new question (N&W Caboose Markers) - PHOTOS

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Tue Feb 23 15:32:47 EST 2016

Yesterday I posted some memories of N&W cabooses which had been
"electrified," and mentioned the ceiling light fixtures which I thought may
have come from passenger equipment.

Attached is a PDF showing one of these fixtures, which I obtained from a
wrecked caboose in the late 1970s. It is contained in a housing I framed up
from cut-down pieces of an old 2x10. Since the weather is not providing
good sunlight today, these photos had to be made by the less-than-desirable
flash method, and on the Boss Lady's kitchen table.

These fixtures were mounted on the ceilings of "electrified" cabooses, one
in each end. Beside each end door there was a standard snap switch (just
like in your home.) The wiring was, of course, placed in steel conduit.

The manufacturer of this fixture was Luminator, Inc., of Chicago. A web
search shows that Luminator is still in existence, under the name
"Luminator Technology Group." The part number appears to be "21 C.P. L.F.
L-9491," and the production date is stamped "3-1962 - 16." The question
then becomes: Where was this fixture between its manufacture date March
1962, and the time it was installed on a caboose more than a decade later?
Was it originally purchased for passenger car use, and held for years as
Company Material until it was installed on a caboose?

As will be seen, I removed the original double-contact bayonet base and
substituted a small plastic miniature screw-thread base. The lamp shown
here is a 5.2 volt #502 standard railroad lantern lamp. I burn my #502
lamps at 2.4 volts, and they give a nice glow and, at the reduced voltage,
generally last 10 years, even when lit 24/7/365.

The problem with any low voltage miniature screw base lamp, however,
especially when burned at a very small voltage, is that there is not enough
electrical potential ("voltage") to ionize any small amounts of oxidation
which develop over time on the lead-tip base and the brass bottom contact.
Translation: You have to be opening up the fixture about every six months,
and fiddling with a bulb which has lost electrical contact. Dipping the
threads in Pale Semaphore Oil, and drying them, before insertion helps
somewhat, but does not completely solve the oxidation problem.

So while I have this baby down for photography, I think I will change out
the base again and install a G-4 12 volt LED array using the SMD (surface
mounted device) package, and juice it at 10 volts. That should solve the
oxidation problem for good, and since LED's are rated for 50,000 hours
life, even when burned at full rated voltage, I will probably never have to
change out the LED again ! HA! The barnyard mechanic wins another one...

-- abram burnett
barnyard technician

Sent to You from my Telegraph Key
... better than AT&T 4G LTE

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