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!!

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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!!

The Canajoharie Darley

The Canajoharie New York Darley traffic light is finally back in New York. This signal came down in 2013 I believe. A fellow collector got it and moved if to Ohio. In late November 2018, it came back home to New York again.

It was another one of those “I’VE GOT TO HAVE THAT” signals. I didn’t realize someone I knew who is a member of some of the same signal groups (yes, thats a thing) had this light. So my impulsive self made the deal and then figured out how to get it here. UShip once again came though with a couple of bumps along the way, but it’s here. 

It’s quite the different signal. It was right down the street from Canajoharie New York’s “dummy” light. That light sits in the middle of an intersection. This one by my best guess was probably installed sometime in the 1930’s I would assume. It is a W.S. Darley traffic signal and they were produced in that era. I have another Darley signal. Plus another thats just for parts and pieces.

Downtown Canajoharie New York
The signal when it was installed in “downtown” Canajoharie, NY

This signal was attached to 2 different building and was hung that way. I believe also, that this and the signal down the street were both controlled by the same controller too. I’d have to do a bit of investigating (ask some fellow collectors) if that was actually the case.

It was an odd looking signal. 10 of the 12 Darley visors had long tunnel type visors bolted onto them. Not sure if there was some kind of viability issues so I dont know why they would have added all the tunnels to this light. And why 2 of the yellows didnt have them is a mystery.

I wired this up to my Utica, NY GS controller from the 1940’s, had to add a few light bulbs that were missing and BINGO! All the bulbs worked and it was cycling just like it did for 50+ years at least.

A bunch of the visors dont come off at the moment. The bolts are really rusted on the latches. Thankfully all the bulbs worked except for the missing ones which took me a while to get those off to add the bulbs.

A few of the visors are broken and missing a latch. Hey, it’s old, and that happens I guess.

What i’ll do with this, probably leave it like this. I like them in off the street condition. I’ll replace the 69 watt clear bulbs with some LEDs providing I can get to all the bulbs. And i will probably let the Utica GS controller do it’s thing and run this light. 

Here’s a video of this light and the controller playing nice with each other. I just love the sloppiness of the controller and the occasional dark periods when it is changing phases. Classic old mechanical controller. 

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.

Harrington-Seaberg #1

I was tipped off about this signal from a fellow collector (who by the way, has some great looking signals). He spotted it on Craigslist. I contacted the seller, made arrangements to take a look at it (I already had my mind set that I was coming home with it. Trust me!) and we took a ride to see it. There were 3 photos of it on Craigslist. We both thought it was a Darley Signal like the one I got from Cleveland.

Much to our surprise, when we looked at the signal in person,  we both looked at each other. It was a Harrington-Seaberg. Welcome to the gang. May 2018.

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Max checking out dad’s new traffic signal. The Harrington Seaberg.

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 was from Seneca Falls, NY. The original owner of it worked for the Village of Seneca Falls. He somehow came into possession of the signal in the 1950’s. I assume he got it when they replaced it with a more
“modern signal” He had it until 2018 when a friend of his bought it from him. He put it up for sale and I purchased it.

It is a beautiful green color. Has 4 yellow command lenses (the “Caution” lenses) and 1 Stop command. Everything else in there is Crouse Hinds Smiley lenses.

It is in very good shape for being around 90 years old. There is a crack on the bottom of 1 corner and a small home in one side. The insides, besides being a bit dirty is in great shape. All the original cloth wiring looks intact. The reflectors are all glass with what looks like a copper coating with the mirror coating on top of it.

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The sockets are really neat. There’s a metal band the holds them and the reflector sits against it. Very unique design.

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Like I said, this was not what I expected but was happy to be able to save another part of history.

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This light is a favorite of my grandson. He always wants his papa to turn it on and let it cycle. I have a controller board in it currently.

Harrington Seaberg Signal

Tokheim Traffic Signal

Another new addition in March 2018 to the collection. This is a Tokheim Model 1200 Traffic Signal I acquired. The seller was in Cleveland, Ohio. I found out he purchased the light from an antique dealer in 1990 and has held onto it ever since.

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Tokheim Traffic Signal

Tokheim signals were produced from 1926 onward. In 1938 this division was sold off to Automatic Signal of Norwalk, Conn., and shortly thereafter all variations of this design were discontinued.

There are no original lenses on this one. It has an Eagle bottom and a few bullet holes in a couple of the visors. The bottoms were prone to issues and most didn’t survive for as long as some of signals do. This one has an Eagle bottom on it.

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My understanding wife helped me bring this down to the basement using a handcart. Its very heavy. Thats for sure.

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Unique hanger on it

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Internal wiring looks pretty much originalIMG_20180321_185858.jpgIMG_20180321_185903.jpgIMG_20180321_190729.jpgIMG_20180321_190751.jpgIMG_20180321_191818.jpg

So…need to add it to the list of what I have to try and restore. I have a few years worth of projects ahead of me. The way I see it, may as well collect them now since all that I’ve got is pretty hard to find. I can restore them whenever, but you can’t restore something that you don’t have.

Marbelite 4 Way Signal

Here’s the Marbelite 4 Way signal along with a couple of Crouse Hinds Type M singles that came when I got the Type D.

They all fit in my car too lol.

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These are some more childhood signals of mine. These were at a cross walk intersection on Genesee Street, Village of New Hartford for many years. When I moved there, there was a Crouse Hinds Type D there and was replaced by a Marbelite in the early 1970’s. This crosswalk was here when this was a school crossing.


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This is the setup in the wild in 2014 when I took this picture. I ended up with the Marbelite and the 2 single Crouse Hinds signals. When I was a kid, I would sit and watch these lights change. It fascinated me. Plus, I would help the school crossing guard when I was at school during lunch, and press the crosswalk button so the light would change. So it’s pretty neat that I was able to acquire some signals that I “played” with when I was a kid.

Here’s a photo of it with the rest of it’s friends in the basement.

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Lit and hooked up to the basement controller