GEC Z5680

Lantern acquired in March 2005.

Yes, this is indeed my 50th complete lantern to go into the collection - I originally was just going to stick with the Alpha 1, and not collect any more lanterns after that, but then I realised that this lantern collecting lark is actually rather addictive, and so the number of lanterns has increased at a rather alarming rate! The Z5680 itself looks nothing like the other two GEC post tops I already own - the design leans more towards the 'functional' than the aesthetic properties, I reckon, but even so it is still quite a distinctive lantern and would light its surrounding area to a satisfactory level.

The lantern wasn't in a bad condition when removed - all threaded components are turning without a problem.

The canopy has to be unscrewed for it to be removed - the two rivets on it support a threaded plate on the inside.

The bowl is cleaner than the Gamma 5's was when removed, despite the fact that there is no gasket between it and the canopy (a replacement will be fitted as part of the lantern's restoration).

The lantern is nowhere near deep enough for the lamp to be mounted vertically, as the lamp in the Z5698U is mounted. Instead, it is rather ingeniously mounted horizontally by means of a strip of metal that has been bent to hold the lampholder and lamp support.

In this close-up, the thread that the canopy screws to can be clearly seen. Once the canopy is removed, the bowl is also loose but it can only be removed by first of all removing the metal strip.

The differences between the Gamma 5 and Z5680 are compared here. The canopy and bowl on the Z5680 are deeper than those on the Gamma 5, but both lanterns are about the same height, as the Gamma 5's spigot is longer.

The Z5680's gear consists of a Simplex ballast and R.I.C. capacitor, dating from February 1976. The ballast's terminal screws no longer grip the individual wires securely, meaning that an alternative ballast will be required to run the lamp.

The lantern was restored by the end of the 7th April 2005. I painted the canopy and base casting a copper/bronze colour, as this appears to be what the lantern would have been when new - the inside of the casting was still painted this colour. It is surprising that the canopy completely lost its paint but maybe it was only given a thin coat in the first place. The bowl was surprisingly easy to clean and was sorted very quickly. It stands out like a sore thumb against the colour of the canopy and base casting though!

The Z5680 was eventually powered up on Thursday, 13th October 2005.


The translucent bowl looked quite eerie when lit up in SOX light!

I am still not sure whether I like the copper colour of the lantern or not, but it does blend in with yellow of the bowl!

Lantern warm-up video:

Thorn Gamma 5 | Philips MI 8




© 2002 - English Street Lights Online