Phosware P109

Lantern acquired in March 2007.

This ornate post-top came from the Darley Abbey area of Derby - the only area in the City where these lanterns are used. The lanterns date from the late 1960s/early 1970s and only now are really starting to look their age. I believe that they probably originally ran mercury lamps but were then converted to SON towards the end of the 1970s or possibly in the early 1980s. Being gear-in-base, this would have been a fairly simple procedure. In more recent times, metal halide lamps - both Philips CDOs and GE CMHs have been retrofitted in some lanterns in order to provide white light. Many of the lanterns are still controlled by a time switch - though one or two have been converted to run two-part cells these days.

The P109 is probably one of the tallest post-tops ever made - excluding fluorescent examples from the past of course! I believe that the P109 itself had a fluorescent option at one point - it certainly could run low pressure sodium. Despite the dirt which has accumulated over the 30-40 years of being installed outdoors, the lantern is in good condition - the glass refractor ring remains as well as the decorative patterning around the canopy. The Perspex bowl has clouded slightly over time but as can be seen, the clouding hardly shows. 

The canopy is removed in the 'standard' way - the top finial (which surprisingly appears to be made out of copper) simply unscrews and then the canopy lifts off.

The canopy itself is fibreglass whilst the decoration is aluminium.

One heck of a lot of spider eggs are on the inside rim of the canopy!

The reflector surrounding the lamp can be removed by undoing the two wingnuts fitted to the top of two of the support rods. With this out of the way, the lantern can be relamped.

The wiring going to the lampholder looks pretty old - the actual mains cable looks newer, however. It may be that the lantern was rewired when the conversion from mercury to SON operation took place. A further clue that a conversion occurred is that the lampholder is only held in place with one screw - and yet there are two holes on the support plate. A 3-BC lampholder was perhaps fitted originally. Notice also the spring-loaded refractor - a drop or two of oil on the springs will be required as currently the refractor leans to one side!

An 'Across Road' arrow helps to locate this lantern in just the right place on the column. The Phosware logo is on the other side of the base casting.

The control gear for the lantern was located in the column base - the columns in question are various cast iron designs so there would not have been a lot of space once all of the components were in place - especially when the time switch is as large as this Horstmann 'V' type!


| Click here for information about the P109's Restoration |


The bowl and refractor were also cleaned up as part of the lantern's restoration - however the former remained slightly cloudy due to the age of the Perspex. The canopy had been repainted by hand - I was concerned that machine spraying might have been too harsh on the fragile fibreglass. The CMH lamp which came with the lantern was swapped for a Philips CDO-ET in order for the refractor to focus correctly.

I switched the 'V' type lever into the 'On' position and within a few seconds, the lamp struck up and quickly warmed to the familiar colour of ceramic metal halide lamps.

Lantern warm-up video:

For photographs of P109s in-situ, click here.

For photographs of the lantern that replaced this lantern, click here.

GEC Z5590 | Philips MA5C


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