Guess what. It’s not a traffic light for once. It’s a Crouse Hinds Plate instead. No idea what this was from. I’ve asked around and heard a few suggestions. It’s an engraved brass plate (engraved… More
This signal pretty much fell into my lap. Someone contacted me through the website. Showed me a couple pictures of the light. I was figuring I’d have to make the trek to Eastern Massachusetts to get it, but lucky for me, the owner was going fishing on Lake Ontario and would pass right by me, so we met up and I took the light for a ride to it’s new home. It joined the rest of the group in September 2019. It’s signal number 21 for me if you’re keeping score at home plus it’s Harrington number two, too!!
A little bit about the company:
The Harrington-Seaberg Corporation was founded in Moline, IL in 1920 by Fred Harrington and Severin Seaberg. The original company was known as the Harrington Machine and Electric Company and they primarily manufactured fire alarm boxes.
In 1923 the company changed its name to the Harrington-Seaberg and produced a line of traffic signals and beacons. Harrington-Seaberg was bought out by the Gamewell Corporation in 1929. Gamewell also owned Eagle Signal, and Eagle distributed Harrington-Seaberg signals until it introduced the Eaglelux in the early 1930s.
Now a little bit about the signal. This signal came from Eastern Massachusetts. The guy who contacted me said he saw it in a friends barn over 20 years ago. He likes and restores old things so he got the light. Not sure how long it was in there but by the looks of it and the condition, probably was in there for quite a long time. It’s in really good shape for its age. Old lights were made to last and it could still serve some intersection well even today, except for maybe some new wiring on the outside. Like many of my lights, the wiring outside of the head is really rough, but still there for being close to 90 years old.
It’s old. It’s a bit dirty on the outside. It’s got the off the street look that I love.
The wiring on the outside is a bit sketchy looking. Probably a bit of asbestos in the wiring. Cool huh? Still, for how old it is, not bad and it’s still there!
Lenses. Yes it has them. I couldn’t believe there were 11 Macbeth Evans lenses with it. There’s 4 STOP, 3 CAUTION and 4 GO lenses. Pretty neat to find a signal that still has them. One of the yellow lenses was replaced somewhere along the way. This lights brother, the Harrington Seaberg from Seneca Falls, NY has all 4 of it’s CAUTION lenses but only 1 each of the STOP and GO.
The glass reflectors are all in tip shop shape. A little dusty but thats about it. The original cork gaskets are all there too. They are old and dried out and falling apart, but they’re there. Not bad for an old signal really.
The inside of the light is in very good shape. It was remarkably clean on the inside. Not really any dirt or carbon build up like i’ve seen in my others. No spider webs or mouse nests either. Thats a plus.
The bottom of the light is there. Doesn’t look like it was ever smacked by a car like a few of my others were. Finding a new bottom is 99.999% impossible. Parts are pretty hard to come by.
It’s fall, the weather is bad, so I finally took this apart. The wiring inside was still ok for being around 90 years old, but I really didn’t want to chance it. Plus the way it was wired had all 4 yellow on together which I don’t have a controller right now that could do that. So I rewired the whole thing.
On a happiness scale it gets an A+. For someone reaching out to me, delivering it for nothing and the overall condition of it I give it that high of a grade. Plus what I paid for it that also made for the high grade. So i’ll be on the hunt for my next one and checking this out to make sure the wiring will be ok and then wire it up to something and sit back and let it do it’s thing.
Thanks for reading!!
Utica, NY was once a thriving city of over 100,000 residents. Today is is a shell of it’s former self with most large manufacturers like GE, Chicago Pneumatic and hosts of other large manufacturers gone. With the decrease in population comes less cars and the need for less traffic control devices. Utica still has many, but in the earlier years, many really nice ones existed on the streets of the city.
These lights were up for around 20 years or so. They were gifted to the City of Utica from Montreal I believe. Only intersection anywhere near here that I know of that had these “Canadian” type signals. Long gone as the city let them waste away and were replaced in the mid 1980’s
Fuzzy photo. Taken by my Grandfather in the late 1960’s Post mounted signal same as the above photo. Long gone sadly. They were so cool looking.
Don’t know much about it but sure would like to know more. Looks like it was in the middle of an intersection and it would “talk” so the caption says.
This light has been there since at least the 1960’s. It’s about the only thing left at that intersection that’s still in relatively good condition. Area is pretty much bombed out as shown with the boarded up windows on the buildings. I took this from my car lol.
Had some fellow signal collectors up. We went on the hunt for cool signals and any other old stuff we could find. Was a really good time! Just a start. I’ll be adding more soon.
Downtown Utica, NY.
These beautiful old buildings will soon be bulldozed in the name of “progress” (it’s a joke) to build a hospital downtown. 2 blocks of downtown will see the wrecking ball soon. Very sad.
Railroad Street Bridge, Rome, NY.
Beautiful bridge built in 1900. Thankfully the City of Rome will do some rehab on it vs tearing it down.
Higginsville Road Bridge
This bridge has been closes for about 8 years now. The town got a grant to replace it. It was a nice bridge but structurally unsound. Here’s the Bridgehunter page about it.
Haven’t been to one of these since I was a kid. We had a great time there and the lock master was a cool guy showing us all kinds of stuff.
Herkimer Road, Utica, NY
Herkimer, New York.
Some real classics here. Command lenses, signals from the 1930’s +/-
Tipperary Hill & Syracuse, NY
What is my signal worth??
I get asked that many times. At least once a week actually. Answering that question is very hard to be honest.
Figuring out the worth from a description of the signal is pretty much impossible. If there are pictures that helps. But, pictures of the outside front and back, the indides, wiring, lenses, that all helps to figure out “how much is it worth.”
The other variable in determining it’s worth is a signal may be worth $150 to one person, but $250 to another. What i’ve paid for them vs. what someone else has paid for them can vary. A rough estimate is really the best you can do. I’ve paid too little and too much for some of my collection, but it’s probably all evened out by now.
The other big question is how old is my signal?
Determining the age of a signal is pretty much impossible. They don’t have any kind of date code on them and best that can really be done is a general “they were manufactured from this year to that year.” You can narrow it down somewhat by certain style or models of a signal and the years they were produced, but that can be a span of 5-20 years for some types of signals.
Some are pretty easy, like the Harrington Seaberg signal. They were around making signals for only a few years. Even so, it’s a narrow range but pinning it down to the exact date is impossible.
If you’d like a rough price of your light as to what it’s worth, that would more than likely what me as a collector would pay for it. You could get more or less selling it on an auction site or some place like that. The age, I can give you a rough timeline of what the signal was produced.
Took me a bit, but the backyard span version 3 is all set finally.
The old span served me well. 12 foot 6×6 posts. They were 2′ into the ground. 1 of them continually sagged. I had guy wire on it, but I think it was a soft spot in the yard that made it always bow. The other post was rock steady the entire time it was up.
This time I upgraded. Using 6x6x16 foot tall posts. They are HEAVY. Got these last year. I planned on doing this upgrade so when I got my wood pellets delivered for the season, I got 2 of these. No other way for me to get these here on my own.
My trusty post hole digger helped me once again. I’ve had this forever. It’s dug a lot of holes. I got the 2 holes for the new posts down 3 feet this time. Only hit a few rocks. The ground here is mostly topsoil for about the first 12-18″ then there is nothing but clay. Fun stuff to dig through.
You can see the difference in the posts. The old ones were about 3 feet shorter sticking out of the ground than the new ones.
Both new posts up. I had to get them around the same distance apart so the existing wire would reach each post.
I pre-drilled the holes for the span about 12″ from the top of the post. Unfortunately, the hole were higher than I could reach with my ladder. Plus, there would be no way for me to lift the signal up to the span, hook it up and wire it with the ladder I have. So I had to drill new holes. They’re 11 feet up the pole.
And so it begins, once again. A ladder, some rope, a lot of sweat, no tears, and I was able to pull the lights up to the span and get them attached.
After a few hours in the sun, a quick nap since it was 90 degrees out, and waiting until the shade started coming to the back yard, I got the all up and wired.
My goal is the (with some help) get the original signal that was with the 2 on the ends back in the middle of this span. It was a setup from my childhood near my house. That 4 way signal is hanging in the basement. I cant get that down by myself and up onto the span without some help. So version 3.0 of the backyard will be a work in progress.
Picked up another new signal. Been a few months. This one joined the gang in May 2019. This one was on my bucket list for a long time. It’s a Crouse Hinds Type T or Porthole Signal. It was being sold by someone less than 30 minutes away so that was a great plus.
A little bit of a description of the signal:
Crouse-Hinds’ first known signal design, the Type T used porthole doors, where instead of the hinges seen today, each door was actually a round lens frame with a visor screwed on and tabs for thumb screws. The thumb screws could be loosened, and the frame would come away from the signal body to allow access to the bulb, reflector, and lens tabs. The earlier signal bodies were solid housings instead of sections used in later models. This meant the amount of indications couldn’t be changed after production. Later Type T models used sectioned sides.
The signal it’s self is in pretty amazing shape. Produced probably in the mid to late 1920’s to early 1930’s. I always ask the seller if there was any history of it they can tell me about.
The seller got it from someone in Forestport, NY. Thats not too far from Utica/Rome where I am. The original owner had it for 30+ years in storage and was going to hang it up at some point and never did.
From the was the visors are on this with the long tunnel yellows, I really think it could be from Utica, NY. Utica had a thing for doing this on their signals. Many of them had or still have the different configuration on the yellows. I do remember at least 6 or so Porthole signals installed in Utica up until the late 1990’s. I’d rattle off the intersections they were at, but that would make me look a bit odd I guess lol.
This Porthole above was at the corner of Genesee Street and Emerson Ave in Utica. Notice the light has the same look with the visors as the light I got.
Overall the signal is in pretty amazing shape. I have a feeling it was stored for more than the 30 years. The wiring inside is original and looks to be in wonderful shape.
The glass reflectors aren’t pitted and really aren’t dirty either. Wherever this thing was stored it must have been a dry cool place for the shape it’s in.
The Command Lenses are in pretty good shape also. They are called “command” lenses since the have either STOP, CAUTION or GO embossed into them. These were on most of the early Crouse Hinds signals. 1 of the GO is missing and 1 is cracked. 1 of the STOP lenses is cracked and half of it is missing. I do have some in another signal that can fill the void.
Just like the other signals, I’ll end up keeping it as is. For it’s age, it is in amazing condition. I’ll have to test the wiring and replace what is needed. Once I figure out how it was wired also. There’s 8 wires coming out of it. Normally for a 12 light signal there is 7. The 6 hot wires and 1 common ground. So I figure i’ll blow a few fuses and maybe get a small shock or 2 while I figure it out.
I’ve got another old Crouse Hinds GS controller from downtown Utica, NY that was from this intersection that I can get running and it would look great with this old beauty of a signal.
After a few weeks of it sitting around, I decided to get to work on it. Took all the lenses and visors off. It wasn’t too much effort
It really didn’t take much work. I had to cut off about 10″ of the existing wiring that was visible outside the hanger. It was frayed from age. On the indide, you’d never know they light was born around 90 years or so ago. The wiring is in great shape.
I ended up hooking it up to the PCN Controller from Utica, NY I got last year. Amazingly I didnt get shocked and hooked it up correctly the first time.