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.
Is this really my first post of 2020? Guess so. Must be a while since anything founds it’s way to the signal retirement home. So I guess January will be filled with pedestrian signals. Thats ok with me. They aren’t as big, heavy and bulky as the 4 way signals I’m used to getting the past year or so.
I picked this Crouse Hinds WAIT/WALK off of eBay. That should be here in a few days. All the way from Hawaii. Don’t know much of anything about the history of it.
I remember seeing a few of these around the Downtown Utica NY area when I was a kid. There were a few intersections that had these up exclusively for the pedestrian crossings. I’m sure they were made into aluminum cans or something because the City of Utica used to just scrap all these when they too them down.
But of more interest, I had someone contact me after finding this website. He is a former signal worker and had collected a few things over the years. Has a bunch of lenses, some antique signal controllers, and one of these:
A Crouse Hinds Neon Pedestrian Signal. This makes me happy. A bunch of Command Lenses, some old controller parts, and what turns out is a prize, a Tokheim Signaphore Signal Controller.
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.
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.
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.
This monster was actually the very first cluster I got a long time ago. It was actually in 2014. That’s 5 years, but in signal years, it’s really only like 1 year.
I had met up with some guys through a Facebook group. I went on a signal pickup with them and spotted this light. It made it’s way back with a bunch of other stuff far far away from me. But I spotted it when I went to a signal group meetup. Remember, I’ve told you about these. Guys like me get together and talk about signals and trade stories and swap parts and stuff. It’s a real thing!
There it sat all by itself. This place it what I would call heaven. The ultimate signal junky’s special place. Full of a little of everything. So a little talking and next thing you know……………….
This is another signal from Utica, NY’s past. I thought I knew where it was from. Pretty sure I passed under this light 1000’s of times in my lifetime at the corner of Genesee Street and Higby Rd. in Utica NY.
Here is the Street View shot of the intersection in 2008
This signal came down shortly after this photo, I believe in 2010 or so when the intersection was “modernized” and the M and 2 single face Crouse Hinds Art Deco signals were replaced by 1 ultra spiffy yellow plastic 4 was cluster. BLEH. What became of the 2 Deco’s is not known by me. They were probably at that intersection from sometime in the early 1950’s best I can figure.
So back to present day. The M is pretty much as I got it. All 4 yellow lights are glass with aluminum reflectors. All the greens and reds have been replaced by LED’s just like all the other signals in Utica. I didnt replace anything, wired in a controller board and that was that.
Other than that, it’s all as I found it on the street. It sat in the garage for about a year, I got it in and put the controller in it. Got that all working. It sat on the back deck for a while, I made a stand for it and it sat in the yard for a year or so. Got knocked off the stand, the dogs peed on it, so I somehow dragged it inside again. Got it down the cellar with the rest of the crew. Took me a few days of figuring on how to lift this thing high enough to attach it to the mounting hardware I’ve got.
After some struggles, and 3 or 4 times trying, I got it hung. I actually dig hug it when I was trying to lift it up onto the stand so I could hang it. Maybe just really was a bear hug since it weighs probably around 75 lbs or so, and maybe even more when I grabbed it to hang.
So this was the first cluster I got but it is the 10th 4 way signal I’ve got. Do you think I like 4 ways? Yeah I guess so.
Yeah, I know. Not more signals again. The 1st of 2019. February 2019 will be their new birthday month, just like mine. A pair of rodded Crouse Hinds Type M Fixed 4 way signals. Thats a mouthful. I call them The M Twins instead. Probably made in the 1960’s I’d assume.
My traffigraphic memory remembers some of these in Utica too. South Street had a couple along with a few on Eagle Street also. Pretty sure they are all gone now from the streets of Utica. If there is any left, they’d be painted Utica Yellow too instead of being green like these.
How could I resist. I got tagged in a Facebook Marketplace post by my cousin. She’s seen the things i’ve posted about lights more than once obviously.
So I contact the guy. They were at a ridiculously low price. Asked him if his price was for them both. He said yep. Asked if he had all the visors for them. He said yep. He asked if I wanted them. I said Yep!
They were not too far north of me, so I took a leisurely drive to go get them. It is a nice drive north of me. Along the remnants of an old canal. Many of the old locks are there and they are beautiful. I like old things other than just traffic lights by the way.
A little history on the lights. This guy’s dad had them. He worked for National Grid (Niagara Mohawk back then) Not sure how he got them, but he did. Put them in his basement, and there they sat for the next 30 or so years. Thats all I really know about them. Not sure of where they actually came from.
I took a quick look at them. The visors are all there. A couple are a little bent which can be fixed. All the glass from all 24 lights is there along with all aluminum reflectors. Thats an oddity in itself. They are pretty dirty and have some corrosion but other than that, they were a great find.