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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 about what something is worth -- see About Values. Also, no questions or replies selling or looking for items or services. This includes offers or contact information looking to buy items or services.

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. Stealing it from Ebay is a copyright violation! Also see our Frequently Asked Questions or FAQs page and our Contact Us page for questions that we cannot reply to.

Latest 25 Questions:

 Q2997 Dietz Vesta Lantern Globes  Were or are the Dietz Little Giant/Little Wizard Loc-Nob Globes interchangeable with the Dietz Vesta Lantern Globes? I've seen where some Dietz Vesta Lanterns have a Loc-Nob Globe. Thank you for taking the time to reply to my query.  Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2015 by RL   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The "Loc-Nob" ears press under the guard wires to prevent the globe from slipping out when tipped back. Since the Dietz Vesta has no such guard wires around the globe and does not tip back but instead is lifted straight up there are no Loc Nob Dietz Vesta globes. The Litte Wizzard/Giant globes are not interchangeable with the Vesta globes as far as I know. Posted Wednesday, July 29, 2015 by LN

A. LN Thank you for the reply. The Dietz Vesta lantern definitely has a red loc-nob globe in it and it was a listing on eBay. The lantern looked to be in great shape, but seeing those locking nobs on the globe kinda threw me for a loop as I hadn't seen that before. It was listed as a New York RR but the images show U.R.R. stamped on the lid. Another red flag. Posted Wednesday, July 29, 2015 by RL

A. In my opinion its not a correct Dietz Vesta globe. Some one stuck a loc nob Wizzard type globe in it. Not that uncommon on Ebay to get a lantern with the wrong globe stuck in it. The correct globe breaks and someone sticks a globe in it that "kind of fits but not quite". Posted Wednesday, July 29, 2015 by LN

A. Right. And the "New York" comes from the fact that the Dietz Co. was located in New York and that is stamped on the lantern; nothing to do with what RR may have bought or used the lantern. I am surprised we never hear about the "Pat. Pending" railroad.... Posted Friday, July 31, 2015 by RJMc

 Q2996 Builders Plate  Can anybody tell me about this bulders plate? I noticed the number 4 is smaller then the other plates I've seen and the letter 's' is bigger . This plate is made of cast iron. It's 11 inches by 7 inches, about 5 or 6 pounds. Is this a repo? Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, July 27, 2015 by RT   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is a builder's plate from a Pennsylvania Railroad K4s 4-6-2 Pacific type locomotive, one of the most famous classes of steam passenger locomotives ever built. The PRR had 425 of these machines, built in their own shops. They handled all passenger trains from lowly commuters up to and including the famous Broadway Limited. The S stands for "Superheated", which means that the steam was heated to a very high temperature to get the maximum expansion power. Usually the "4" is the same size as the "K" and the "s" is smaller. Why this plate is different I don't know. Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2015 by JN

A. This is a reproduction builder's plate. The pattern is totally different than the normal PRR class ovals. About 99% of the K4s plates were cast in bronze. The mounting bolt pattern is also incorrect. Hope that helps! Posted Saturday, August 1, 2015 by RJM

 Q2995 Starlite Lanter Model 222  I have a Conrail Starlite Lantern Model 222. Can anyone tell me when it might have been made? Conrail would date it back to at least 1976 and I know that the current model is the #292. Thank you for any info that you can provide. Posted Saturday, July 25, 2015 by JN   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. The Link is to the Star Headlight and Lantern Co. website, showing they are a 5th generation family-owned business and giving a lot of the company history, and contact info. If there is any kind of ID number on your lantern they can probably tell you exactly when it was made. See also prior Q 2908 for a lot of discussion of this type of lantern. Link 1  Posted Saturday, July 25, 2015 by RJMc

 Q2994 Plate/Engine Identification  I had posted earlier an inquiry about a number on a Baldwin builder's plate and the answer proved to be dead on.. I am just wondering how you folks cross-reference the builder number to the actual engine name and number? Thanks!  Posted Saturday, July 25, 2015 by PFL   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. When a railroad orders a locomotive (even today with diesels) The builder's number is recorded on all the documents, just like the vin number on an automobile. If you can get the builder's list of numbers then you can cross reference.  Posted Saturday, July 25, 2015 by JN

A. As mentioned above, the builder's number is a key piece of ID for everybody concerned in producing and purchasing a locomotive. The challenge is finding the info long after the manufacturer has gone out of business, been merged a few times, had a major fire in the records room, etc. See the last entry to prior Q 2974 which describes where a bunch of the Baldwin company official records ended up, and are available to the public over the web today. The Lima Loco and BLH records were preserved essentially complete by the Allen County Historical Society of Lima, OH when BLH went out of business. Many ALCO records were preserved, but not in as comprehensive a manner and not all in one place. But for Q 2983, just doing a routine web search on "ALCO Builder Number xxxx" turned up the answer very quickly (but it doesn't always work that easily....)  Posted Saturday, July 25, 2015 by RJMc

 Q2993 Very Old Locomotive Model  I have a model of a locomotive made in 1870. It seems like it was made as an apprentice project by two young engineers. I think the makers decided to call it 'Engineer' and I was wondering if such locomotive actually existed or at least a locomotive with a similar name? I also noticed two railroad buttons attached as decorative elements on this locomotive. It looks like they picture the similar locomotive. Thank you. Regards,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, July 18, 2015 by Roma   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Looks distinctly European to me, with the buffers on the back. Maybe German or English. Posted Monday, July 20, 2015 by RJM

A. It is, indeed, most likely an "apprentice piece" and, based on the loco's and the builder's names and the design, it is almost certainly British. It is a model of a type of locomotive that was popular in Britain in the 1840s. Posted Monday, July 20, 2015 by JAJ

 Q2992 Lamp ID Needed  You guys did real good on the marine deck lantern. How about the age on this one? Small Lenses, marked SLSF RY   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Saturday, July 18, 2015 by BJ   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hi, SLSF RY stand for the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, more commonly know as "The Frisco Line". It appears to be a switch lamp. Posted Monday, July 20, 2015 by wdpdepot

A. Hi again BJ, You didn't mention it,but this is a Handlan St Louis mfr'd switchlamp.Assuming that the top cap wasn't replaced in a damage repair,it should state this... DJB Posted Monday, July 20, 2015 by DJB

A. Hi BJ, Take a look or take a pix of the top ventilator cap.If it has the mfr's name and city in 2 straight lines above and below each other,its a fairly old model,probably from the 40's and earlier.If it has the mfr and city in a circle around the outer edge of the cap,its a much later lamp.Another indication of age is the fact that the top hinges open instead of a sliding door to service the fount and burner.That seemed to be the more approved design as time progressed but some roads may have hung on to the hinged-open top later than others.The real experts can pinpoint the production dates of these various features better than I but this will serve to jumpstart the info machine. DJB Posted Monday, July 20, 2015 by DJB

A.  adding to DJB's astute comments – The small lenses are uncommon, as most older Handlans found today have all 5 3/8 inch lenses. It most assuredly has the straight line lettering on the cap. The lamp originally came without day targets as it has the short stemmed wick adjusting knob on the side. The lamp is in very good condition. – As always, and in particular because of the overall good condition and rare small lenses; I STRONGLY suggest that you leave it just as it is and -DO NOT- attempt to repaint it!! –-- Frisco and Handlan had a long, as far as I know, an exclusive relationship; perhaps a loyalty cemented by the fact that they were both headquartered in St Louis. I have never come across a FRISCO marked Adlake or Dressel lamp in all the years I’ve been collecting. (same case for the Missouri Pacific) …anyone else?? ---- …. Red Beard  Posted Monday, July 20, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Well Red Beard, since you asked. I'm in the East and right now on my garage floor I've a stainless Dressel electric marked in the socket StL&FRISCO and 2 kerosene Dressels socket marked MO.P and have also had a few Dressels marked MOPAC in the socket as well. I sold 2 Dressel reflex lamps a couple months ago with the same Frisco cast in socket markings. It's a bit unusual to find these so far from "home" and perhaps somewhat unusual a long time collector like yourself hasn't come across any in home territory yet. Seems a little like my experience with NKP switchlamps, they had a yard and terminal in town, but I've never come across a marked NKP switchlamp. As for the straight line Handlan lettering on the top, that seems to have changed in the late 20' or early 30's to the circular design. Posted Tuesday, July 21, 2015 by JFR

A. If those Dressels ar the ones I am thinking of, they came into Frisco in the late 70's and not too much before the BN merger. We used to call them "Cannonball" type. Also the small ones was "National Pile" BJ By the way this is a great site. Posted Tuesday, July 21, 2015 by BJ

A. Red Beard, thanks for the memory jog, I haden't heard anyone refer to the porcelain rings as day targets, in many years. It didn't really ring home, but the reflective targets were in use when I went to work in the track in 1970. They was easily seen at night and we phased them out, replacing most with the lift style lanterns that was easier to replace the oil and adjust the burner. The other types, reflective came out, because many of the oil burning lanterns walked off.  Posted Tuesday, July 21, 2015 by BJ

A. Thanks for all the excellent replies. A good friend picked three of these up in St Louis years ago. We were both supervisors for Frisco. Here is a couple more photos. He gave me one.  Link 1  Posted Monday, July 27, 2015 by BJ

A. As some have said the Hanlan St Louis is straight line. The wick adjustment on the side, did those have some kind of a rod that attached to the burner? Sounds like the answers reflect the 20's or 30's Thanks BJ Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2015 by BJ

 Q2991 Lantern ID Needed  I have tried over several years to identify this type lantern. Can you help? Its a Dietz but what is the use, if you have seen one like this?   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Thursday, July 16, 2015 by BJ   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This was called the World Standard Deck Lantern by Dietz. Used by the Navy in WW1, these were made for Dietz by the Perkins Marine Co. Posted Thursday, July 16, 2015 by JJ

A. These were also called 'Dark Lanterns' as described in the Link, for including a built-in shield to close off the light quickly in blackout situations. The link has good pix of the same style made by various mfrs. Link 1  Posted Thursday, July 16, 2015 by RJMc

 Q2990 Restoration Question  I have a Handlan caboose lamp that I want to clean and restore. On the top of the lamp is a flip top cover that attaches to a base piece. This base piece has two small notches on it that when turned would match up with two small dimples on the stack thus allowing the top to be removed. I have tried turning this piece and have applied penetrating solvent to break any rust or corrosion with no luck turning it. Am I on the right track with my observations on removing this piece? It would make cleaning and restoring a lot easier. Thank you for any help!!  Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2015 by RD   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is hard without a picture, but look for a spring under the cap that may be holding spring tension on the part, you may need to press down to depress the spring and then turn.  Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2015 by RJMc

A.  RD: here’s my advice. 1) DON’T “Restore” it! Clean it up with some detergent, hot water and a soft brush. Sit with the cleaned up lamp as it is for a year or so just as it is and let it grow on you. -- Hobbyists are RUINING historic old pieces on an ongoing basis by attempting to “restore” lamps! – You will never be able to make it look like it did when it was new. You cannot find the original paint they were painted with. As an experienced collector, the refinished lamps I constantly see for sale on line look absolutely AWFUL! The finish on them screams “fake”. – Per my suggestion, clean it up a bit (but not too much) and let it grow on you. – By cleaning it too much, you are removing irreplaceable traces of history! – the grime on the lamp was deposited by decades actual use on the railroad; soot from countless diesels and steam engines rumbling past settled on that lamp while it kept silent sentry on its switch stand. That’s irreplaceable. – In the bottom of the lamp is a fine to heavy layer of grime from countless re-fillings of kerosene plus a good mixture of soot from burning the lamp, which carries a certain fragrance from a bygone era; in the stack too! If you wash that authentic railroad smell out of the lamp you are destroying an historic element of the lamp that you will never be able to replace! ..believe it or not, over time you will come to appreciate that scent; it is uniquely railroad, and once you remove it, you will never be able to smell that authentic fragrance again from a bygone era. Likewise, any soot or dust on the back of the lenses is testament to years of actual railroad service. It signifies that you own a lamp that was actually used on the railroad. I could go on and on. In my younger days, I refinished/restored countless lamps (and I was pretty good at it). Today, I deeply regret having done that, as they look nothing like the authentic finish of the ones I did not “Restore”. Trust me; your taste will change over time, and you will come to greatly appreciate the original condition of your lamp! ---- NOW, to answer your actual question; you’re close, but you’ve got it backwards. The notches and dimples do line up, BUT by reaching inside the lamp and turning the cone that’s inside the stack, you can remove the vent cone; not the top of the lamp, that is a fixed part of the body. ---- Please do think about what I’ve said regarding leaving the lamp in its current, historical condition. ---- …. Red Beard  Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. oops, you said caboose lamp, not switch lamp; though the same applies ---- .... Red Beard Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. I tried Red Beard's suggestion when I started my collection but strangely my wife didn't appreciate the dirt, soot, grime and dust not to mention "the fragrance of a by gone era" in the house. So I now clean everything and even restored some items before bringing them in the house. Happy wife, happy life. Posted Thursday, July 16, 2015 by GK

A. RD, it sounds to me like you should consider buying pieces that have already been restored. Since they're already done, you are blameless and can enjoy them with absolutely no guilt! We recently saw a cable TV show where a high-end professional restoration company took in a woman's toy ride-on truck that was her grandfather's. It was old and a bit faded with some dents but nothing really horrific. Famous company charged big bucks to make it totally like new again and the lady was delighted. Our view is completely different: every little bump and dent from Grandpa's little behind was gone. All the paint that his little hands touched was gone. All the scratches from the sidewalk where he rode it were gone. They had replaced some old brass on it, and you couldn't tell what was new from what was old. The truck looked like some brand new thing out of Toys-R-Us, all that remained was the old metal underneath a totally new finish. There was not even the slightest hint that it ever had anything to do with Grandpa. We thought this was just so terribly sad...... And I might mention "Antique Roadshow" where we see all kinds of furniture pieces that have been refinished, worth maybe $500 bucks as-is, but had they been left in original finish the value would have been $100,000. Railroad relics can be the same way. Just consider that even a good refinish destroys collector value, and if someday in the future you must sell, you'll very possibly be very sorry. One last thought -- If you're spending the many hours necessary to restore your lamps, you must be doing it in the basement or garage or a workshop so as to keep soot, dirt, grime and fragrance out of the home. Personally, as the lady of our house, I would prefer my husband to spend that kind of time with me, instead of a lamp.  Posted Thursday, July 16, 2015 by JS

A. JS: Nice to know that there are some ladies reading this drivel I grind out. Thanks for the supportive words. -- I rue the day that I (in my twenties) took two dozen+ lamps to have them bead blasted. --- I predict, and at the same time, am very concerned about the idea that 50 years from now the eBay equivalent will reflect your furniture scenario in future railroad lamp prices, with "un-restored" pieces fetching prices many times that of repainted ones; more and more original (read authentic)condition pieces are being destroyed every year by neophyte collectors. ---- .... Red Beard Posted Thursday, July 16, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. We railfans are an odd lot; we'll take a beautiful and expensive HO boxcar and spend hours trying to make it look old, rusty and decrepit and call it "weathered", because it then looks more authentic; but when we come up with an authentically weathered and aged switch lamp, we want to spend hours making it look "new". ---- .... Red Beard Posted Thursday, July 16, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Red Beard: I hear you! But the way it seems to be going I fear for any interest in US history at all, by then... it's bad enough now with schools seemingly teaching everything else but.... Indeed in almost every collecting area the holy grail is an unrestored actual condition with value determined by how pristine (or not) it is.... LOL, suggestion, maybe RD should attempt to get the wife interested in china or another area like prints, calendar artwork, heritage train rides, etc and she might become more understanding about smelly old greasy things .... The only thing I can say about "restoration" is that it is better than "repurposing" where ignoramuses destroy an old piece to make it into something different that they think is "cool." If they knew what they had and could determine an actual true value I would not mind so much, but they don't. So the rarest old lantern, or lock, or plate, or ? that a collector gladly would pay an arm for, could fall victim to a "steampunker" who only sees a junker and destroys the last artifact from one of the rarest shortlines.  Posted Wednesday, July 22, 2015 by JS

 Q2989 Cannonball Electric Switch Lamp  Here are pictures of what I think is a cannonball electric railroad switch lamp. I cannot find any manufacture's name or railroad name or initials on the lamp. I have located numbers on the lamp in the following places: (1) 1284 on the outside of the rectangular socket which is located in the center of the base of the lamp where it sits on top of the switch stand (2) 13102 on the inside of the rectangular socket. The lamp appears to have been painted black. There is the slight impression of a rectangle in the metal at the exact top of the lantern, two inches in length and 1/2 inch in width. I cannot tell if there is any lettering at this location. The lamp has four lenses (two red and two teal which I think would be green when the lamp light would be on). The dimension of all four lenses is five inches. Each lens has a 30 degree mark cast in the center of the lens. I would appreciate any information as to age, manufacturer, railroad if possible, years this type of lamp would have been used and any other information that can be provided. If you have any questions, I will attempt to answer. Thank you in advance,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2015 by CRK   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. CRK: I'm thinking that is an ADLAKE base with the "1284" on it. Look again real close and see if that is actually "1264", which is the standard ADLAKE base on 1112 lamps. I've seen photos of these lamps before and have always assumed they were ADLAKE because of the base, though I can't find them on this site and it's odd that Adlake wouldn't mark them. -- Take a look at Q2706; is yours the same lamp?? the foot tabs on your base are longer. Does your base attach with four rivets or eight? Four would be a Dressel base and eight would be an ADLAKE. -- Throw a magnet on the body; is it iron or aluminum? --- RJMc,does this lamp show up in any of your books? ---- .... Red Beard Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Closest I see (in the same reference) is the Adlake Model 1162 exactly as described in Q 2706. Don't see anything from Dressel close to this. It is strange that they didn't mark them. (Any chance the RR made their own? Maybe using some purchased parts from Adlake? N&W still had very capable facilities in Roanoke Shops, including foundries which certainly could have handled casting these in aluminum or steel, even into the 1970's). Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2015 by RJMc

A. Red Beard: Thanks for your quick response. The number on the base is actually 1264. Using a magnet, the body is aluminum and the base is cast iron. The base is attached to the body by eight rivets. I looked at the pictures in Q2706 and that lamp appears to be very simular to the one I have. I agree with your observation that the foot tabs on my lamp appear to be longer. Based on this, am I to assume that the manufacturer of my lamp is ADLAKE and the model number is 1112? If you have any thoughts as to the approximate age of my lamp and span of years that it may have been used, I would appreciate you letting me know. Thanks again, CRK Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2015 by CRK

 Q2988 Two-Tone Globes  Does anyone have any information on the two tone globes that were used in the presentation lanterns? The colors are ​Green over Clear, Blue over clear, and red over clear. Who used these​ color globes​​ in the lanterns,​ conductors​ or someone else on the train​?? Also, what were these colors was used for? What is the rarest of these three colors to find? Also did fireman on the railroad use the red over clear globes specifically? Thank you.  Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2015 by PRR Girl   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Hello. The first Link is to the page elsewhere here on the RRiana site which is all about globes in general. The second Link is to the next page, which is all about two color globes in particular. These should be helpful. Link 1  Link 2  Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2015 by RJMc

 Q2987 RR Tags?  Does anyone know what these tags are? Left one appears to show I.C.R.R. / PASS on obverse and 44 T on the reverse. Right one has I.C.R.R. / P.... (Pass) on obverse and 1067 on reverse. Both are 28mm. Suspect they are railroad, but then again, maybe not. Thanks for any help.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, July 12, 2015 by Larry in Oregon   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I would say they are definitely railroad tags, but the question is 'what for'. I've seen tags like this before, but not with PASS stamped on them, and they were tool checks that employees exchanged for tools at the locomotive and car shops. I can't tell you more about these but an Illinois Central expert on here will surely know. Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2015 by Steve B.

A. At one time I collected Civil War "things". These pieces look dug and may be slave tags permitting rail travel when their specific services/skills were rented out to other land owners. These slaves usually had high level marketable skill sets, i.e., carpenter, potter, etc. BTW, slave tags are only know to have existed in the South Carolina area IIRC. Posted Tuesday, July 21, 2015 by JSM

A. Interesting theory, but the Link shows that the Illinois Central RR was not extended south out of the State of Illinois until the 1870's and later. Another possible use would have been key tags. Major shops had both 'passenger' and 'freight' car facilities, and key tags and tool tags would have been used in both so the 'pass' would refer to the passenger shop.  Link 1  Posted Friday, July 31, 2015 by RJMc

 Q2986 Plate ID Needed  I have builder's plate from an 1886 Baldwin but can't seem to look up the number anywhere. Any ideas? Would at least like to know the configuration of the engine and at best a photo of it. Picture attached. Thanks!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, July 12, 2015 by PFL   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. My Baldwin records indicate this plate was from a 2-4-2T built for J E Henry Lumber Co as their #1 also named "Peggy" an added note in the listing also says Sawyer River RR Posted Tuesday, July 14, 2015 by CD

 Q2985 Another Heritage Kero Not Listed?  Up popped what I think are Adlake Heritage lanterns on Ebay. There are two lanterns listed they are: The first is an Adlake Kero Lantern marked R&GV RR with Blue Globe marked M&PP RY (Manitou and Pikes Peak). That lantern is listed on your Heritage page but the globe isn't. The second is unclear. The picture looks like it says Adlake Railroad on the top. The picture is cut off but the last part of the word is 'road'. The lantern is marked Cog Wheel Rt and it comes with an unmarked red globe. Any thoughts?  Posted Tuesday, July 7, 2015 by BB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

 Q2984 Cleaning Info and Container ID  After reading most of the cleaning info, I'm wondering: I have some powdered Super Iron Out and want to know if I can use it for soaking my lanterns? If yes, please recommend amounts and procedures. I also have a related item that I have no idea what it is. Heavyish, metal container, about 8 inches tall, that has a top section that unscrews to fill with something. Has a thick 'wick' that comes out a hole on the top piece, that has a kind of dauber-type end on it. Can you possibly know what this may be from my description. Thanks so much,  Posted Monday, July 6, 2015 by FG   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. sounds like a railroad torch a picture wood help Posted Monday, July 6, 2015 by mj

A. I'm not familiar with Super Iron Out, but do know that you want to be somewhat careful with what chemicals you use as the metal is quite thin in a number of different places. If the lantern is severely rusted and you aren't careful with the cleaning you'll end up with a lantern with holes in it. Personally, I like to use lye and hot water process for lanterns which are in rough shape and are rusted. Some lanterns are too far gone and are best left alone. It took me several years of experience to realize that some shouldn't be cleaned depending on their condition. Experience will tell you which lanterns can be improved by cleaning and which ones should be avoided as cleaning will only ruin them further. Steve B. Posted Tuesday, July 7, 2015 by Steve B.

A. Thanks, Steve B., for your reply. I'll give your suggestions some thought. FG Posted Wednesday, July 8, 2015 by FG

 Q2983 Builders Plate ID?  Can anyone tell me what Railroad and type of engine this builders plate comes from? It is cast Iron that someone has painted to look like brass.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, July 6, 2015 by KL   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. I don't think anyone was trying to fool anybody about it being brass; its just that the loco it was on got painted yellow, probably more than once, and probably not very carefully since this type of diesel often led a very tough life in the 1950's and later. The yellow paint will be excellent evidence for where it came from, when somebody can check the builder's number and tell us who Alco/GE sold it to.  Posted Thursday, July 9, 2015 by RJMc

A. The Link is a comprehensive listing of Alco S1's including built dates, builder no's, and original owners. It shows this builder number delivered on Inland Steel diesel no. 66 in 4/1945. Link 1  Posted Thursday, July 9, 2015 by RJMc

A. Thank You, RJMc for your in-sight on the paint job. What seemed like a bad paint job has become an authentic piece of Railroad history. I had originally planned on sanding it down and re-painting it, but now I might just leave it original. Thanks for your help and research. KL  Posted Sunday, July 12, 2015 by KL

 Q2982 Badge  I have a badge that measures 2-inches tall by 1 3/4-inches wide that is metal, and silver in color. It reads patrolman at the top; it had a South Carolina state seal in the center and reads state of South Carolina around the seal and around that it reads Southern Railway. Can you shed any light on what this may be? Many thanks.  Posted Monday, July 6, 2015 by DB   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. its a railroad police badge Posted Monday, July 6, 2015 by mj

 Q2981 What is it?  I acquired this light from the estate of a railroad collector. It is about 11 in. in diameter. It has a clear bulb in the center of the reflector and an amber bulb at the top. The power cord looks new but the light looks fairly old. The only identification is 'Brown Reflector Co. Boston' which is engraved on the reflector. Can you tell me what it is? Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Friday, July 3, 2015 by AG   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. This is almost certainly an antique automobile or (maybe fire)truck headlight, likely from about 1920 or so. The clues are the post-type mounting on the side and the yellow 'parking' or 'fog' light bulb. The link shows a similar one mounted on an auto. Link 1  Posted Friday, July 3, 2015 by RJMc

A. The following link is to a good pic of lights very similar to yours on a classic fire truck. Note that most fire trucks carried search lights that were very similar to their headlights; I think the amber lamp in yours argues that it was a headlight, not a searchlight. Link 1  Posted Saturday, July 4, 2015 by RJMc

 Q2980 Southern Railway System Map  I need more information on this Southern Railway System Map. I believe it is fairly common, but any information on this type of map or rarity (nothing on value please) would be greatly appreciated. Please excuse the quality of the pictures. Was in a hurry. Thanks.   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Sunday, June 28, 2015 by TP   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Common - yes, but rare today. Railroads liked maps! They liked people (especially shippers) to know where all they went and what other lines they connected with. Railroads would give this style of map to shippers (for business) and to schools (for good public relations). Many railroad offices also had maps like this for employees to reference, especially freight and passenger sales offices. -- Not many of them survived though, making them rare finds today! Yours appears to be in especially good condition, with little or no damage to the edges; which frequently gathered lots of small tears. It truly appears to be in near mint condition! --- I would guess to be 1950s or early 1960s as it shows either an "F" unit or "E" unit in the upper corners, which were respectable power in those years. As railroads wanted to present a "modern", up to date, cutting edge public appearance, they always used "state of the art" equipment on anything the public or shippers saw. Past the early 1960s, other, newer power would likely have been chosen. ---- .... Red Beard Posted Sunday, June 28, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. I'd have that professionally framed with acid free back board and UV glass to preserve it for future generations. Posted Monday, June 29, 2015 by PF

A. Red Beard - thanks for your response! Your guess of it being from the 1950s is very good as after I posted the question I found it dated "PRINTED NOVEMBER 1948" on the lower right hand corner. Because it was stored in a mailing tube in a secured and water tight shipping container, it has no damage - the only defect is a tiny hole by the middle "S" in System. Thats it. It still has its original mounting rings tied to string which is stapled to the WOOD strip at the top. Wood on bottom too. ADDITIONAL POSTS ARE WELCOMED!! :) Posted Monday, June 29, 2015 by TP

 Q2979 Book on RR Lamps?  I am just amazed at the depth of information displayed here by certain individuals on train lamps, etc. Does anyone know of any good books, with plenty of photos, that I may purchase on this subject? I went to my local public library and found nothing. Has anyone in this group considered writing such a book....Red Beard???  Posted Friday, June 26, 2015 by JPH   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. You need to locate copies of "The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Railroad Lighting" written by Richard Barrett with research assistance from Joseph Gross, published by Railroad Research Publications of Rochester, NY. Vol. I on railroad hand lanterns has 389 full-size heavily illustrated pages on the history and products of every North American lantern manufacturer and type that the authors could locate, and they worked very hard at it, going directly to the surviving manufacturers, to historical catalogs, and to many collectors for info. Vol. I saw at least three reprintings between 1994 and 2003. Vol. II is of similar size and comprehensiveness to cover railroad lamps, including markers, classification lights, etc. Vol II is harder to locate but we refer to it very often. These have also been reproduced soft-bound. Unfortunately Vol. III, which was intended to cover headlights, was never completed. Another useful reference is the book "Lanterns That Lit Our World." by Anthony Hobson. It is far smaller and less comprehensive than the Barrett volumes, but often provides a counterpoint of the non-railroad applications of many lamps and lanterns.  Posted Friday, June 26, 2015 by RJMc

A. And the above books and others are listed in the "Book List" elsewhere here on the Railroadiana site, see the Link. Link 1  Posted Friday, June 26, 2015 by RJMc

A. JPH: thank you for the encouragement on that. At some point I'd like to publish what I've rambled on about here. Having grown up in a railroad town, I saw many lamps while they were still in use on the railroads. I was also fortunate enough to have acquired a few of them back then, so much of what I write about is the first hand knowledge of experience. --- Do know this though; I have probably tripled that knowledge base over the past few years by carefully studying the photos on eBay! Most sellers put multiple detailed photos on their eBay listing. Those detailed photos, at different angles, are an amazing resource for those of us doing ongoing research!! -- I suggest taking some time each week and pouring through the listings under both "Railroad Lamp" and "Railroad Lantern", as lamps and lanterns end up in both categories. -- Truth be told, ..if it weren't for the excellent questions you guys post on here, it wouldn't occur to me to write about any of that stuff! - If I did produce a book, what would you like to see in there? - Seriously; give me some ideas, Thanks again, ---- .... Red Beard Posted Friday, June 26, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. JPH; ..feel free to email me directly as well (and any other readers) at.. RailroadRaider@Gmail.com ---- .... Red Beard Posted Saturday, June 27, 2015 by Red Beard the Railroad Raider

A. Good suggestions, another one I like is David Dreimiller's Signal Lights book. If you're patient, you should be able pick up a copy on ebay for less (sometimes much less) than $40.00. The link is for info only, price listed there is VERY "optimistic". ' . Link 1  Posted Monday, June 29, 2015 by JFR

 Q2978 Tool Info Needed  I'm involved with the history museum in Waterloo, Illinois. We have a tool that is marked M. M. Buck Mfg. No. 3 1/8 in. to 1 1/2 Cochrans Pat. Oct. 6-94. It's a wrench a little over a foot long. When I enter the above information I come to your website. Can you give me any help identifying this tool? Thank You,   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Monday, June 22, 2015 by GW   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. Your piece is a Cochran Universal Pipe Wrench. I found it on page 143 of my 1900 MM Buck catalogue. Depending on the size, it sold for $2, $3 or $4. It was advertised as works well in corners and flat places, close to ceilings and partitions. Posted Monday, June 22, 2015 by Bob F

A. This is a fairly fancy form of 'Alligator Wrench', sometimes also called a 'Goat Wrench.' The 'alligator' resemblance is obvious. The Link discussion explains the 'Goat' may be because goats only have teeth on one side - just like this wrench.  Link 1  Posted Monday, June 22, 2015 by RJMc

A. There are several references to these wrenches being used on the railroads, for example on locomotives to remove and install brake hoses and other hardware. They would have been attractive for that kind of service because a single wrench could deal not only with multiple pipe sizes, but also nut and bolt sizes, avoiding the need for lots of different tools which would tend to 'wander off' and not be available when really needed.  Posted Tuesday, June 23, 2015 by RJMc

 Q2977 BLW Plate ID Needed  Was wondering if anyone could tell me what railroad(s) these Baldwin builders plates come from and what type of locomotive? They are numbered 64734 and 70831. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks.  Posted Monday, June 15, 2015 by NG   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. BLW #64734 is off ATSF #2208, listed as DE 1000HP Diesel BLW #70831 is off ATSF #5025 a 2-10-4 with 30x34 cylinders and 74" drivers. Posted Tuesday, June 16, 2015 by railroadcollectibles

A. I appreciate the information. These two plate came up at a local estate auction and i was trying to get an idea if they were atsf or not. Anyway I was outbid at 425 each even tho im sure they are worth more than that a little expensive for my personal collection but was still able to acquire other items for for collection there. Thanks for the help with the information. Posted Thursday, June 18, 2015 by ng

 Q2976 CPR Lamp  I recently acquired a Canadian Pacific railway Aladdin model B brass caboose interior lantern with wall bracket in mint condition and would like as much info on the lamp as you could give. Thanks .  Posted Wednesday, June 10, 2015 by AP   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. need a picture Posted Thursday, June 11, 2015 by mj

 Q2975 Railroad Cats Eye Crossing Sign  I am considering a purchase of a cat’s eye glass marble crossing sign. The pictures included are of the back and the other is of the front. Is it real and has it been restored or not? I need any information you can provide as I have no experience with these type of Grade Crossing Signs. Thanks a lot!!   [Click on image for larger version.] Posted Tuesday, June 9, 2015 by TP   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. it docent look like its been restored the back covers our there looks like someone cut the brackets off the back and its missing some cats eyes other then that it looks good for its age Posted Tuesday, June 9, 2015 by mj

A. Cats eyes glass (originals) you can use for replacements do come along on eBay. You will need a specific type, they are usually identified on the back. if you buy the sign you can pull one out and see what it says then look for that type on ebay. They are N-O-T cheap, BTW.  Posted Friday, June 26, 2015 by JMS

 Q2974 Baldwin Plates  How or where can you look up Baldwin locomotive plates to see what railroad they came from? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.  Posted Sunday, June 7, 2015 by Nicholas   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. If you post the const numbers on on here, most of the time they will be ID'd for you. The R&LHS used to offer copies of the records, which is where I got mine. Not sure of an on line search for Baldwin, like there is for EMD.  Posted Tuesday, June 9, 2015 by CD

A. Thanks for the advice cd i will look for and post the numbers in a seperate question. Thanks  Posted Sunday, June 14, 2015 by ng

A. For future reference, The DeGolyer Library at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX has a very large collection of parts of the official Baldwin Locomotive Works company records (see Link). There are some very detailed specification sheets and engineering drawings, as well as sales information and customer listings. Much of this info has been scanned or microfilmed, and is now available online and can be downloaded. Somewhat unfortunately, these records mostly deal with earlier Baldwin products (mostly before 1931) but there is some later material, on BLH diesels for example. I have not yet found a single listing or index of builder's numbers cross-referenced to purchasers in these records, but one may be in there. The DeGolyer Library has undergone a major renovation over several recent years and this material only became accessible again quite recently.  Link 1  Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2015 by RJMc

 Q2973 Dietz #6 Globe  Has anyone ever seen a globe cast DIETZ 6 RR around the top in smallish letters that is actually 5-3/8 inch tall? We know the standard/correct height for Dietz 6 frames is a 6 inch globe -- but this globe is definitely only 5-3/8 inch tall. Wondering if it is fake - ? Thank you for any assistance!  Posted Thursday, June 4, 2015 by JS   Post a Reply  Email a reply

A. There are 5&3/8 versions of the Dietz #6, but they are very rare. I'd say your globe is legit. No reason for anyone to fake anything like that.  Posted Friday, June 5, 2015 by JFR

A. Have a 53/8 red cast Corning B&M with a small 6 at top. Also a Corning 53/8 clear cast U.P. with a small 5 at top. Many of my other globes have a small number at top. Could it be a code as to color or type of base ? Posted Friday, June 5, 2015 by Donald Cassaday DC