Wardle Murray

Lantern acquired in April 2011.

This lantern came from Bob Cookson, although its history is largely unknown; it being one of five that Bob bought on eBay from a seller in Peterborough. The Wardle Murray was once a relatively common lantern in Derby; it nearly always being seen attached to concrete brackets. Sadly, only one example still remains extant on the City's roads these days, and this lost its refractor ring in early 2009.

 

An unusual feature of this lantern is that optical control is provided by a "Dielikon" (acrylic) refractor ring, which is composed of two separate injection-moulded rings that are glued together. The refractor prisms are on the inside of each ring; the outer sides are smooth, in order to allow for easy cleaning.

 

The lantern's canopy had been painted a dark green colour during its lifetime; this finish is now wearing away, and the aluminium is beginning to show through. Just visible in the canopy are four slightly raised sections - these act as strengtheners for the four screws that secure the refractor to the underside of the canopy.

 

Turning the lantern over, these four screws can be seen. Interestingly, they are positioned an equal distance apart, so the refractor could, in theory, be positioned in four ways in the lantern. Copper grease has been applied to the screws, in order to reduce the likelihood of them seizing. The ring is bottomless, and the lantern was never designed to be fitted with a bowl - it would never be allowed today, but back in the austere 1950s, the concept of open lanterns was still accepted.

 

 

The refractors are arranged in order that the majority of the lamp's luminous flux is, logically, emitted along the carriageway on both sides of the lantern. The lighting centres are the two small clear circles visible above. Some hairline cracks can be seen in the refractor - this is simply due to the age of the plastic. It is believed that the remaining Derby Murray's refractor broke away because of the cracks extending from the screws downwards, rather than through vandalism.

 

An 'Across Road' marker is also moulded into the plastic - this must be aligned with an arrow on the underside of the canopy to ensure correct orientation of the lantern when installed.

 

The other side of the refractor states that this is "Wardle No. 9951" - a part code, or date of manufacture? Either is possible.

 

Although the lampholder support bracket (and its holding screws) is heavily rusted, all can be removed without a problem. With the bracket taken away, the three focal positions can be seen - the lowest setting in the lantern (its current setting) is for 100 W GLS lamps; then, the middle setting is for 150 W GLS and 80 W MB/U lamps, and finally, the highest setting is for 200 W GLS and 125 W MB/U lamps. Interestingly, in Derby, the lamp setting would need to be set to the 150 W/200 W position, even for 100 W lamps, as the unique "Derby 100" lamps would not be correctly focused in the 100 W position, on account of their large size. What cannot be conveyed here is the oil smell that exists in the focusing area - it does not detract from the lantern at all; in fact, I think it adds to the old-fashioned charm of the design.

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