Electric switch lantern? No. 2

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Wed Sep 7 10:14:44 EDT 2016

To answer Mr. Rineair's question...

My GUESS is that the sequence was as follows.

1. The Peter Gray Bostons appear to have been the earliest.
2. Followed by the Adlakes, of which Mr. Blackstock provided a photograph.
3. Followed by the cast iron "cannonball" type furnished by WRRS (Western
Rail Road Supply Co.)

In the attached photo, the WRRS "cannonball" type is shown at right. Its
advbantage was that the body was maintenance free, once installed. The lens
retaining rings were stainless steel and did not rust, and even if the
paint weathered off the bodies, they were cast iron and would not rust
away. So the only real maintenance was replacing the lamp as needed, and
replacing the battery (if used.) After electric switch markers came around,
no one wiped the lenses, and they were filthy with accumulted grime.

My memories are more than a half-century old, but I think I recall about as
many of Mr. Blackstock's Adlakes as of the Peter Gray Bostons. But by the
time I came around, the WRRS "cannonballs" far outnumbered both the earlier

Wish I had taken more photographs of the work-a-day ingredients of
railroading (lamps, signals, structures, and even people.) But back then,
we were pretty uninformed and most cameras were trained only on lokies. Now
that the good stuff is gone, it is too late.

(As an exercise, take a walk through some of Lucius Beebe's early books.
All lokie shots, all from the same boring angle. All devoid of context like
buildings, people, other scenery. And therefore all looking the same. After
six or seven pages, you put the book back on the shelf The most interesting
railroad photographs are those which provide context and orientation, which
serve as a matrix for interpretation. End of sermon, end of rant... back to
sleep! )

-- abram burnett
superannuated brakezman

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

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