Small March 2020 Video Update

With all the pandemonium going on with the Coronavirus making it’s way around the country & world, I did a small update. The 4 signals that were upstairs are now down with the rest of the crew. Moving them down a set of stairs is always challenging doing it alone, and luckily, I haven’t dropped any or hurt myself. YET!

I’ve got pretty much everything hooked up to a controller now. Have 2 more 4 ways to work on. Here’s a shot video I made of everything thats functionable turned on and running.

ENJOY!

Tokheim Signaphore Signal Controller

Tokheim Signaphore Signal Controller

The Tokheim Controller. Of course, a bit of a story how I was able to get this.
I got an email from someone who had seen my website.

The subject line was “cleaning the attic” along with a list:

  • Have a neon walk signal with bulbs.
  • 2 Corning green glass
  • 3 Tokheim green glass
  • 5 Corning caution glass
  • 4 Tokheim caution glass
  • 3 tokheim red glass
  • 1 Corning glass
  • 1 GE DH Controller with backpanel and parts
  • 1 Tokheim controller

“I am in Ohio and would like to clear out the attic. Do you know of anybody that would be interested?”

I know a guy I thought. ME!

Just a couple back and forth emails and we had a deal. Really nice guy. We talked a few times on the phone. Reminded me of myself. Plus he had a Pixel Phone too like me.

Anyway………………I wondered how i’d get the stuff. He suggested Amtrak. He had shipped items cross country with it. I never heard of that before. I was thinking Uship again but decided to go with Amtrak instead. The price was very reasonable and I really didn’t want to drive to Cleveland and back.

He dropped the stuff off (4 big boxes) in Cleveland during the overnight. Their station is open from around midnight to 6am most days. It left that morning and was at Utica’s Union Station before 1pm the same day.

Union Station in Utica New York
Freight Pickup Area at Union Station in Utica, NY

Took my car along with a hand truck but forgot to take out the grandson’s car seat and was able to stuff it all in my Ecosport. Went home and unpacked my presents.

Unpacked

Unpacked everything. Once again, all over the kitchen floor. A Crouse Hinds Neon pedestrian signal. The WALK is broken and I was aware of that going in. A GE Controller with a backplate to go with it and a bunch of extra dials. 18 assorted Command Lenses, and a Tokheim Signal Controller.

I honestly thought when I saw the original photo of the controller was that is was just a flasher. For an intersection that the light just flashes. Thats what was on the tag that it was a flasher.

Tokheim Signal Controller

I was honestly surprised when I unpacked it and saw that it was actually a controller for a full intersection. All the wires were labeled and I saw ones for N-S and E-W for all 3 colors. I thought to myself, that this was more than I originally figured. Indeed, it was.

Tokheim Signal Sontroller
Introduced in 1925, the model 1500 was a local timer for controlling traffic signals.
(From Highway Divides Forum)

About the Tokheim Signal Company from Highway Divides:
Following the February 1898 design of a gas pump by John J. Tokheim the Tokheim Manufacturing Company was incorporated in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 1901. In 1918 employees of the Wayne company set out on their own, purchasing Tokheim and reincorporating it as the Tokheim Oil Tank and Pump Company, moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana in the old Wayne Spoke and Bending Company factory. In April 1926 they acquired the Signaphore company, also located in Fort Wayne, and formed the Tokheim Traffic Signal Division – although such branding has not been seen on their products, instead retaining the TOT&PCo. nomenclature. This acquisition brought along J. N. Paul of Automatic Signal Co. and Ruben E. Bechtold, from Signaphore. They would greatly develop and expand the Signaphore line into the modern traffic signal as well as introduce new controllers. By 1937 their interest in the product line waned and on January 8th, 1938 the transition of their signal interests both in design and manufacturing to Automatic Signal of East Norwalk, Connecticut, took place.

Tokheim Signal Controller

This thing is in amazing shape. The guy I got it from got it by trading a gumball machine for it. He’s had it packed away in his attic for many years. All the stuff he was going to restore at some point, but never did and now downsizing, it was time for it to go.

For the time period it was from (probably mid to late 1920’s) its a great piece of engineering actually. Has 3 separate coils and magnets. 1 for the Amber (yellow) time sequence, one for North-South Green / East-West Red Sequence, and the other for East-West Green / North-South Red. The way I figure how it works:

N-S Green / E-W Red and E-W Green / N-S Red each are controlled by a time setting on the separate dials. By moving the time setting longer or shorter, this moves the magnet to a different position on the dial underneath. The further out on the dial it is, the slower the dial turns and the longer that sequence lasts. It the dial is tuned down to a shorter time, the magnet is closer to the center of the dial and it spins faster so a shorter sequence.

The Amber (yellow) dial controls the length of the yellow sequence for both opposing sides of the signal.

When a certain sequence is active that coil is powered. The other 2 have no power going to them. There are also cams which control each of the different sequences. The cams I believe control which one of the coils has power. As the cam turns it will supply power to one of the 3 coils and thereby making 3 different adjustable sequences. Very simple, and kind of amazing someone engineered this so many years ago.

Tokkheim Signaphore Controller dials.

Here’s a photo of the 3 separate dials on it. Looks like the brass plates on it with the different settings are engraved. Being an engraver also, kinda cool to me.

This is the power part of the controller. There are no springs, but instead there are brass rings I guess you could call them and they spring back and forth to make contact with the appropriate sequence of the signal. Again, way fricking cool if you ask me.

Here’s a short video of it running. Not hooked up to a signal just yet, but got it on my test board.

From what i’ve been told, there is another of these owned by a member of one of the signal collecting groups I belong to. It is inoperable I guess. My friends have never seen one of these that actually works.

The first time I plugged it in and fired it up, I wasn’t too optimistic that it would work. Little did I know it worked. There was a broken wire so it would die on the yellow sequences. I was too afraid to fix it myself so I brought it somewhere. It was an easy and inexpensive fix. I brought it back home and hooked it up to my test board and smiled from ear to ear when it worked like it was designed to so long ago. I’ll have to hook it up to the Tokheim Signal i’ve had for a few years. I’ve never done anything with it. Glad I didn’t because now i’ve got a controller to run it.

There is a ton of other stuff that came with this controller. The Crouse Hinds neon pedestrian signal is also another gem. That i’ll have to bring it to a local neon shop and have him fix it up. Well beyond my skills for sure.

So 2020 has started out on a good note. I was worried nothing would come my way. Stuff has been way overpriced recently on the auction sites. One seller jacks his prices up, and everyone else follows suit. Everything is “vintage” and “rare” lately that has been up for sale. Gotta know where to look, who will give you a fair deal, and luck into stuff like the past couple of things i’ve gotten.

Thanks for reading,
Tony

Oxford Road Crouse Hinds Signal

Another signal from my childhood has made its way to the retirement home in December 2019 with a few of the other ones I already have from where I grew up.

Crouse Hinds Type D Fixed 4 way traffic light
Oxford Road Signal in the wild around 2013

Another Crouse Hinds 4 way signal. Yeah, I have a few 4 ways, so what is one more? I remember this back as far as 1970 when we moved to the Village of New Hartford. It was at a corner of the school I went to. I get asked all the time “How do you remember it?” I can’t tell you. I just do. “How do you know it’s the same traffic light?” I just know it is, I tell people. I’ve got a trafficgraphic memory, remember?

Crouse Hinds Fixed 4 Way Traffic Light
Way back when. Probably this is from the mid to late 1970’s

Best old photo of the light that I have. It was on the corner of Oxford Rd, Sanger Ave and Daly Place in from of what was then called Oxford Road School. The photo is from the mid to late 1970’s I think. The light was green back then. Was run by a simple Crouse Hinds mechanical controller that cycled continuously 24/7 for at least 40 years until it was first replaced by an electronic controller in the early 2000’s and yet another new one around 2010 which runs the light that is there now..

Each day going to school for the 9 years I went there, I’d pass this light in the morning on the way to school and once again on the way home. Most of those years were walking past it and probably the last year of school way waiting in my car for it to change. There was a crossing guard there also daily who stood in the middle of the road when the light turned to help us cross.

Oxford Road and Sanger Ave in New Hartford, NY
Bleh

This spiffy new signal replaced the old one in 2014. It’s plastic so I dont care for it.

Loaded up

The original story on this light was that a fellow collector found out the Village of New Hartford kept all their old signals when they were replaced in 2014. Amazingly they didn’t smash them and pitch them into a dumpster or scrap them like other municipalities do. He got this light, told me they had others. I went, saw them and loaded them up in my car of course. The one from Oxford Rd and Sherman Street which was a twin to this one which is hanging under my chair in the basement as I type this, and the Genesee Street signals that now are hanging up in my backyard. There was another on the corner where my house was that i’m unsure of where that is. I think they removed 2 sections and made it into a beacon that is there now. One more hangs down the street from where I lived. An old Sargent Sowell that has seen better days.

Sargent Sowell Beacon Signal

So this signal makes 22 the number of 4 way signals I have (I think). I’ve always liked 4 ways since that was the signal of choice around here. There aren’t too many left and the ones that remain, their days are probably numbered. Latches dont open anymore. 50+ years of Central New York weather has taken their toll on the bodies. However, some places like Rome, NY actually take them down, refurbish the insides, though with LEDs vs original reflectors and glass lenses, paint the outsides and they happily continue to guard over their intersections.

Crouse Hinds Type D Signal

So this will be yet another one that needs to be rewired and hung up somewhere. All the glass and reflectors were saved by the village and are back in this light. Just some wiring needs to be done and it will be back to the way it was that I remember. Another one saved from either being scrapped eventually or just trashed. Nothing beats a old time signal for me.

Thanks for reading!

Crouse Hinds Brass Plate

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 huh?) that is 3″ x 6″. I would assume it was mounted to some kind of box, probably a shipping box with either signals or parts in it destined to return to the Crouse Hinds plant in Syracuse. I saw it on eBay and won the auction.

It’s pretty cool. Someday i’ll maybe figure out what this was used for. Crouse Hinds is still my favorite signal. Being made nearby in Syracuse, NY and growing up near Utica, NY there were 100’s of Crouse Hinds traffic signals hung around the area. Maybe one of the nights the dogs wake me up in the middle of the night and I can’t get back to sleep I’ll try and count how many. Some people count sheep to fall asleep, but guess what I count haha.

Living Room Signals

Been a while since I did an update here. Hooked up a bunch of new signals in the living room. Added the GE 4 Way and Crouse Hinds Porthole to the Utica, NY PCN-100 controller I have. The Canajoharie Darley was already hooked up to it. The Seneca Falls Harrington Seaberg has it’s own electronic controller hidden inside the base of it.

Also been working on the 2nd Harrington Seaberg Signal I have. Got it all taken apart, striped out the old frayed wiring that was inside of it. Re wired the insides and now have to figure out how to get some newer 7 conductor wire through the head on it.

It’s still a work in progress.

GE 4 Way Signal

GE Fixed 4 Way signal
Off to its new home

I guess I have a thing for 4 way signals. This one was signal number 20 coming here in September 2019, and number 14 for four ways I have.

Definition: Four·teen/ˌfôrˈtēn,ˈfôrˌtēn/
1. equivalent to the product of seven and two; one more than thirteen, or six less than twenty.
2. signal hoarder meaning having a lot in one’s collection.

General Electric (GE) was a significant early traffic signal manufacturer. In 1923 GE bought Garret Morgan’s traffic signal patent. Morgan didn’t invent the first traffic signal but his design attracted GE’s attention.

GE’s Novalux and grooveback single face heads were quite popular. Their post WW-II one-piece 4-way had a distinctive look and was a practical signal. Their streamline single face model, introduced in 1954, was quite modern for its time. Early GE signals had holophane spiderweb pattern lenses. Later GE lenses had what we generally describe as a brick pattern. GE’s traffic signal product line was taken over by Econolite in 1957

This signal was picked up in Stamford, Connecticut. I took a day off from work and made the trek. It was a long drive but a nice day for it. Plus a day off work too. This one kind of found me. The gentleman who had it found my website. A really nice guy when I met him in person. He sent me a few photos of the signal. I thought it looked in great shape and he figured it would have a good home with the other gang here in Westmoreland, so we made a deal.

The story on this one was his dad had worked for the City of Stamford. There were 3 different broken lights like this one and he took the parts of the 3 and made 1 complete light. Complete it sure is. It’s in great shape.

I kind of like the color on it. It’s a bright green but was done very well when it was painted.


It has all 12 “cereal bowl” reflectors. They are glass with a silver mirror coating on the inside to “reflect” the light from the bulb.

Ge Cereal Bowl Reflectors

The mirror finish on all these looks like the day it came off the factory floor. No dust. No crud. No spiderwebs. Nothing. They’re in like new condition.


11 of the 12 GE brand brick lenses are there. Another plus for this signal. Again, they are all in great shape and a lot of care was taken over the years to keep them all there.


There was a downlight in this also. A white light would be in the bottom and point down into the middle of the intersection. Kind of a street light I guess you could say to illuminate the intersection. Definitely will have to have this hang someplace and get a downlight in it.

The hanger is all there. Guessing (I’m not that great at placing these as to what year they are from) it would be somewhere in the 1940’s because of the hanger, lenses and the reflectors.

On a happiness scale it gets an A+. For someone reaching out to me, figuring our that I would give it a good home, taking a day off to get it, and the overall condition of it I give it that high of a grade. So i’ll be on the hunt for my next one.

Thanks for reading!!

Harrington Seaberg #2

Harrington Seaberg traffic signal
Another traffic light in the kitchen. Complete with magnetic letters on the fridge courtesy of my grandson.

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!!

Harrington Seaberg 12 bulb traffic light
Harrington Seaberg Signal #2

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.

Harrington Seaberg 12 bulb traffic light
Max checking out the light for any cool smells that could be on it

It’s old. It’s a bit dirty on the outside. It’s got the off the street look that I love.

Harrington Seaberg 12 bulb traffic light

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.


Harrington Seaberg Signal Bottom
The bottom

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!!