Thorn Europhane Pilote T2

Lantern acquired in July 2004.

Thanks to Danial Thomas for letting me have this lantern. The Pilote is quite a rare lantern in the UK - it is far more common in its native France, where it is manufactured (by Thorn Europhane; the company formed following Thorn Lighting's acquisition of Holophane's European 'arm' - 'Europhane', in the late 1980s). Despite this, a number of 150 W examples exist on a couple of major roads (and their associated slip roads) at the Derby / South Derbyshire boundary - the A38 and A516. These examples were installed in the mid-1990s as part of an energy-saving initiative (the previous lanterns on these roads being 180 W SOX); indeed, I own two examples that were installed on a slip road leading to the latter dual carriageway. The Pilote's design is similar to that of the later Alpha 2000 and Riviera lanterns (particularly in respect of its internal construction), and is probably a forerunner to both products, although it continued to be manufactured and listed in catalogues as a contemporary product. Three versions of the Pilote were available - the T1, T2 and T3, with the lantern size increasing with every consecutive number suffix change.

The Pilote looks very large in this photograph, and it is (at 670 mm 360 mm 200 mm / 26 38" 14 532" 7 78"), but it still is beaten by the size of the SGS 204. The NEMA socket is dated 06/92, which gives an idea as to the age of the lantern.

A thick glass panel protects the lamp area from dirt and moisture ingress, and has done this job admirably, given that the lantern's underside is rather dusty, but the reflector area is still free from major dirt deposits. Access to the lamp is gained by pulling back the sprung plastic catches located towards the front of the lantern, and allowing the glass to hinge downwards. Interestingly, a 'no cover' version (i.e. the lamp area is exposed to the external environment) appears to have been an official option with this lantern; a label on the opposite side to the "Thorn" identifier reads "Ferme [Closed] - IP66" or "Ouvert [Open] - IP23". A downside to this option would be that the reflector would be more susceptible to corrosion without being sealed - some of the local examples that have lost their bowls feature reflectors with evidence of aluminium corrosion on them. The means of attaching the lantern to a bracket or column is missing from this lantern; it was damaged during removal and discarded prior to the lantern entering the collection.

The canopy is hinged at the front and secured by two clips at the back. The red sleeve contains the three wires required to connect the lantern's NEMA socket - a plug and socket arrangement allows these wires to be detached, should the gear tray require removal. An identical plug is seen connected in this picture, with a single wire linking the 'live' and 'load' terminals; this bypasses the NEMA socket connection and ensures that the lantern will operate constantly as long as it is receiving a power supply. This arrangement is useful when the lantern is group-controlled, or when photocell operation is not desirable. From here, the ballast can just be seen - it is the white object below the yellow earth wire.

On this side, the ignitor and twin capacitors can be seen. The gear tray looks grey, but it is actually black - the dust is quite thick!

The tray can be easily removed to allow the gear to be changed, should it need to be.

This shows how the lantern looks without the gear being fitted. The middle section has a lever that allows the lampholder to be moved up and down inside the lamp area, depending on the wattage of the lamp being used.

I removed the NEMA socket in order that the canopy could receive a good wash, and in doing this, discovered just how much the fibreglass in the rest of the canopy had faded from its original beige colour. I also removed the entire canopy from the rest of the lantern although this proved to be quite difficult as the two front locking pins could only pushed out when the canopy was in a near-horizontal position. The picture above shows the canopy following a heavy cleaning.

The inside of the canopy required much less of a clean - I only had to wipe it out and it was fine. The fibreglass here was still the original colour, as obviously it was not exposed to the sunlight when in the lantern was in use.

The glass cover was also removed and cleaned as there was a grubby mark around it where the rubber gasket had pressed against it. Again, this only required a simple wipe and the dirt went away. Being glass, fingerprints can be left very easily, and so the panel will be given another clean before it is re-attached to the lantern.

The insides of the lantern were not too hard to clean, as they required nothing more than a quick dusting-down.

The reflector was polished up and the mud in the bracket area was removed.

A quick re-fitting of the glass cover and the reinstating of the lamp, and the lantern is ready to be powered up.

The lamp seemed to have a fairly lengthy transition between the silvery start-up colour and the golden second colour but I think this was probably due to it not being in use for a while. Once the lamp had warmed up to full power however, it was much brighter!

Revo Prefect | GEC Z9539




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