Railway Preservation News

Peter Gray & Sons RR Classification lamps
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Author:  Richard Glueck [ Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:38 am ]
Post subject:  Peter Gray & Sons RR Classification lamps

I am looking for drawings, a catalog, or photos of electric steam locomotive classification lights, made by Peter Gray & Sons, of Boston. The lamps I am interested in were commonly applied to B&M and MEC steam locomotives. Does any one/museum have any for sale, even as parts sources?

Apparently most company material is filed at Cambridge Library, in Boston.

Author:  Bob D. [ Sun Feb 05, 2017 3:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Peter Gray & Sons RR Classification lamps

image.jpeg [ 168.58 KiB | Viewed 4714 times ]
This is what they look like. Any good photos of this style lamp would help. Interior details needed too.
Bob D.

Author:  Bob D. [ Tue Feb 14, 2017 2:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Peter Gray & Sons RR Classification lamps

Have another pic of these markers being used. This is on MEC 519. Our markers on 470 are missing the tops. In this photo it appears the tops are conical rather than a domed dish affair. Still hoping someone has some good photos or drawings of these lamps. I am going to attempt replicating replacements.
Bob D.

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Author:  TrainDetainer [ Wed Feb 15, 2017 3:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Peter Gray & Sons RR Classification lamps

If you have access to the Barrett RR Lighting Encyclopedia, looks like Gray had just the one round cap style from 1911 on, shown fairly well in volume 2, figures 5.32 and 5.33. Profile appears something like this if you don't have access. Dimensions I show are based on the illustrations and actual measurements of Adlake round cap style.

P.Gray 1911 top.jpg
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Gray lamps do show up once in a while at auctions and on ebay, but I only have access to Adlake and Armspear examples.

Author:  Richard Glueck [ Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Peter Gray & Sons RR Classification lamps

This is a significant detail! Thank you!
Yeah, Gray lanterns and lamps are very rare. As you can see, we have a few tiny detail parts but replacements will have to be constructed from scratch. Your information is a prime reason why we we posted on the "dying forum"!

Thanks. Anyone have more information?

Author:  TrainDetainer [ Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Peter Gray & Sons RR Classification lamps

It's been a while since I had one of these in my hands and I don't have time to chase one down right now, (and I didn't check my math that close) but this might make a good starting point if you're in a hurry:
P.Grey 1911 caps.pdf [34.86 KiB]
Downloaded 139 times

A 3-D scan of one would be nice, but short of that or actual PG drawings I think this is close enough for a repro. You're on your own for the embossing though....

Author:  Richard Glueck [ Wed Feb 15, 2017 8:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Peter Gray & Sons RR Classification lamps

Your contribution is huge. I concur, the curve contours you've provided are a great start. We'll get them back!

Author:  George Jackson Churchward [ Wed Feb 15, 2017 11:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Peter Gray & Sons RR Classification lamps


In my observation, manufacturers such as Peter Gray, Dressel, etc. each seem to have used modular lamp body parts in different configurations with different "accessory parts" so as to produce switch lamps, various types of signal lamps, rear markers, front markers, early crossing gate lamps, and so on. Locomotive marker lamps may have been shorter than others, but still used standard tops, bottoms, and other components.

Based on your photos and drawing, what you're looking for seems to be an ordinary Peter Gray lamp top (which would have been embossed "Gray Boston"), and used on all manner of railroad lamps. You should be able to pick up a damaged Peter Gray lamp of one sort or another for less the $50 at a flea market or from a collector; they are really not all that rare (being situated in New England, you may be familiar with Brimfield, where I have sometimes seen several reasonably-priced damaged ones over the course of a day ... along with unreasonably-priced ones).

Even spending a couple of hundred dollars to obtain two damaged Gray lamps of one sort or another, as long as the tops are good and match, seems a lot more practical than trying to reproduce them, and then you would have the correct embossed identification, which for all practical purposes is what will identify your lamps as Peter Grays.

Undoubtedly there are fine distinctions and exceptions to the foregoing that collectors of such things know all about, but again, it looks like you just need two matching tops from any 20th century Peter Gray railroad lamp. Perhaps one or more RyPN viewers can help you out with some junkers.

Author:  Richard Glueck [ Thu Feb 16, 2017 6:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Peter Gray & Sons RR Classification lamps

George, thank you for the observations. They do appear to be standard parts in specific configurations for a variety of purposes. Right now, seeking out parts to fabricate into a functional replica seems to be the way we are going. At one time I was hoping an individual would come forward and say, "these have been in my basement for 20 years...". Lenses are available, as are the clamping rings.
I know some readers are wondering why I would care about a relatively minor piece of locomotive jewelry when so much heavy work remains to be done. Reason is, it's winter, we'll need them, they are good show pieces, it's progress of a sort.
We continue to look for parts and pieces, if they are available.

Author:  TrainDetainer [ Mon Feb 20, 2017 3:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Peter Gray & Sons RR Classification lamps

Hopefully you're having some success at finding parts, but in the mean time someone posted a Peter Gray switch lamp drawing on Facebook. The drawing, dated 1922, is here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... =3&theater.

If you didn't/can't see it, it provides the following information - Gray standard canopy, drawing # is E-510, canopy support is drawing # E-540. The canopy is spot welded to the support, which also appears stamped/pressed, so if you have access to a spot welder it might be easier to repair Gray lamps than finding/making correct rivets for Adlake or Dressel. There is an article from the Cambridge Tribune of 7/7/1923 in the Cambridge Library archives that talks about Gray's adoption of spot welding. There is also an archive reference to an article on switch and marker lamps in the Gray company's magazine, The Graylite, issue 33. There is no mention of drawings or The Graylite issues in the Cambridge Gray archive list.

If you're still looking to make them, I traced the drawing photo (which isn't completely flat, particularly the right side) at 4.5" diameter, then did some more drawing. The result should be much closer to actual than my previous drawing. Although the pic from Bob D. suggested the sharper peak, the found drawing clearly shows a flat top (but it is still embossed). This does raise the possibility that Barrett may have missed a second generation of Gray canopy.
PG canopy.jpg
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Author:  Richard Glueck [ Mon Feb 20, 2017 8:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Peter Gray & Sons RR Classification lamps

Thank you for both the reference and the really wonderful line drawing. Every bit of information we get is being saved and archived. We are getting closer to the final plan.
I don't know how wide-spread this information is in usefulness to others, but it is extremely important to this small part of the project. Thank you!

Author:  Bob D. [ Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Peter Gray & Sons RR Classification lamps

Have acquired a clear depiction of what these markers look like. Of interest is the notation "Peter Gray Turn Top Classification Lantern #1121"
I now wonder if the turn top is how the color selection of the marker was made. There is no evidence in the remains I have of how the internals were set up. The external knob appears to have operated a switch in the lamp socket.
There is no sign of a hinge or welds or holes that held the top to the body. Leads me to wonder if the top had a body that slipped into the main body and could be turned to bring colored windows in front of the bulb.
Thanks for any "light" on this.

Bob D.

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Author:  Al Stangenberger [ Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Peter Gray & Sons RR Classification lamps

If the lamp changed colors by rotating some sort of holder with colored filters, maybe that knob was a spring-loaded pin to lock the selected color in place, rather than being an electrical switch.

It seems odd to me that a classification lamp would have a switch built in to it, rather than relying on a switch in the cab to control all the classification lamps.

Gray used spring loaded pins on some earlier lamps, for example:

U.S. Patent 1062220

Author:  Bob D. [ Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Peter Gray & Sons RR Classification lamps

Thanks much for the reply Al. The patent info is very interesting. There must be a patent write up for the same classification lamp as we have if it can be found. I have never looked for something like that before.
It is total speculation on my part as to the function of the knob on the outside of the body. One lamp is as pictured but the other is butterfly shaped rather than a knob. They are two position with about 90deg. of rotation. Very low on the body and align with where the lamp socket would have been. There is a small yoke at the end to aid alignment.
I assumed the classification lamps would come on with the headlight. If one had to go to the lamp to set the color they would also go there to shut it off. I think the selection would have been, off, white or green.

Author:  Bob D. [ Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Peter Gray & Sons RR Classification lamps

Here is a picture of the interior showing what is on the other end of the knob.

IMG_0209.JPG [ 47 KiB | Viewed 3458 times ]

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