JeffPo's Dressel Stainless Steel Lamp Page
Last update: 08/03/07
This is a Dressel Stainless switch lamp. The lenses are red and signal green (aqua blue) and about 5" in diameter. Given the colors, this switch lamp was used on the main railroad line. Unlike my other Dressel Stainless lamp, this particular one has not been painted, so you can see why it is called "stainless".
As you can see, this lamp has also been rewired to use 110 volt household current. In fact, when I first received it, the cord on it looked to be in pretty bad shape. My suspicions were confirmed when upon plugging it in, the TV, lights, etc. in the living room went out! (i.e. circuit breaker tripped). So like my other lamp, I rewired this one again for safety reasons, replacing the old frayed cord, and replacing the lamp socket with a more secure one.
And here's where the switch lamp does its work and really shines (pun intended). The purpose of the switch lamp was to let the train engineer know which way a particular railroad switch was set. It could be set to be straight ahead, along the railroad line that was being traveled, or it could be set to a railroad siding line.
The yellowish glow of a small light bulb makes the aqua-blue lens shine with a signal green color. This indicated that the railroad switch was set to straight ahead.
A glowing red signal indicated that the railroad switch was set to turn off onto the siding.
As for which railroad this lamp was used on, that's a little difficult to determine. The previous owner said the lamp belonged to a man who worked for the Norfolk & Western Railroad. However, the inside of the mounting pin socket appears to be stamped with ME CENT, which leads me to believe it might have been used on the Maine Central Railroad. Maybe one day I'll use some clay to try and get an imprint of the inside of the mounting pin socket so I can confirm what it really says. The lamp is now used as decoration and night illumination in my bedroom.
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