Fordac (AC Ford) AC850

Lantern acquired in April 2009.

Thanks to Richard James of Harrison Lighting for providing this unused lantern.

The lantern is very similar to the newer AC850, although the bowl on this lantern is more curved, and the lantern itself is very slightly larger.


The 'Fordac' lettering is displayed in the centre of the canopy. I do not know why AC Ford used this brand at the time when this lantern was produced.


The bowl appears slightly distorted within the fixing ring - this is due to the internal clamps pressing down on specific parts of the bowl.


As with the newer versions, the supply cable passes underneath the control gear compartment and into the lantern. Unusually, the side-entry spigot is internally threaded to 1′′ BSP.


A Thorn AME 53162.4 ballast and BICC capacitor (dating from December 1973) are installed in the gear compartment.


The lantern was fitted with a lamp, and attached to a wall bracket on Friday, 6th July 2018.


The bracket end was threaded to 1′′ BSP specially, in order to accommodate this lantern.


It may have been 45 years old, but when it was powered up, the control gear operated the lamp quite happily.


The lamp's elliptical shape was still obvious with the bowl fastened.


Lamp warm-up video:


Some years prior to the AC 850's acquisition, fellow collector Davy Warren provided me with a glass bowl for intended use with my GEC Z8896 lantern. Unfortunately, we discovered that a separate aluminium support ring was required before the narrower glass bowl would fit in place of the Z8896's polycarbonate bowl, and the glass bowl was put into storage. I determined in 2019 that the glass bowl would fit the AC 850's support ring perfectly, and so the polycarbonate bowl supplied with the AC Ford lantern was removed, and the glass bowl installed - the polycarbonate bowl being passed on to another collector.


The deep-mauve colouring of the freshly-activated lamp looked especially spectacular behind glass.


This front picture shows the refractor distribution as the lamp warms up.


At full power, the lantern seemed brighter with this bowl than it had been with the polycarbonate bowl.


Testing with my energy monitoring device revealed the following results; the Power Factor result was rather appropriate, given the manufacturing year of the capacitor:

Test Voltage (V) Current being drawn at full power (A) Measured wattage (W) Apparent Power (VA) Frequency (Hz) Power Factor True Power (W) Difference to rated wattage Percentage Difference
240.2 0.57 96 137 49.9 0.73 99.95 19.95 25%

ELECO GR553 | Wardle Avon




© 2002 - English Street Lights Online