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

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

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

Latest 50 Questions:

 Q3852 Baggage Tag  My grandfather was a conductor on the Delaware & Lackawanna Railroad. I have his pocket watch from his days as a conductor. I also have a baggage tag that was attached. I am trying to find some information on the baggage tag. Any answers or websites that may be helpful would be appreciated. Thanks for your help.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, May 31, 2021 by Charles   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. As described in Link 1, Manunka Chunk is a location in New Jersey on the east bank of the Delaware River, just southeast of the Delaware Water Gap. The original main line of the DL&W from the New York City metro area arrived in Manunka Chunk via two tunnels. Beginning in 1876 the Pennsylvania RR opened a line from the Philadelphia/Trenton area along the east bank of the Delaware and made arrangements to use the DL&W line on thru the Water Gap, rather than extending their own line. Link 2 is a bird's eye view of the junction, probably from about 1890. For example, your baggage tag would have been used on the thru (or possibly connecting) train(s) for someone boarding at Philadelphia on the PRR, and going to Scranton, PA on the DL&W. Those services lost their attractiveness in 1911 when the DL&W opened their new more direct, higher speed main line cutoff which bypassed Manunka Chunk and downgraded the service on the old route. Further, in 1913 (as pictured in the Link) floods destroyed much of the facilities in and around Manunka Chunk and the passenger service was further downgraded. So from 1876 to 1911 is the likely time period for when your tag was issued and used. There is no RR track left at all in Manunka Chunk today.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Thursday, June 3, 2021 by RJMc

A. The area served by the Lackawanna beyond the Water Gap is the world-renowned Pocono Mountains resort area. So the trains through Manunka Chunk carried heavy passenger traffic from the Philadelphia area to and from those resorts.  Posted Friday, June 4, 2021 by RJMc

A. Scott Czaha's excellent Tag Town website, all about baggage tags, shows that the Hoole Mfg. Co. hallmark as seen on this tag further closes in the dates from 1885 to about 1891 (see Link below).  Link 1  Posted Saturday, June 5, 2021 by RJMc

 Q3851 Desk Calendar Pad Holders  What company made the day desk calendar pad holders? I see a lot of Reading Company pads on Ebay right now. I purchased a couple and was surprised how high quality they are. These aren’t from just one seller because I thought maybe they bought a box of them at a sale. I just bought anther put out by a molasses company with tank car on it. I’d like to know the history of these unique pieces of advertising. I think I will start collecting them.  Posted Monday, May 31, 2021 by DEF   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I'm familiar with these calendars, but don't know much of anything about them as I never investigated buying any. My only suggestion would be to look everywhere on the base - under the paper sheets, everywhere. A maker name may be hidden somewhere. And if you happen to find the same TYPE of calendar in an antique shop or flea market, even though it's not a RR one, look it over closely for a maker name, because that may lead you to companies that made the ones for the railroad. Wish I could be more helpful! They should be companies that primarily manufactured office supplies, I would think, as opposed to making railroad equipment.  Posted Sunday, June 6, 2021 by JMS

 Q3850 Dayton Caboose Lamp Info?  I may have posted this before, but my interest was piqued rewatching 'Union Pacific'last night. In the 'mail car' that was on the train were several wall mount caboose lamps that are quite similar to one I have. This was acquired by my late father, who was a Santa Fe engineer from 1941 to 1974. I'm not sure where, when, or how he acquired it but it was sometime in the early fifties. If he told me anything about it I have forgotten it by now, and he isn't around to ask about it. I have been in contact with Dayton Manufacturing about this but they have no records on it. Dayton is still in the business of manufacturing railroad-related metal products, but not of this nature. Any information would be appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, May 2, 2021 by Paul B   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I would imagine these lamps and other models may appear in one of the Dayton catalogs. Of course it's incredibly difficult to find these old catalogs! but that is what I would look for. Without actual RR markings, your best course is to affix a label with its provenance, that your father, the AT&SF engineer, acquired it. LIKELY he got it from the railroad, but Dayton must have sold to all comers; a catalog might say specifically that this particular model was made for railroad use (or not). Best wishes; this is a beauty!  Posted Thursday, May 6, 2021 by JMS

A. From the Dayton Car Trimmings catalog # 200 , dated 7/1/16 it would appear to be their # 58 or 59 lamp. The burner has been changed for a newer model , and it is missing the chimney holder , and the smoke deflector. This lamp is similar to one sold under the Adams & Westlake brand.  Posted Saturday, May 8, 2021 by h v coll

 Q3849 Builders Plate Info?  I found your website while researching a builders plate that we have. I'm hoping someone can tell me what it is? ... something real, or a reproduction? I'm not asking for authentication or appraisal, to be clear — I've been researching online about these plates - real and reproductions - but I haven’t seen anything exactly like this example. The plate is very heavy, about 5 lbs I’m guessing, and about 9 in. in diameter. There are no markings on the back (other than some scratches), just the bumps for the holes. There are no holes punched through. The date on the plate (October 1925) and the number 58686 seem to fit with the Baldwin Works numbers? It was given to us by an acquaintance, back in 1993, who said it was real. We can’t recall if he said *where* he'd gotten it. I would appreciate any information or opinion you might have. Thank you so much.  [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, April 25, 2021 by KR   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. With no signs of boiler scaling or debris on the back, and no mounting holes , I would have to guess from the photos it is a recast , or reproduction. If it is flat when laid on a table . it is not off a boiler which was round. Diesel or gasoline engines in 1925 were only in their infant stage. It would be interesting to find out what was scratched off the back of the plate. Posted Monday, April 26, 2021 by h v coll

A. This plate is a reproduction. There are no mounting holes and no curvature so there would be no Baldwin code on the back. I checked the construction number and it was built for - C. Brewer & Co. 2-4-2 #5 in 3 ft. gauge. I have no idea where it went after that. Posted Saturday, May 8, 2021 by RJM

 Q3848 Loco Bell?  I am trying to determine if this is a locomotive bell or something else. Any help appreciated.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, April 19, 2021 by Jerry   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. With that style of mounting , I would have to guess fire engine , not railroad.  Posted Tuesday, April 20, 2021 by h v coll

A. Doing a web search for "Fire Engine Bell" images turns up several with mounts identical to yours and fairly similar hand ringing arrangements. Other clues: the not-too-robust mounting feet, which would not survive the banging around things get on locomotives; the red paint on the bottom of the feet; and the ringer arrangement which has to be used by someone sitting right next to the bell -- a circumstance that never happened on locomotives. Interesting to note that the ones on the web that closely match yours all seem to have come from fire apparatus in London, England, which may explain the very unusual (for US fire truck practice) ringer arrangement..  Posted Tuesday, April 20, 2021 by RJMc

A.  I restore vintage and antique fire equipment and railroad equipment. This does not look like it came from a US fire truck, I agree it may be European. I have never seen an air ringer like this on a truck. There is another clue, the horizontal lines that go around the circumference of the bell are unusual for older fire apparatus. Check the bolts which are on the air ringer, are they metric thread? What is the size of the bell, fire truck bells are usually 12 inches or less. The Parts Manual for a 1925 Seagrave fire truck specifies "one twelve inch locomotive bell".  Posted Sunday, June 6, 2021 by KM

A.  Another thought, is there any patent or manufacturer information on that air ringer? The thread on the air tube may also be metric so be careful if you try to connect it to an air supply! Posted Sunday, June 6, 2021 by KM

 Q3847 Triangle Switch Light?  What can you tell me about this item? The three different colored glass panels are about 9 by 13. Overall it's about 22 in. tall. It looks weatherproof if it was in the rain but it is not that durable for the wind. Thinking it is railroad but maybe you can help? Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2021 by DA   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is probably a darkroom 'safe light.' Look closely to see if there was a way (some kind of shutters) to cover the glass panels so that only one, or none, would be exposed. The glass plates and early B&W films and printing papers were not sensitive in the red, and some may not have been sensitive to blue, so the photographer had the luxury of actually having some light in the darkroom to work by. Put 'darkroom' in the search by word or phrase box to see several prior Q's about very similar lamps. Q 1027 has a lamp very similar to yours. Note the light-duty flat tab feet for fastening the lamp down to a countertop. That suggests use in some kind of production arrangement where the selected color did not need to change, unlike some of the more portable darkroom lights.  Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2021 by RJMc

 Q3846 Baggage Check Questions  This baggage check was in a box of knickknacks that belonged to my father. The family history is a bit blurry due to divorces and small numbers of children in each generation. I believe my father's paternal grandfather worked on a railway (and lost his leg while at work). Given the tag's stamp of 'N.C.Ry' and 'Harrisburg' I'm guessing it's from the Northern Central line that ran from Baltimore to Sunbury, PA. I believe the line was taken over by Pennsylvania Railroad pretty quickly. Not sure how long they kept the Northern Central name. It seems the manufacturer (E.Hoole) was in business from 1860s to 1891. My understanding is these tags were usually made of brass. This one doesn't look like brass but could it be nickel plated? A few questions: 1. Any ideas on the metal? 2. Confirmation of railroad line? Any idea on age of tag? Any other info? Thanks for any help.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, April 7, 2021 by TC   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Bill Edson's book Railroad Names shows Northern Central operating from 1854 to 1914. Available 1895 and 1910 Official Guides have extensive listings for the Northern Central Railway Company, but under the umbrella of the PRR System listings. PRR kept many subsidiaries as separate companies --at least for administrative and financial purposes -- much longer than other major RR systems, some right up to the creation of Penn Central. I note that your tag has only Harrisburg as the origin station and no destination station. See prior Q 3730 for a lot of discussion about how similar tags might be used to ID company mail shipments, maybe things like ticket records or receipts. But if entire carloads ir large batches of checked baggage moved, say from Harrisburg to Baltimore, the destination would not need to be marked on each individual piece of baggage. As to the metal, have you checked it with a magnet? The corrosion on the back looks like maybe the tag is plated steel.  Posted Monday, April 12, 2021 by RJMc

A. Looking closer at the Northern Central Ry. operations (under PRR) in 1909 the line between Baltimore and Harrisburg carried more than 13 (thirteen!!) through passenger trains each way every day and many additional locals and commuters. They served almost 30 open stations in those 84 miles. Several of those trains were the thru PRR limiteds between Washington, Baltimore, and Chicago or St. Louis. All of those trains (except maybe the commuters) handled checked baggage. The huge PRR station at Harrisburg which served multiple PRR divisions would have had to stock tens of thousands of baggage tags if every one had to show a destination station. Clearly they had some system other than the stamped tags of letting the baggagemen know where to set out the checked bags at all of those rural destinations. (Bear in mind that in 1909 most roads in the US weren't paved yet, and automobiles and busses were still very rare. The whole country travelled by train when it travelled at all.)  Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2021 by RJMc

A. Advertising on cover of 1893 OG...American Railway Supply Co. (Successors to the Hoole Manufacturing Co.) }24 Park Place New York{ Manufacturers of BAGGAGE CHECKS And dealers of every description of RAILWAY SUPPLIES. [Did they change the base metals?] Posted Tuesday, April 13, 2021 by ShastaRoute

 Q3845 RR Station Vending Machine?  We recently found several of these vending machines and were looking for any information anyone may have on them? I haven't been able to find out much but I believe they were used in railway stations or on railway cars in the early 1900s. Any information is appreciated!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, March 25, 2021 by Megan   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. It looks like Peter Gray & Sons made cases for the vending machines; the Peter Gray label is a newer one, made after they moved to Cambridge from Boston. Peter Gray is very well known as an important maker of railroad lanterns and metal equipment. Maybe that is why someone is making a railroad connection. The vending machine company was located near Peter Gray & Sons, so it's not a surprise the vending machine people turned to Gray for cases. If you look in Boston directories, history you should be able to date both companies. The AMI nameplate looks newer than circa 1900. Indeed these likely were used in railroad stations (I doubt on cars themselves) and anywhere else vending machines could be placed. It would be fun to find old photographs of depot interiors that showed them!!!  Posted Friday, April 2, 2021 by JMS

A. Close study of the pic shows the machines were 'leased solely for the sale of chocolate bars mfd. by Walter Baker & Co.' As explained in the Link, the Baker Chocolate Co. is the oldest chocolate maker in the US, going back into the 1700's and now absorbed into the Kraft-Heinz conglomerate. So that doesn't help date things much, but adds some interest. The RR station we frequented as kids was equipped with a Mills Vending Machine that sold pre-packaged Chiclets gum pieces for a penny each. The Mills machine was not as tall as yours, and had several columns of different types of gum including Dentyne as well as Chiclets. I have several of those gum machines which are operable, but pre-packaged Chiclets are no longer made (apparently anywhere in the world!) so they can't really be used. I am a little surprised that chocolate bars were put in this kind of machine. Chocolate does not tolerate high temperatures very well whereas Chiclets gum was almost indestructible and probably stayed in some of those machines for years. But the Link mentions that the Baker Chocolate Co. had very aggressive marketing campaigns and the archives at Kraft Foods might have some info on the machines. There are several vending machine collector societies which were helpful in finding the specialized keys to open the coin boxes if you were not lucky enough to axquire the keys along with the machines.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, April 3, 2021 by RJMc

 Q3844 EMD Cards  I have 35 or so General Motors EMD locomotive specification cards, data cards, builders cards, etc. that we found in my Dad’s stuff when he passed away last year. Dimensions are 7-1/2 in. x 3-1/4 in. but they seem too thin to be blotters, as I saw mentioned on your site. Seems like they were reproduced from full-size illustrations by in-house artists at GM. I have been trying to find more information on these cards, especially the years they may have been printed, and what they were used for, but it's hard to come by. Do you have any information? See attached. I would appreciate any help you can offer.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, March 25, 2021 by John   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3843 Engine Class Lamp ID?  I'm trying to determine the maker of this lamp. It has the smaller 4 inch lens. I put the red lens in it. I'm sure it was clear lens that was missing. It's marked P&R RR. The burner and globe were in it when it was found. The globe is heavy just like in RR Lanterns, and the burner screws in. It looks very close to an Underhill Osborne lamp, but I can't seem to figure it out.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, March 22, 2021 by RW   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3842 Switch Key ID?  I recently came across this unmarked key and I was wondering if it could possibly be a railroad switch key? Is anyone familiar with the cut of this key? Thank you in advance for any help in identifying this key.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, March 14, 2021 by DBN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hi, It could very well be a switch key but without railroad markings you may never know. The key is old judging from both the wear that is obvious along with the metal loss on the inside of the bow. It had been hanging on a key ring for quite some time because such a pronounced groove does not show up over night. I can see that the key was manufactured by the Fraim Co. who did manufacture brass keys for railroads. However, as previously stated, unless it was used by a short line whom did not mark their keys, you may never know if it saw actual railroad service. It is still a good find !!!!!!  Posted Monday, March 15, 2021 by DJY

A. First, as a general comment to all persons inquiring, it would be very helpful if you included some SIZE reference(s) in the pix. Keys looking exactly like this one were made in several different sizes, some quite small, and the probability of its being a RR key depends on which size it it is....Second, this is a very common bit pattern which WAS used by many different RR's, but as noted, without any lettering there is no way to tell. The same pattern was used by all kinds of organizations from department stores to police departments to farms. Third, if you really want to know, any stamped lettering now worn away may be made visible again by etching the stamped surface slightly. The stamping process changes the underlying metal crystal structure in a way that changes how fast it will etch. The surface in question is etched slightly using either dilute nitric acid or possibly ferric chloride, which is the chemical used to etch electronic circuit boards. The ferric chloride solution used to be available at Radio Shack, for example, but Radio Shacks are very hard to come by these days. As the top layer of metal is etched away, any lettering may reappear because the stamped metal does not etch as quickly as the base metal. I have used the nitric acid technique on keys and similar brass or bronze objects with good success. Of course, the technique can only reveal lettering if in fact it was stamped; its possible this key was never marked. There are many articles on the web discussing using this technique, but most of them are about trying to reclaim defaced serial numbers on steel parts of firearms for criminal investigations. Different etching chamicals may be used for steel than for brass or bronze.  Posted Thursday, March 18, 2021 by RJMc

 Q3841 Unusual Class Lamp  On the internet I recently came across an image of a very rare classification lamp and am curious to find out more information. There seems to be only one unusual lens, facing out to the side. Who was the manufacturer? Did it display more than one aspect? If so, how? The bracket looks like a marker lamp bracket, made to be able to rotate the lamp to be able to display different aspects, as opposed to a class lamp which is attached to the loco in a fixed position. This image is from the flickr page of the Center for Railroad Photography and Art, the J. Parker Lamb Group Five album, Mississippian Railway locomotive 76 photographed in 1955 [See link].  Posted Wednesday, March 3, 2021 by Joe  Link 1     Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hmmm. Enlarged it and looks like lens is on both sides of lamp on left. Lamp on right seem to have them facing forward and backward. (Kind of a slotted fresnel-with-ruffles) She was a Frisco hand-me-down...wonder if the answer lies there in her origins or that lone industry (mill?) she served. Posted Wednesday, March 3, 2021 by ShastaRoute

A. The Link is to an Adlake 1907 catalog pg. in the archives here on the RRiana site. See the No. 91 Classification Lamp illustration which shows "Cloud Lenses." I can't tell whether they were Fresnel at that time, but later they were. The Frisco and the D&RG(W) used the ones with Fresnel lenses. The second link is to a RR Pictures Archive photo of DRGW 2-8-0 # 1034 with a fairly clear view of the Fresnel-type class lights mounted. There are many other pix at that same site. A pic of a Frisco steam loco in service, with the same kind of class light, is at: http://rrpicturearchives.net/locoPicture.aspx?id=94393. I suspect the concept was to get a wider angle of view than the usual circular lenses would provide.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Thursday, March 4, 2021 by RJMc

A. Link 1 below is to a web post about restoring a set of "Handlan Radial Class Lamps" and using them on the ex-D&RG narrow gage steam locos. It has good closeup pix of the lamps. The Kirkman lamp site even sells replacement lenses for these. Link 2 is to a site where someone has modelled the later electrified version of these using 3D printing, apparently for O scale, but with good pix of their models. Many marine warning lamps also used the Fresnel style lenses for wide angle viewing.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Friday, March 5, 2021 by trnbob

A. Prior Q's 3572 amd 1177 here on the Q&A Board also discuss these in more detail. Use the 'Search By Wuestion No." box. The term "Handlan Radius Lens" is also used for these.  Posted Friday, March 5, 2021 by RJMc

A. The Link below is to another good web post about acquiring and using this type of class lamp on the ex-D&RG narrow gage steam locos and lists other RR's that used them, such as L&N. And the various discussions make clear that the original lamps were switchable between green and white indications. But as RR's got away from timetable and train order operations, that feature often got disabled as mechanisms or lenses failed in service and it became extremely unusual to run sections of scheduled trains which would need the green lights. That trend affected all kinds of classification lights.  Link 1  Posted Friday, March 5, 2021 by RJMc

 Q3840 White Cone Lens in Lamp  Can anyone explain why there is a white cone lens in this lamp? Thank you!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, February 28, 2021 by Tom   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. It is often hard to tell in pictures whether the lenses are blue or green. When illuminated, does the lens in the pic show up as blue, or green? Blue lenses were used for worker protection and many other special functions other than switch lights, so often the lamps didn't require lenses on all four sides and your white cone might just be a filler, or provide an auxiliary indication that the lamp was lit to confirm that a person behind the lamp was protected by the blue light. If the lamp rotated, the white could also provide an indication to someone running an engine in shop tracks, such as a hostler, that the protection was NOT in effect, so they knew they could enter the track.  Posted Tuesday, March 2, 2021 by trnbob

A. Tom, This lamp is a caboose marker from the Northern Pacific Railroad. From the factory it would come with red and green lenses. It appears at some point the red lens was broken and for reasons unknown the owner of the lamp replaced it with the coned lens. Possibly he didn't have a red lens. If the lamp were mine I'd purchase a red lens to restore the lamp to original as delivered condition. They are available on eBay quite regularly in many sizes and styles and colors. Just measure the diameter and be sure you get an internal ribbed lens to match the green one pictured. Hope this helps. Posted Monday, March 8, 2021 by Jim

 Q3839 More Key IDs  Here are 3 more keys I'm hoping someone can identify for me. The first is a SR Slaymaker Car key. I've been told Maine Central and Michigan Central. Does anyone know for sure? Next is an old Fraim M&NRY. Last is an old tapered MV RR. As always thanks for any help I can get.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, February 17, 2021 by Jim   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q3838 Dietz Lantern Paint  Hello! I have several Dietz lanterns and I cannot find paint that matches the original paint. Any ideas if or where you can get the same colors? Any information would be appreciated! Thank you,  Posted Monday, February 15, 2021 by Carl   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Without knowing what lantern model(s) you have -- are they in fact Railroad lanterns? Dietz made for all customers! See Link 1 for a list of models and note most were NOT made for railroads! It's my information that the "original" finish when railroad lanterns left the factory usually was no paint at all - bare metal. Subsequent owners often painted them, and old paint can look "original" but it almost always is not. Paint matching is difficult at best and nearly impossible at worst, especially since it usually is a different shade after it dries than it was when it was wet. We are extremely lucky to have a paint manufacturer in our area that will mix custom colors, but requires a minimum purchase of one gallon. Kinda hard to take the $$ price when all we needed was about 4 ounces, but the result was well worth it!!  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, February 16, 2021 by JMS

 Q3837 Lantern  What do I have? Can anyone tell me? Thank you.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, February 12, 2021 by Mark   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The most common use for these was as a railroad 'switch lamp' or 'switch light' which rotated to indicate the position of a track switch, to inform oncoming trains of how things were routed. The Link is to the Railroad Lamps page in the reference section here on the RRiana site to see a lot more description and discussion. You can also enter 'switch lamp' in the word or phrase search box to see many Q&A's about these.  Link 1  Posted Saturday, February 13, 2021 by RJMc

A. Question #3610 left side of photo should show a switch lamp next to a locomotive that has moved into a secondary track (probably a siding to allow for passing on the mainline). This would be one use. Posted Friday, February 26, 2021 by ShastaRoute

 Q3836 Fake or Real?  Had this more less drop in my lap, unsure if it is real or fake. Trying to determine what it is and if it is worth looking for the burner? I can’t find anything like online which makes me wonder about the authenticity. Any info would help.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, February 12, 2021 by Caleb   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Well....it's real other than the base looks like it's missing a mounting post or bracket attachment. Is the underside solid or, does it look like a mounting bracket was attached at one time? Posted Friday, February 12, 2021 by TE

A. Lamps such as yours were widely used on various RR's. The most likely use was as a switch lamp, although the same housings were also used with a different mounting bracket for marker lights. The first Link is to the 'Railroad Lamps' page in the reference section here on the RRians site. The second row of photos shows lamps very similar to yours but made by Armspear. The various lamp designs were heavily standardized as required by the RR's. Lamps of a given design were made and licensed by different mfr's at different times, and the mfr'ing co's merged back and forth, so it is not unusual that you may find identical lamps from different mfr's. The second Link -- also to the Archives here on this site, is to an Adlake catalog from 1940 showing their model 1112 Seitch Light, which looks very much like yours. The wide colored 'day targets' shown around each lens in some of the pix were optional; each RR decided whether or not to use them and the practices varied widely even along each RR.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Saturday, February 13, 2021 by RJMc

A. The bottom is solid with a small hole dead center. So looks like missing the base. My other question is the patient dates on the top. The only comparison I have is below [link1]. It has the Great Britain Dec 16 date as well as the Aug 13 1907 date. The one I have has neither. Were there models made with different patient dates in them, or were mine removed? The base also has one groove not two as indicated in the manual?  Link 1  Posted Tuesday, February 16, 2021 by Caleb

A. Some of my lamps have the Great Britain patent date(s) so apparently they were covering their bases for overseas sales. Don't know if that materialized or not but I don't think there's anything unusual about it. Posted Friday, February 19, 2021 by TE

 Q3835 F.S.O. Meaning  What does 'F.S.O.' stand for on a Corning switch or signal lens?  Posted Sunday, February 7, 2021 by Gerald   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. According to the 'Signal Lenses' appendix in David Dreimiller's book 'Signal Lights', on the typical Corning lenses for switch lights and markers the diameter of 5 3/8 inches will be designated with a "D." and the 3 1/2 inch focal length will be designated with "F"ocal length measured by the same technique as a used to measure a "S"tandard "O"ptical lens (F.S.O.). Dreimiller implies that other lens manufacturers probably marked theirs differently. As a side note, the '1935' in lens markings is NOT the year of manufacture, it is the year that the specification was adopted. So lenses made decades later are still marked with the '1935' to be mis-interpreted time and again by resellers.  Posted Friday, February 12, 2021 by RJMc

A. Thank you. Gerald Posted Saturday, February 13, 2021 by GN

 Q3834 Lens ID?  What is this lens from? ID help please. Blue but different texture. I do not think this lens started out on this metal plate and pole... but I don't know really. I got it from the estate of an old man who lived right next to a railroad, and he collected railroad stuff. I thought it was from a Railroad lamp, but the texture is different than any I've seen or can find online. The lens is about 5.5 in. across and maybe and inch (or less) in depth. I'd just like to know what it was. It looks good hanging in my shop. Any ideas?? Thanks for your help.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, February 7, 2021 by Tony   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Look up "Blue Flag" to possibly give you some background. Posted Monday, February 8, 2021 by h v coll

A. The Link is to an Adams and Westlake article in the archives here on the RRiana site about 'Signal Glass'. The article isn't dated but it looks like maybe 1950's. It identifies (and pictures) the center of your item as a 'Corning Doublet Reflector Lens' which was a forerunner of today's retroreflective materials. As mentioned above, the whole item looks to be a blue flag assembly with the center lens returning a bright blue indication from the beam of any approaching headlight to warn against moving the equipment. Yhe hook arrangment was to hang the item on a locomotive cab window or a handgrab while workmen performed maintenance or servicing. The Link is an excellent reference about the various lenses used on RR's but unfortunately does NOT answer Q 3835 above: still looking into that.  Link 1  Posted Monday, February 8, 2021 by RJMc

A. Dreimiller's book Signal Lights says Corning introduced this type of retroreflector lens in 1933. It uses a sandwich made up of a central silvered reflector surface between the two outer layers with the pebbled surface. The multiple reflections inside the sandwich cause a light beam to be returned back toward its source, rather than reflected off at some different angle or dissipated. These days the same effect is accomplished by tiny particles embedded in materials such as signs and fabrics so that no thick package is required.  Posted Saturday, February 13, 2021 by RJMc

 Q3833 Armspear 1925 Short Globe  I'd like to pose two question in regards to an 'Armspear 1925' short globe RR lantern. It appears as a 'newer' model possibly made by Adlake. There is only one band of holes on the vent lid. The cage is round wire and has a weighted base, top center reads B&O RR ARMSPEAR M'F'G CO. NEW YORK '1925' There is a drain hole in the bottom of the font container! When did Adlake stop making Armspear short globe lanterns? Was this lantern I described made after 1965 or earlier? Thanks in advance to all of the knowledgeable people on the website for helping us railfans learn more about our RR memorabilia. Posted Monday, February 1, 2021 by Vin R   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Photos ?  Posted Thursday, February 4, 2021 by JMS

A. Here are some photos.. Link 1  Posted Sunday, February 7, 2021 by Vin R

 Q3832 Monarch Steam/Air Whistle?  Does anyone recognize this? It is stamped 'Monarch Pat.' And has an original leather case (which makes me think it might have been a sample). The length is 17 in., and it has 2 threaded ports on the middle chamber. Any assistance is very appreciated. Thanks…   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, February 1, 2021 by Randall   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. My guess is this is a test or calibration instrument of some sort. The closest thing I have found so far is lever-operated boiler pressure test pumps, but they are somewhat different from your piece. This same kind of thing could be used for compressed air, steam, or hydraulic fluid applications. The case indicates it would be carried around to various field locations == which might have been locomotives, power plants, manufacturing plants, or ships and installed to make tests. What appears to be a ball joint on the top would let it be connected to some form of machinery in a flexible manner. The bottom arrangement looks like maybe an adjustment. The threaded ports would have to be connected to local piping. Can any of the parts extend to make a piston/cylinder arrangement? Are there any patent numbers or dates listed, since the Monarch name has been very commonly used and any additional info would be very helpful to zero in on the use of the item (which by the way, might not be of US or North American origin.)  Posted Wednesday, February 3, 2021 by RJMc

 Q3831 More Key IDs Needed  These are the next three keys I'm hoping some can identify for me. All 3 are MCRR. The first 2 are Bohannons and the third has no makers marks. There are many MC keys so hopefully some will recognize which MC these keys are. Thanks in advance for any help.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, January 21, 2021 by Jim   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Wilson Bohannon moved from Brooklyn,NY to Marion,Ohio in 1926. It looks like those 2 keys are marked for Brooklyn so that may help with the ID on them. WB has a very good company history on their website that includes catalogs from that era.  Posted Saturday, January 23, 2021 by KM

A. It would appear the key in the center is probably a Maine Central - it should have a DRAMATIC, very curved "COMMA" shape bit as this seems to (best way is to look at the END of the key -you should see a true comma shape with extremely curving, round "tail"). The other two likely are Michigan Central, per pictures in my Johnson book. The bit cuts do not appear to be for any of the other "MC" possibles, at least not that I can tell in Johnson.  Posted Thursday, February 4, 2021 by JMS

 Q3830 Books on RR Keys  Hope this finds everyone well at Railroadiana Online & at Home. I need some guidance. I have been interested in Don Stewart's books on RR Locks & Keys. I have not had either in my hands but have seen some pics online. I recently bought Railroad Locks & Keys by Barrett & Gross - nice book but the pics of the keys & bitting are terribly dark and hard for my old eyes to see. Because of my budget I have never been able to afford the older brass locks so I mostly have my collection of steel made RR locks & keys. Can you advise me as to which edition of Mr. Stewart's books on RR Locks & Keys should I look for? I see in your 'Books' section that Richard Chenovick has the 2nd edition. Does he have an email contact address? Thanks very much for the help & time.  Posted Monday, January 18, 2021 by Roy S   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. We do not have an email address for Mr. Chenovick, only the regular mail address, and even this has not been confirmed since 2015. People interested in the book may want to first send a SASE to confirm that the book is still available. Posted Monday, January 18, 2021 by Webmaster

A. There is a copy of Stewart's "Railroad Switch Keys & Padlocks"for sale on eBay as of 1/19 - see Link TWO below. It is the first listing in the result I got from doing an eBay search for "Railroad switch keys" "Don Stewart" . I have this book and it is great. Just keep looking on eBay if the one I mentioned is gone, they come along from time to time. I have another Stewart railroad key book, the Charles McQueen collection and find that one about useless as the illustrations are terrible. Best of luck!  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2021 by JMS

A. Sorry, I meant to include - RE: link 1, this copy has been sold but you can look at the listing and see what the inside pages are like. I do not know how many editions there were, but usually newer editions contain updates and corrections so in this case a first edition is not as good. To clarify, Link 2 is the actual search result for Stewart key books in the Railroad section on eBay - you can bookmark and keep using it.  Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2021 by JMS

A. Another excellent key ID guide is the "American Railways Switch Keys Directory" - there are over 600 key cuts illustrated - Link 1 is a copy for sale on eBay. If this sale is over, contact the Seller as he has multiple copies listed. Link 2 is to the home page of the good collector group Key Lock & Lantern where a great many resources are available.  Link 1  Link 2  Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2021 by JMS

A. For locks, I like "The Padlock Collector" Franklin Arnall , 6th edition. Watch the pricing on e-bay , as it goes up and down.  Posted Tuesday, January 19, 2021 by hv coll

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A. Hi Andy, I too have wanted lamps for my switch stands, and my search took me on a very long journey indeed. What complicates things is that different railroads had their own designs and standards for their signalling devices. If you send a PM to: lostshoeranch@shaw.ca, I will send you some info I have compiled on signal lamps for switch stands. That will get you started. It was tricky for me to finally get lamps for my switch stands but I can tell you it is well worth the wait- they look spectacular, even when not lit and really allows you to "step backwards in time". From Steve Barnett Posted Wednesday, March 31, 2021 by Steve B

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A. In Don Stewart's book 'Railroad Switch Keys & Padlocks', the end view is the lock key hole view not the end of the key. The M RY key looks like it could be a Midland Railway of Canada per "American Railways Switch Key Directory". Posted Monday, April 5, 2021 by SJW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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