 2017 by RJMc

A. All...thank you so much for these informational replies! Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by dstring

 Q3258 GT Ry Lantern  I picked up this lantern at an estate sale. Embossed on top of the shoulder cage is: Grand Trunk Ry. The top has the following: The Adam & Westlake Company - Chicago - New York.After searching the Q & A page, most specifically question 1156 which I posted, the last post on that question makes me think this lantern might of been manufactured by Boxall from Toronto Ontario but I am no expert and not sure this is the case. I normally collect oil lamps. Also, this lantern has a glass insert oil container with the inscription: E Miller Company Made in USA on the brass wick turner. Would this be the right oil container for this lantern as most lanterns have a metal container? Any idea how old this lantern is? There is an area on the bottom where there must of been a lock mechanism to lock the cage to the bottom of the lantern, but it seems to be missing. Thank you for any information you can give me.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, January 20, 2017 by RF   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Grand Trunk and a number of eastern roads had lanterns with glass just fonts like yours. I believe it was to accommodate whale oil as fuel. The "snap" that would lock the bell bottom base in place is missing from your lantern. Over the years sometimes the solder lets go. It is definitely an Adams & Westlake product. Your lantern dates from late 1880's to mid 1890's. Posted Friday, January 20, 2017 by BobF

 Q3257 Age Range of an Oiler  I work at the Childress County Heritage Museum in Childress Texas. Weíve received a donation of an oiler from the CB&O railroad. There is a logo on it and Iím trying to determine the age range of the item. Per searches, it says that the Johnson Mfg Co out of Urbana Ohio, had just the letter 'J' inside of a diamond and that was in the early 1900ís. Mine, in a diamond, says Johnson/Urbana O. Any ideas as to how to date this oiler?  Posted Friday, January 20, 2017 by Lee Ann M   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hello....Look closely, it is likely from the C B & Q, which was the Chicago, Burlington, & Quincy, commonly referred to as "The Burlington Route." (See Link) The Burlington existed (and probably bought some types of new oil cans marked CB&Q from Johnson) until being merged into Burlington Northern in 1970. The second link is for the historical marker for the Johnson Co. in Urbana, OH. It mentions a historical museum for the company and they can probably help you with when the form of the trademark changed.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Friday, January 20, 2017 by RJMc

 Q3256 Cast Eagle  Can you please give any information about this eagle? I am told it was attached to the front of a steam locomotive around the 1800s, there is a 'N' on the front and E.S on the back. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, January 19, 2017 by James G.   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I wanted to add that Robert Bishop did a sculpture that is similar to this eagle in a a book called American folk art pggs.76-77. Thanks for any help.  Posted Thursday, January 19, 2017 by J.G.

 Q3255 Refueling Dressel Lantern  I can't figure out how to refuel a Dressel railroad lantern.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, January 16, 2017 by cediller887   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. You press the clip on the top to swing the lid up. Your picture shows the clip under the lid. Lift the globe out. Lift the burner / fount assembly out. The burner should then twist about a quarter turn and pull off. Just pour your liquid in and reassemble. Posted Monday, January 16, 2017 by JN

 Q3254 PRR Plate  I came across you great website while trying to research this PRR Plate. I haven't a clue as to what it is and was wondering if someone could possibly help me out identifying this plate?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2017 by Dave   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is off a piece of rolling stock--freight car, passenger car, whatever. It is an air brake diagram. It shows how the brake rigging is laid out on the particular piece of equipment. I don't know if they are still used, but at one time almost every car had one to help trouble shooting. Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2017 by JN

A. Dave; look at the PDF in LINK 1, go to page 6 on the PDF page finder, the page diagram is actually numbered as '5' on the page. The diagram shows a 3-dimensional version of the diagram on your plaque. Brake rigging was in constant use and was the highest maintenance item on cars. Brake rods and levers would come loose, break and even fall off the car during day to day use, and especially in the case of a derailment. Repair facilities needed to know the EXACT length of the levers in order for the brake system to apply the needed pressure evenly to all brake shoes. - This varied widely from car to car, so it was impossible for the car shop to know what length levers to use in repairs without a plate like yours to go by. - The numbers on the plate indicate the length in inches between attachment points on the levers. The thing on the plate that looks like a wine glass on its side represents the brake cylinder. It is attached to, and acts directly on, the 'cylinder lever'. On your plate, the lines that have numbers by them are the levers, the lines without numbers are the brake rods. ---- .... Red Beard Link 1  Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. For additional examples and more description see prior Q's 1582 and 1441. Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2017 by RJMc

A. All...thank you so much for these informational replies! Posted Friday, March 3, 2017 by dstring

 Q3253 Defective China  Hi Everyone, I have 2 pieces of PRR China that have manufacturer's defects. The Keystone bowl has very distorted pinstripes while about 1/3 of the Purple Laurel bread plate has dimples like a golf ball. As far as I'm concerned they are just as important as examples of the patterns as mint pieces, they are just ugly ducklings. My question is: would these pieces have ever seen a dining car table, or would some QC employee have picked them out and discarded them and then 'liberated for preservation' ? Regardless, they do see service on my dinner table from time to time. Thanks for any info you folks can give me.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, January 10, 2017 by JN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. In my opinion the brown keystone piece MAY have slipped by the QA folks but the sand as its called on the purple laurel piece would never have made it to regular service. That said I am pleased that they now have a home. Posted Thursday, January 12, 2017 by Ex Sou Ry

 Q3252 'Gold' Lantern Question  First, I want to wish all viewers of this site a Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year! My question is this: I have a PRR lantern made by Handlan. It is painted gold. It doesn't look like a sloppy home paint job. When I purchased it the lantern was electrified. I have removed the electrical components and converted it back to an oil lamp. Now, on Ebay, I see another PRR Handlan lantern painted gold. Is it just coincidence? Or did Handlan or the PRR paint some of their lanterns gold?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, January 2, 2017 by JN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Lanterns were often painted by railroaders to quickly identify them. One crew member might paint his gold while another silver and the third multicolor. . This helped to avoid any confusion. Keep in mind that one guy might take better care to of his lantern globe cleaned, wick trimmed and pot fully of kerosene. Another guy might not be so well prepared. When it was time to get off the engine or caboose to do some work it was easy to tell them apart and the guy who was well prepared would make sure he got the right lantern. Posted Monday, January 2, 2017 by Ex Sou Ry

A. JN; "Ex Sou Ry" is right on regarding railroad men painting their lanterns. Aerosol paint has been around since the 1950s, so a very smooth finish could have been done by a railroader at home. -- Additionally, the fact that it was electrified makes me think that whoever electrified the lantern likely also painted it at the same time. Gold is a fairly common re-paint color for lanterns that ended up as 'decorator items'. ---- .... Red Beard Posted Thursday, January 5, 2017 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Electrified? Where's the wirers? I think its the reflection from the flash from the camera not a light bulb. Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2017 by LC

A. Hi LC, please read my description again. I said when I got the lantern it HAD BEEN electrified. I converted it back to oil after I got it home. You are seeing the actual flame Posted Thursday, January 12, 2017 by JN

A. OK got it. Old age short term memory lapse. Posted Thursday, January 12, 2017 by LC

A. Hi LC, What were we talking about again? Happy New Year! Posted Friday, January 13, 2017 by JN

 Q3251 RW&O Globe  A friend of mine has acquired a globe that is cast RW&O RR in a rectangular plate. The globe is 4+ inches, looks like a Hanlan style shape and size. The railroad is Rome Watertown & Ogdensburg but not sure if it is a repo or real. No other marks are evident on the globe. Any thoughts or experiences with this type and name of globe? Thanks for your help.  Posted Sunday, January 1, 2017 by BSnyder   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The RW&O operated from 1842 - 1891 - too old for such a short globe? The globe sounds very suspicious. Check the link for Key Lock & Lantern's survey of the use of different types of globes by many railroad lines. Also see the link on this site addressing fake globes. Is your plate truly rectangular or is it a "trapezoid" as shown there? The fake globes out there are just terrible and it is so very hard to avoid them.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Sunday, January 1, 2017 by JS

A. The globe marks are not in a trapezoid configuration but as mentioned, the size and shape of the globe indicates a Handlan type globe that probably would not have been used in the 19th century. I saw there was a reference that this line was taken over by NYC RR in early 20th century. No other information to add to this mystery.  Posted Sunday, January 1, 2017 by Bill S

A. According to Wikipedia, by 1891 the RW&O became a subsidiary of NYC. On April 12, 1913 the RW&O was formally merged into the NYC.  Link 1  Posted Sunday, January 8, 2017 by JS

A. Although I've never seen or heard of one marked RW&O, it might be an from a very early Dietz Vesta. Posted Monday, January 23, 2017 by JFR

 Q3250 Gaithersburg Photos & New Years Wishes  For those who don't regularly check the home page for new updates, the photos from the 2016 Gaithersburg show are now available, courtesy of Rob Hoffer. May I take this opportunity to note that Railroadiana Online is now in its 20th year of operation, having begun in the Fall of 1997. The Q&A Board dates to 2003. There are many times when I didn't expect a question to be answered only to see multiple, informative answers within hours! Thanks very much to everyone who has participated in this website, especially to those whose names and initials appear regularly. And here's wishing all of you a safe and happy 2017!  Posted Saturday, December 31, 2016 by Web Editor  Link 1     Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Awesome!!! Thank you! I would love to go to this railroad show someday.. maybe this year. Also love your website keep up the amazing work!  Posted Monday, January 2, 2017 by PRR girl

 Q3249 Cleaning a Trackwalker Lantern  Can you tell me how to take the glass out to clean a 1909 Dietz protector trackwalker lantern?  Posted Saturday, December 31, 2016 by Lori U   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This would be easier to answer with a pic of the lantern from the front. The Archives here on the RRiana site have a 1909 Dietz catalog (see Link) that describes the Protector model, but only shows it from the rear. Link 1  Posted Saturday, December 31, 2016 by RJMc

A. There is a wire running around top of globe that comes up through a hole and forma a loop. Use this to raise wire from top of globe. Tip forward and remove. There is also a curved metal band that you can put thumb under and raise globe above burner if necessary. Should also be a red lens facing rear that can be seen or blanked out. Posted Sunday, January 1, 2017 by DC

A.  So how is the small red lens at the back of the lamp fastened in? Posted Thursday, January 5, 2017 by KM

A. Red lens has a brass band crimped around its edge, not easy to remove. If you just want to clean it lift the clear lens to clean one side then remove globe and reach through reflector to clean other side. That metal rod sticking out is to move red lens aside. Posted Saturday, January 7, 2017 by dc

 Q3248 RR Light?  I picked this light up and I am trying to figure out what it is. It appears to have bolted to something and the output leans down about 15 degrees. It is about 10 in. in diameter and weighs around 22 pounds. It does have a socket for an electrical lamp. The only markings I can find it a number that is T129293B. I was hoping that someone might know what this is. I collected RR lanterns with my father but this is different. I got it from an auction that had other RR stuff, it is rusty / dirty and before I recondition it I would like to know what it is or what type of stock it came off of. Thanks for your help.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, December 31, 2016 by Charles L C   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A.  I am not at all familiar with the inner mechanisms of railroad signals, but my thought is that this is part of a searchlight signal. There is usually some thing mounted on the front of those signals that is angled like this that causes the light beam or the external lightto shine in a different direction. That part is known as the phankill. During different lighting conditions searchlight signals can display phantom aspects and the phankill may help prevent that from happening. Search "searchlight signal" no pun intended. Posted Thursday, January 5, 2017 by KM

A.  The link is from and it shows the phankill units from Union Switch and Signal. They look very similar to your item, including the prism lense that focuses the beam.  Link 1  Posted Thursday, January 5, 2017 by KM

A. Thanks so much for your help. You are right about the unit. It is an adapter for a searchlight to make the beam visible to for a limited degree of view. it is called The Phankill Unit and fits on wayside searchlights. Again Thanks So Much For Your Time And Knowledge!!!! Link 1  Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2017 by CL Codding