ELECO 'Goldenray Mk VIII' HW-747

Lantern acquired in January 2018.

This lantern was removed from Station Road in Killamarsh, in the North-Eastern corner of Derbyshire, on the border with the City of Sheffield and County of South Yorkshire. The lantern, and its accompanying bracket, were decommissioned as part of a scheme to remove the street lighting equipment from the support poles carrying the overhead electricity conductors along the road, with the new lanterns being attached to lighting columns. Aside from a single example in Middleton-by-Wirksworth, I know of no other HW-747s in use on public roads in Derbyshire. My thanks go to the contractors at E-ON Highways Lighting for saving this lantern for me.

The remains of the lantern's AC Ford top-entry bracket, support bar and fuse box are still attached; however, the clamp used in attaching the bracket to the electricity pole was left in place; the bracket being cut away from this fixing point.

 

The lantern measures 17 1/4 inches (438.15 mm) in length, 11 3/8 inches (288.93 mm) in width and 9 5/8 inches (244.48 mm) in depth, including the threaded 3/4 inch BSP section, for attachment to the top-entry bracket. The bowl is formed from very thin acrylic, with refractor panels glued to the long, straight sides. Notice that the refractor panel is not positioned centrally, and the lantern is, in fact, installed facing the wrong way around on the bracket; in all likelihood, this error will have occurred during the lantern's attachment to the bracket.

 

The ELECO logo is even cast into what should be the 'front' of the lantern as a clue to how it should be positioned. The green paint used to protect the steel bracket has slopped onto the lantern's aluminium canopy during application, and I am surprised that the whole canopy was not painted, rather than just the bracket, even if it would only be appreciated by the person who acquired it for their Collection five decades later!

 

The underside of the bowl sports no refractors, though the plastic is diffused sufficiently to prevent a 'pool' of light forming beneath the lantern. Unlike the majority of side road low-pressure sodium lanterns, the bowl hinges to the side with the HW-747, rather than to the front or back.

 

Housed within the miniature fuse box is a porcelain fuse carrier (and re-wirable fuse) and a porcelain neutral block. Modern twin-and-earth/three-core-and-earth flat cable exits the box - this is likely to date from when a photocell control was added (the photocell was attached to the pole). Prior to this, the lantern may have been group-controlled using the 'fifth core' method, owing to its proximity to the overhead conductors - this being a common switching method in the Sheffield area. The grey photocell cable shows signs of fire damage - this was done by me after removal whilst trying to free the four screws holding the fuse box cover screws with a blowtorch. In the end, brute force won the day - a flat-bladed screwdriver was eased into the small gap between the cover and the box, and then forced further in using a claw hammer; the idea being that the wedge shape of the screwdriver would push the cover up slightly further, allowing the gap to be widened sufficiently for the claw hammer to fit, when the box lid was then prised open.

 

Opening the bowl reveals a very clean and tidy lantern interior, along with the lamp set deeply, owing to its integral control gear taking up much of the available space. The bowl fits into an aluminium support ring that tucks itself into the lip around the inside of the canopy when secured.

 

Removing the lamp reveals an imprint on the adjacent reflector / gear cover - the result of hundreds of thousands of hours of operation.

 

Removing the reflector allows the Philips L4045BX leak transformer and "Capacitors Ltd" 15 F capacitor to be seen. Such is the age of the lantern that the lamp wattages stated on the transformer are 40 W and 60 W SOX; the forerunners of the 35 W and 55 W SOX wattages that were introduced in 1968 when tin-doped indium oxide film began to replace the less efficient stannic oxide outer coatings used previously. A clue for when the lantern last saw any major work done on it is the presence of solid green sleeving for identifying the earth conductors - this was changed to green/yellow in 1977. At this time, the lantern may have been rewired internally, with heat-resisting fibreglass-sheathed conductors replacing asbestos-sheathed conductors, though it is possible that the lantern never used asbestos conductors - different manufacturers stopped using this material at different times, once the hazards surrounding it became more widely-known. Certainly, the sealing gasket does not appear to be asbestos-based.

 

Whilst, unusually, the capacitor does not carry a manufacturing date code, the leak transformer does - it is a standard Philips type featuring a letter and a number - in this case, L3, or November 1963. The 22nd of that month would see U.S. President John F. Kennedy embark on (what would be) a fateful journey through Dallas, Texas, whilst in Britain on the same date, a little-known group, called The Beatles, would release their second album, With the Beatles.

 

This view demonstrates the height of the ballast - there is not much clearance between it and the lampholder!

 

Cast into the inside of the canopy is: "ELECO LTD ST. ALBANS". This close-up view reveals, once again, the near-immaculate appearance of the lantern's interior.

 

Thorn Celest |


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