Last Update:  November 5, 2011
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Restoring an Adlake Locomotive Classification Lamp to OEM Function

The project is an Adlake Locomotive Classification Lamp.   Unlike the Dressel Switch Lamp, this lamp won't be put back into actual railroad service.   Instead it
will be put on display indoors and lighted.  However, the restoration process will still return the lamp back to as close to OEM spec as possible including using
the original lamp fixture.   One of the very nice things about this type of classification lamp is that the bulb socket and fixture will fit a standard 110 volt light
bulb and thus the lamp can be wired for indoor use, while retaining 100% of it's internal hardware and fixture.

Adlake was a major lantern and lamp manufacturer, among other products and was famous for designing and producing railroad lanterns, from hand lanterns
to switch lanterns to classification and marker lights among others.   Most of Adlake's lamps and lanterns were kerosene fired.   A few were electrical and the
featured here light is one of them.    The featured light was designed to be an electrical classification light from the beginning, powered off of the same
generator and electrical system on later steam engines that powered the headlight.

By the early 20th century, steam engines were being equipped with electrical generators and lighting systems, usually of around 32 volts.    Classification and
marker lights were always kerosene or oil fired lamps, but soon they were made to be electrically powered off of the same generator and system that powered
the headlights.

Adlake introduced its first electrical classification light, the model 1154, which was a steel helmet version.   The base of all versions were usually cast iron,
while the helmet (section containing the lenses) were made of various metals.  Early version were made of steel and later versions were made of cast
aluminum, such as this one.   A few rare models were made of bronze.   Cast aluminum versions were model number 1158.

It's not exactly clear when this type of lamp was first introduced by Adlake.  Their 1927 catalog indicates the steel helmet version existed as of at least that
date.   The 1940 catalog indicates the current above aluminum model was available.

What is clear, is that classification lamps like these were not often used on even the earlier diesel locomotives.  Diesel locomotives tended to have the
classification lamps integrated into the body of the locomotive and did not require external lamps.

This particular lamp most certainly saw service on a steam locomotive.  Which one and where, is entirely a mystery.  The lamp originally came from Grenville,
South Carolina, but it's unknown if that's the area it originally was used as absolutely no details were given on its origin and no additional markings on the
lamp give any further clues.

About locomotive Classification Lights

Classification lights are lights located on the front of steam locomotives that indicate what class that locomotive is operating under.   Class lights could also be
used as just plain marker lights, depending on what colors were used.   Green and white are classification lenses.  On a classification light, the lenses of the
same color were located perpendicular so that the same colors were be seen from both the front and side.   The lamp could be turned to indicate green or
white light.   Green lenses and lights (green flags during the day) indicated a regularly scheduled train but with an extra train following behind to carry
additional passengers on the same run.   White indicated that the train was the "extra" train, not shown in the time table.

In the days before dispatchers and radios, trains operated by a printed time table.  The printed table gave the trains the authority to operate, so long as they
stuck to the printed schedule.   If trains could not hold to the schedule they had to be further governed by train orders from station to station.   Trains not
listed in the time tables had to be identified by flags or lights that they were authorized to operate outside of the time table.  Most freight trains, which did not
operate on an extract time table were operated as "extras" and thus used white classification lights.

How the Adlake Lamp Operated

Some marker, classification lamps had a switch on the lamp itself to turn them on and off.   On this model, there appears to be no switch.  The lamp is
powered soon as it is plugged into a live electrical source.   The base of the lamp can be either a flange style that mounts on a flat plat, otherwise riveted to
the side of a locomotive, or with a bracket that slips into a slot that itself is riveted or welded to the locomotive.   The style of base mount, indicated what model
the lamp was.   The featured lamp uses a slot bracket style base.    A knob was pulled out which unlocked the lamp and allowed it to be turned independent of
the bulb, who's shield caused it to always forward.   The lamp could be rotated so that either white (clear) or green lenses were showing on the side and in
Railroad Hardware Restoration Project Series
Adlake Locomotive Classification Lamp
The SP&S 700, like most steam locomotives also operated classification lights.   In the first photo we can see the light mounted to the engine.  The model used by the SP&S 700
appears to be an Adlake model very similar if not exactly the same as the one featured in this article.    In the middle photo the classification lights are displayed to show white and are
turned on.   In the far right photo, the lights are rotated to show the green lenses.
The lamp looked like it had been removed and tossed aside, possibly when a steam locomotive was being scrapped, because the wire was cut and it had dirt and gravel inside
indicating it had been thrown onto the ground.   That the two clear lenses are missing, while the green ones are still in place hint at several possibilities.   One is that the lamp was
tossed off the locomotive and fell on the side of the clear lenses breaking them out.   Another is that they were robbed for spare parts and this lamp was simply in a shop somewhere
as a spare during its final years at the railroad.    The rare clear lenses have been purchased from
Jerry's RR Stuff, a great source of Railroad lantern parts.
Disassembly was a little difficult due to age and rust on the screws.  Here the lantern is now broken down into all of its removable parts.   Next up will be sanding and grinding in
preparation for paint.
The light now painted and reassembled and perfectly.
The light is finished and ready for display.    The light is designed to only show either the two white or two green lights.

Here's an explainantion from www.trains.coms on the meaning of the two different light colors.

White. Indicated an "extra" train not shown in the timetable. For much of railroad history, train-movement authority was granted by timetables. If a train was listed in the timetable, it had
the authority to operate according to its printed schedule. Deviations from the timetable, such as a train running late, were handled with train orders from the dispatcher. Under this
"timetable-and-train-order" system, it was important that trains kept as close to schedule as possible, and that any special trains not shown in the timetable be clearly identified as
such with a white light. Many freight trains operated as extras, and thus carried a white classification signal.

Green. Indicated that, while the train displaying the lights was a regularly scheduled one, a second section was following behind it. This was done, for example, when ridership
demand exceeded the capacity of a single passenger train. If there were too many passengers for a single section of, say, New York Central's 20th Century Limited, a second section
was operated, and, if needed, a third, fourth, fifth, and even sixth. The engine of each section except the last would display green lights. While each section was a separate entity, the
timetable's "train 25" would not be considered to have passed a given point until the last section of the train had gone by. For operational convenience, special trains that otherwise
might have carried white "extra" signals were sometimes operated as advance or second sections of regular, but unrelated, trains.