Utica/Rome Signal Meet 2019

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.

Lock 20 Barge Canal, Marcy NY

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 +/-

Frankfort, NY

Rome, NY

Tipperary Hill & Syracuse, NY

Crouse Hinds Porthole Signal

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.

Crouse Hinds Porthole Signal

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

Another traffic light in the kitchen. Good thing I removed the island a few years ago

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.

Frayed wires in the hanger
Inside wiring

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.

All wired up and back functioning once again.

The Utica M Cluster

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.

Crouse Hinds Type M Twins

Crouse Hinds Model M 4 Way Signals
Happily released from the basement they were locked away in

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.

The Marbelite Twins

The Twins awaiting a hug

The Marbelite Twins. I call them the twins because they are identical. A little bit about Marbelite Traffic Signals from Highway Divides:

The Marbelite Co. began making traffic control equipment in 1923. Marbelite was one of several traffic control manufacturing companies located in the greater New York City area during the first half of the 20th Century. As Marbelite grew, it absorbed the signal product lines (or the entirety) of such companies as Signal Service Corp. In the early years, Marbelite operated in conjunction with a sister company called Ruleta, which also made traffic signals. Ruleta may have been a separate company that was bought out by Marbelite. By the 1950’s, Marbelite had become one of the biggest producers of traffic control equipment in the country. The core of their business was in the NY Tri-State area, and for several decades, New York City was almost exclusively Marbelite-equipped.

I acquired the twins in August 2018. Yet again, these actually were picked up by my fellow collector friend Brian from a contact he has. He has a knack for finding stuff and usually lets me know when he does. He told me about them and I tortured my car one more time seeing how much stuff I can get into it.




Marbelite traffic signals stuffed into a Ford Escape
2 four way clusters stuffed into the back of my car
Marbelite traffic signal
My grandson approved. I started him early in his love for signals.

I really don’t know anything about these. They came from downstate New York. The glass lenses were all loose. They are all missing their gaskets for the lenses. But, a bunch of lens clips later, they’re in there now.

I also got the twins down into the basement. There’s a lot of stairs to navigate. Wish I was about 20 ears younger since that would make it easier.

Also, hanging this thing was a lot of fun too. It’s heavy. I did do it though. A little ingenuity and with the help of some straps and rope and a come along, It’s up.

Twin #1 in it’s new spot with the rest of the signals.
Marbelite Twin #1 along side the Lincoln Ave Utica Art Deco Signal

I hooked it up to the GS Controller and put the Lincoln Ave Crouse Hinds Art Deco next to it. They look good together.

Group Video

Got everyone to stand still for a few minutes to take a group video.

This is everything thats currently hooked up in the basement. Added one of the Marbelite twins this week. It was quite fun trying to hang it like the others. Accomplished it myself with the help of a come along and some ingenuity. Was fun trying to get it down the cellar stairs. The controller running it is the Crouse Hinds GS that was from Downtown Utica, NY I got this past summer. There’s a mix of electronic boards and the other mechanical controller running the rest of them.



As you can tell, 4 way signals are my favorite. There were literally 100’s of them in Utica, NY when I was growing up.

Crouse Hinds PCN-100 Controller

More Utica, NY stuff I picked up in November 2018. I got parts and pieces from a local intersection. The controller was up on Lincoln Ave Utica, NY in front of Holy Trinity Church since some time in the 60’s I think and there was also a Crouse Hinds Art Deco single signal I got. That’s from probably the 1940’s. Was green and painted yellow along the way.

Freshly picked up. The PCN-100 controller, Art Deco signal and part of a 4 way type M cluster. That was all that was left. There was more but it got scrapped ((sad eyes))


Here was the gang in the wild. The M in the center and the Deco off to the right.
The controller isn’t in this shot.

I’m always happy when I can get some of Utica’s old stuff. I passed this intersection 100’s of times and it all came down in late 2016 or early 2017 when the reconstruction of the North South Arterial was completed. 

It was also another one of Utica’s weird intersections. Notice the Deco with the red on the bottom. It flashed red for most of the time the other sides had the green light. Another one of Utica, 5 way type intersections.

The Deco was pretty beat up. Does have the original glass in the yellow with remnants of some of it’s original cloth covered wiring still there. It’s pretty beat up. But, it’s older than me, seen a lot in it’s lifetime, and I’m happy to give it a new home.

Part of the Crouse Hinds Type M
The Deco. It’s in rough shape.

And the prize of the bunch. Another one of Utica’s Mechanical Controllers. There were 100’s in Utica. Happily functioning up until most came done in 2016 and 2017. They have pretty much all been replaced by the new fancy electronic controllers.

I love these things. Still works just fine. The same way it did in the 1960’s when it was put up. So now this is number 4. 

Here’s a quick video of it cycling in both signal mode and flash mode. Still works just fine. Didn’t have to do anything to it. It could probably cycle for another 30 years of so.

I’m hopefully to be adding more old signals soon. Have something in the works that i’m pretty excited about. Fingers are crossed to rescue some more old signals from there area.

Crouse Hinds GS Controller

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Got this beauty from Utica’s past. A Crouse Hinds GS Controller. There were 2 intersections left in downtown that still had these. Both were green. This was from Lafayette & Washington Streets. This intersection has been inoperable since the early 1990’s.¬† A building was built in the area and there was no need for the south side of this intersection anymore. This came down in 2017 after resting on the pole for close to 20 years unused.

Controller Location

controller

This controller is from the 1940’s and graciously ran for close to 50 years. I haven’t fired it up just yet. It was left outdoors for a while and there was some water that had gotten inside. It really is in pretty great shape. There was a twin to this one removed from service in 2017 also. I’m going to acquire that one also to either have as parts to make 1 controller or use them both.

I did get the twin to this one. I have no electrical skills at all. So it took some fiddling around, but after a bit I got it functioning again. Hard to imagine this controller cycled along without a care in the world for over 60 years in Downtown Utica. It was meant to last and it did last!!

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Here is a video of it running once again.

Utica Signal Hunt August 2018

Went out with a group of signal enthusiasts on the hunt for some old signals. I was aware of their locations, some I haven’t seen in a few years. It was good to see some old stuff still up!!

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Varick Street & Columbia Street, Utica, NY. The pedestal bases are the only ones surviving in Utica. There were 2 other intersections that I remember having these up until the mid 1980’s.

 


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Whitesboro Street and Court Street, Utica NY. 2 of the sides on the 4 way cluster act as pedestrian signals. This intersection is near the old Utica Psychiatric Center. It is a timed intersection without any pedestrian detection.

Also, another old Utica “Snow Emergency” signal. These would flash when there was a snow emergency in Utica. Meant, no parking on any city streets. They were controlled by either the central fire station or a neighboring fire house. There is a firehouse approx 1/2 mile away. These lights haven’t worked in over 20 years.


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Oneida Street at Master Garden Road & Holland Ave. Pretty odd intersection and signal. 2 of the 3 sides on this cluster flash red in place of solid green. There are 2 other roads at this intersection that have a stop sign so you need to look and see if they are coming through the intersection when you have the flashing red.

Here’s a video of it also.


38516077_10211572172172674_9179160983539548160_n¬†Some rare 12″ Crouse Hinds Art Deco signals at Oneida Street and Higby Road. They are still in beautiful shape. Have been here for close to 50 years. They still have the yellow glass lenses but everything else are LEDs.


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This odd signal at Bleecker Street and Wetmore Street in Utica has been here forever. There used to be a fire house (Station 6) here and I guess it was to give you a heads up if the fire truck was enroute to a call. How this has survived so long is a mystery. It looks like it was just shoved into the red head. there is a LED in there now also.

Crouse Hinds LS Controller

IMG_20180424_194131.jpgI really don’t know a heck of a lot about this controller. Picked it up from another collector in June 2017. It’s a Crouse Hinds LS (?) Controller. Old school electromechanical controller.

It is originally from Ithaca, NY. Corner of Seneca and Cayuga Streets

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I’m trying to figure out a little more about it. I had it running right out of the box when I got it. Moved it to the basement “Signaltorium” and started hooking it up to one of my Marbelite lights, but I did something wrong and blew a fuse. Took a while to get a new one. Local electric supply house told me twice they would order some and stiffed me. So Amazon had the fuse I needed and I ordered a few. Just in case.

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I have this running the Art Deco D and a Crouse Hinds Pedestrian signal I have. It is really cool to hear it run too. I hope to learn a little more about it from some of my signal friends.