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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I hooked it up to the GS Controller and put the Lincoln Ave Crouse Hinds Art Deco next to it. They look good together.
My sister is the keeper of old family photos. She’s scanned a bunch and I told her I wanted to find a photo of the first light I got. She finally found it and I owe her lunch for it too as I had promised.
I’ve always remembered this thing but finally can prove I’ve had a liking of traffic lights since I was a kid. I’m thinking I was maybe 6 or so in this photo. So believe it or not, that’s 50 years ago. I assume this was Christmas 1967. Note the stylish black and white maybe 19″ console tv. Times were sure good then I guess haha.
I always thought the light was taller. But I was small so it probably wasn’t that tall. It was a wood box my Uncle in Syracuse made. He was electrically inclined. It had 3 holes on the front for each of the lenses. They were plastic I think and each were the correct color or red, yellow and green. They were also Command Lenses. Early traffic signals lenses had STOP, CAUTION or GO cast into the glass and usually painted black for better viability. The real commands now a days are Rarer than Rare. They’ll got for upwards of $125+ a pop if you are lucky enough to find someone willing to sell one.
I do remember there were 3 pull chains on the back. One for each light. And there was a flasher disc in the yellow signal so it could flash too. Wonder how many 1000’s of times I turned them off and on? I did get knocked on my butt getting shocked when I was fooling around with it once. Just like I did with mine at home recently. My arm hurt for 2 weeks after getting a nice zap.
Assume I had made some noise about liking signals back then to get this for Christmas. Would have been cool to have it all these years to give to one of my grandkids, but I guess they get the real thing from me now instead providing their parents cave in at some point and let me give them one. In the mean time, they can come to papa’s and play with them.